There are several reasons why recommendations for how to improve your diet for health have failed — none of them your fault!
You have simply been given the wrong information about how to improve your diet. In fact, the information you were given was harmful, sabotaging your efforts to adequately prevent or treat health conditions.
Here are a few of the incorrect pieces of advice you received about how to improve your diet for health.
1. Whole grains are an essential part of a healthy diet.
In 1992, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the Food Pyramid, recommending the food groups necessary for optimal health. The USDA recommended we should eat 6-10 servings per day of grains, such as bread, pasta, and rice.
Americans followed that advice because it came from the government. They didn’t consider that the USDA was looking out for the health of the agriculture industry, not the health of the American citizens!
Evidently discovering refined grains present health problems, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture prepared a new Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2005, specifically stating that whole grains were an important part of the diet. They updated the guideline in 2015, and whole grains are still front and center, with a recommendation that Americans eat 3-5 servings of whole grains per day.
The truth is that whole grains are not the most healthy foods to eat. They do not fill you up calorie for calorie when compared to non-starchy vegetables and protein. They make blood sugar levels skyrocket, which can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. They do not contain as many nutrients calorie for calorie compared to non-starchy vegetables and protein. And you’ll get way more fiber by eating non-starchy vegetables than by eating whole grains.
2. Eating Ultra-Processed Foods in Moderation is Okay
As previously discussed, ultra-processed foods contain dangerous chemicals and added sugars that damage your health. Eating them in moderation is also difficult or impossible to do because many of them have been created specifically to induce cravings, causing you to eat more of that food. The best way to improve your diet for optimal health is to avoid eating ultra-processed foods as much as possible.
3. A Low-Fat Diet is the Best Way to Protect Your Health
This piece of incorrect advice starting in the 1970s persuaded people to cut almost all fat out of their diets, which automatically meant they had to eat a high-carb diet because there wasn’t much of a choice. Protein and fat go together. And they had a lot of low-fat choices from which to choose.
Food manufacturers created a wide variety of low-fat and fat-free foods, and they raked in huge profits. But they also replaced the fat they removed from these foods with sugar to make them taste better.
Overconsumption of carbs and sugar contributed to weight gain, heart disease, and other health conditions. Underconsumption of fat also causes health conditions and disease because our bodies need dietary fat to function properly. The body uses dietary fat to manufacture hormones and make tissue. Dietary fat is essential to your metabolism, brain, bones, and much more.