Top Nutrition Facts That Everyone Agrees on
There is a lot of controversy in nutrition and it often seems like people can’t agree on anything.
But there are a few exceptions to this.
Here are the top 10 nutrition facts that everyone actually agrees on (well, almost everyone…).
1. Added Sugar Is a Disaster
To improve the taste of processed foods, producers often add sugar to them. This type of sugar is known as added sugar.
Common types of added sugar include table sugar (sucrose) and syrups, such as high-fructose corn syrup.
Everyone knows that eating too much added sugar is unhealthy.
While some think sugar is a simple matter of “empty” calories, others believe it increases the risk of diseases that kill millions of people each year.
It is definitely true that added sugar contains empty calories. There are no nutrients in it, other than sugar. As a result, basing your diet on products high in added sugar may contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other risks associated with excessive sugar intake that are now reaching mainstream attention.
Added sugar is being implicated as a leading cause of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes (1).
The high fructose content of added sugar is often blamed.
This is because fructose is metabolized strictly by the liver. High intake has been linked with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, abdominal obesity and high cholesterol over time (2, 3, 4, 5).
However, the role of fructose in disease is controversial and scientists do not fully understand how it works (6).
2. Omega-3 Fats Are Crucial and Most People Don’t Get Enough
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the proper functioning of the human body.
For example, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid derived from animals, makes up about 10–20% of the total fat content in the brain (7).
A low intake of omega-3 is associated with a lower IQ, depression, various mental disorders, heart disease and many other serious diseases (8).
There are three main types of omega-3 fats: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA comes mostly from plant oils, while the best sources of EPA and DHA are fatty fish, fish oils and certain algal oils. Other good sources of EPA and DHA are grass-fed meat and omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs.
The plant form, ALA, needs to be transformed into DHA or EPA to function correctly in the human body. However, this conversion process is inefficient in humans (9).
Therefore, it is best to eat plenty of foods high in DHA and EPA.
3. There Is No Perfect Diet for Everyone
People are all unique. Subtle differences in genetics, body type, physical activity and environment can affect which type of diet you should follow.
Some people do best on a low-carb diet, while others are better off on a vegetarian high-carb diet.
The fact is, what works for one person may not work for the next.
To figure out what you should do, a little experimentation may be needed.
Try a few different things until you find something that you enjoy and think you can stick to. Different strokes for different folks!
4. Artificial Trans Fats Are Very Unhealthy
Trans fats are formed as a side product when vegetable oils are hydrogenated.
Food producers often use hydrogenation to harden vegetable oils for use in products such as margarine.
Because trans fats have been linked with poor health, margarine free of trans fats is becoming increasingly common.
A high intake of trans fats is associated with various chronic diseases, such as abdominal obesity, inflammation and heart disease, to a name a few (10, 11, 12).
I recommend you avoid trans fats as if your life depended on it
5. Eating Vegetables Will Improve Your Health
Vegetables are good for you.
They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and an endless variety of trace nutrients that science has just begun to uncover.
In observational studies, eating vegetables is associated with improved health and a lower risk of disease (13, 14, 15).
I recommend that you eat a variety of vegetables each day. They are healthy, fulfilling and add variety to your diet.