Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast and other unnecessary food holidays

Last week someone shared this tweet from the Cleveland Clinic:

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Not ideal from a provider of healthcare. I’m sure many children are getting more sugar from breakfast cereal and juice in the morning but that doesn’t excuse the fact that ice cream is not a balanced breakfast and the Cleveland Clinic should know better.

That got me to thinking about food holidays. It seems to me that most of these holidays promote unhealthy foods, foods that really need no promotion. I decided to do a little number crunching.

Based on the food holidays listed on Foodimentary, I added up all of the food holidays, all of the holidays promoting unhealthy choices, and all of the holidays promoting healthy foods. Out of 475 food holidays, 250 were for unhealthy foods (e.g. candy, doughnuts), and 81 were for healthy foods (e.g. kale, almonds). Do we really need all of these days devoted to promoting treats? How about we start a new calendar of food holidays promoting a different whole food every day? We don’t need to encourage anyone to eat ice cream, especially not for breakfast.

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Stop comparing apples to oranges!

When and why did we decide that it was reasonable to pit nutritious foods against each other in a battle for the Most Nutritious? Sorry not sorry… Literally comparing apples to oranges is a waste of time.

In the past week I’ve seen this infographic from the Cleveland Clinic comparing olive oil and coconut oil:

BYA3MiXCAAAiu9gAnd this article comparing apples, oranges, and bananas. Sigh.

First, to address the battle between coconut and olive oil. I thought that we were all in agreement that saturated fats aren’t bad for us after all. I know that it can be hard to put aside beliefs that we’ve held for decades, but as health care professionals, shouldn’t we be providing the public with the most accurate information that we have? That being said, too much of any one thing is bad for you. Using too much olive oil will upset the balance of omega-3 to omega-6 in your diet which has been attributed to inflammation in the body. Including a variety of sources of fat in your diet is the best way to ensure that you’re getting a healthy balance. Olive oil and coconut oil can both be part of a healthy diet.

Second, to address the fruit battle. Why do we want to have a stand-off between healthy foods? Fruits all have vitamins and minerals and other important nutrients such as carbohydrate, fibre, water, even fat. Yes, unless you’re having fruit salad or a smoothie, you’re likely only having one at a time. This doesn’t mean you have to stress about which one will provide you with maximum nutrition. They are all good choices. Kudos to you for choosing fruit.

Want to know the most important component of a healthy diet? Variety!