It seems like every week there is a new food item that has made it onto the chopping block. Starting with gluten all the way to dairy products we are told that these things are bad for our bodies, it’s not like we haven’t eaten them for hundreds of years.
Of course it’s always good to keep up to date with new scientific discoveries about foods we eat and whether or not they are good for our bodies, the issue comes when the information isn’t coming from scientific research. At this point one has to take a careful look at the claims about the food and see whether or not they apply. For example with gluten, 1% of the American population has Celiac disease (requiring the removal of gluten from their diets) and approximately 6% have a gluten sensitivity condition. This then does not nearly cover the 30% of shoppers who purposely buy gluten free options.
This post isn’t just about gluten, it’s about doing your research before you jump on a diet bandwagon. By doing your research I mean going to science/medical based websites, as well as speaking to your doctor. While we all love Dr. Google, it’s not the most reliable thing in the world and some times serves just to confirm the bias we already have. For example if you suspected that you were having issues digesting gluten, you could go see your doctor and they may run tests to see if you actually were. It may turn out you were just imagining the symptoms, or it could be that you actually are part of the 7%.
If you do find that for you it is best to cut a certain food out of your diet, the next step is investigating what you then need to add back. For example, if you cut out dairy you would need to add back calcium or if you cut out meat adding back protein. This brings us back to speaking with your doctor as they can help you figure out alternatives and how much of them you need.
Being part of the internet generation, we tend to get sucked into what we see there. I wouldn’t be able to even count on my hands how many social media stars declare that they are cutting this, that and the other from their diet. While that’s all well and good for them, you have to think critically when it comes to your own diet. My steps for evaluating new food trends are asking:
- What are the reasons to do this?
- Is there actual peer reviewed science to back this up?
- Are there enough reasons for me to put in the effort?
- Are the alternatives better? i.e. are they better for my body than what I ate previously?
It’s so easy to get caught up in trends, but in these particular trends its not just your wallet thats on the line. When it comes to health, it is necessary to do the research before you make a change.
The last thing that I recommend is properly doing research into what is and isn’t good for your body and in what proportions. For example, we actually need certain types of fat in our bodies (in moderation). No food is just good or just bad, that is why it’s up to us to figure out what that grey area is.