Scientists Are Homing In On The Best Diet For Everyone
If there’s anything we know about nutrition, is that certain foods are “healthy” one year, and “unhealthy” the next. Food science can be frustrating, but the good news is scientists are getting closer to understanding what the most healthy diet is for human kind, and what we should be eating.
The reality is, humans have adapted to eat a broad variety of foods. This is why we can live all around the globe, from Inuit tribes living inside the arctic circle, all the way to the Huaorani people in the Ecuadorian Amazon. These people live in very different places, and the foods they eat are extremely different—yet both live healthy lives on their diets.
Yet if you look at what the healthiest people around the globe are eating, common themes did emerge. Many researchers are using meta analysis to look at dozens or even hundreds of nutrition studies all at once, to help find common themes. Here’s what they learned so far.
Eat Nutrients, Not Ingredients
May common diets exclude whole macronutrients as part of the new routine. This could be giving up carbohydrates, such as in the Keto diet, or low fat diets since eating less fat will make you less fat—right?
These diets often don’t work long term, because they don’t have major nutrients that you need in them. Instead of eating only carrots for a week, or excluding carbs or fats, eat a balanced range of nutrients.
This doesn’t mean that you have to include meat, milk, or other products you don’t want to eat—but to be sure you are getting your protein, B Vitamins, Calcium and Iron from other sources.
Eat Less Processed Food
One common theme that scientists found when looking through hundreds of different studies is that, unsurprisingly, highly processed food is not healthy for you. Even if you change nothing else about your diet, switching processed foods for fresh food has always shown better results.
The best ingredients don’t have ingredient labels, and are simply one ingredient—apples, oranges, lettuce, etc. If you do purchase something with an ingredient label, pick something with simple ingredients that you understand what are.
Eat Your Veggies
Although meat is fine in small amounts, the reality is most people eat way more of it than they should. Vegetables contain an array of nutrients and fiber that we need, and if we’re filling up on steak instead, we’re not
Meat also has a lot more calories than vegetables or fruit, so if your goal is to lose weight you could be compromising your efforts through not balancing your meat intake with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Need more guidelines? Go Mediterranean
The Mediterranean diet consists of pretty much everything that scientists now know is healthy for you. It is a diet that contains a rich array of nutrients, mostly plant based, but also without compromising flavor.
The Mediterranean diet has plenty of minimally processed foods, a rich array of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and the nutrients you need to be healthy. It is also one of the few diets associated with a long life—all of the zones in the world where people live the longest consume a Mediterranean diet, or one that is very similar.
If you want to eat healthy, but find nutrition science confusing, start with a Mediterranean diet. It’s the perfect way to go.