The Science Behind the Healthy Eating Trend: Is It a Fad?

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When you feel hunger strike, it might be tempting to find one of your favorite foods to satisfy your cravings. Because many of the health guidelines in the past place their focus on total calorie counts, you might reach for a sweet treat at that moment.

“It might be 300 calories,” you might think, “but I can make it up at dinner tonight by cutting down on my portion size some.”

Thoughts like that are how many of us were trained to think about our eating habits. It is the “a calorie is a calorie” eating trend.

What we are finding out now is that this approach is not always correct. We must consider the quality of the foods we eat instead of the number of calories we have. The healthy eating trend wants you to focus on consuming high-quality items with appropriately-sized portions to either lose weight or maintain your numbers.

The scientific community backs this idea. Most families are supporting it as well. Is this approach just a fad? Or is it here to stay?

What Is the Healthy Eating Plate?

Your meals don’t have to be dull.

The Healthy Eating Plate comes to us from nutritionists who work with the Harvard School of Public Health. This eating plan works to address some of the deficiencies that are in other guides to promote healthier choices. It provides detailed advice on what to eat, what to drink, and what to avoid each day.

Here are some of the advice examples you will find with this scientific approach to eating.

  • Choose fish, beans, and nuts while limiting cheese and red meat.
  • Avoid processed meats, cold cuts, and bacon.
  • Eat plenty of fruits of all colors while eating a wide variety of vegetables.
  • Drink water, coffee, or tea with little or no sugar while limiting dairy.
  • Use healthy oils like canola or olive while avoiding transfat.

Whole grains are another staple of the Healthy Eating Plate. It should comprise 25% of what you eat, and this plan includes items like oats, wheat berries, quinoa, and brown rice. These items have less impact on your blood sugar that refined things like white bread or white rice because the intact grains take more time to digest.

Macronutrients: The Secret to Your Success?

Macronutrients refer to carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Three primary macronutrients are part of the standard diet: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Most diets attempt to restrict at least one of them as a way to promote healthy weight loss. JAMA published a study of four popular diets where 300 people who were overweight or obese were randomly assigned one of them to try.

Researchers looked at the Atkins diet, the Zone approach, LEARN, and the Ornish eating plan. After 12 months, the weight loss experienced by those following the Atkins diet was superior to those of all other groups.

The research team also discovered superior outcomes in secondary categories, such as glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body fat percentage were available from Atkins than the other diet groups. Although the long-term impact of eating this way requires comprehensive studying still, there is evidence to suggest that weight management occurs with a high-protein, high-fat, and low-carbohydrate diet.

That means filling your plate with French fries might count as a vegetable, but it isn’t the correct approach to your health.

How to Start Eating Healthier Every Day

Eating healthy is not a fad. We are moving away from the era of sugary drinks and fast food burgers toward grab-and-go items that include fresh fruits and vegetables. It may not be easy to change some of your habits, but this work is an investment in yourself and the wellness of your family.

If you are searching for ways to improve your eating habits at home, then here are some simple changes that you can make to create impactful results.

1. Add Fiber to Your Meals

Leafy greens will make you feel fuller and aids in digestion.

Choose high-fiber products to include with every meal whenever possible. These foods are filling, and they contain half of the calories of fat while giving your digestive processes a boost.

2. Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that can help slow down the effects of aging.

Fresh produce should always be your first choice. If it is unavailable or not affordable, then frozen and canned are two additional options to consider. Juiced fruits and vegetables are okay if there is no added sugar to the beverage.

3. Have More Oily Fish

The fats in fish has been found to be good for heart health.

Salmon, trout, and herring are excellent sources of omega-3 fats, which can help to lower your risk of heart disease development. Try to have at least two portions per week, with one of them oily. Avoid smoked or canned fish because these items typically have more salt.

4. Cut Back on Sugar

Sugars can lead to insulin spikes which can sap you of energy.

The goal is to consume just 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day. If you drink one sugary carbonated beverage or a glass of some fruit juices, then you can reach this limit in a single serving. These items can promote weight gain, but they can also cause problems with your teeth. Free sugars are also found in alcoholic drinks, so you will want to limit your consumption there as well.

5. Don’t Forget to Exercise

Exercise is one of the key pillars of good health.

Eating healthy is an excellent first step, but you need to keep pressing forward. Try to incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise to your weekly routine. It should be enough to activate a sweat and create a burning sensation in your muscles. Any activity is helpful, but pushing yourself to do more will encourage a balanced lifestyle.

In a Nutshell

Always have some fibrous carbs, starchy carbs, protein, and some healthy oils in every meal.

The science of healthy eating is rather simple. If you reduce the number of carbohydrates you consume, add fiber to your diet, and fill out your plate with fruits and vegetables of all colors, then your nutritional profile will improve.

That’s why this approach is not a fad – it works.