Chronicle: Let go of dietary dogma once and for all

There seem to be about a million nutrition experts these days, each touting a different diet as the cure for all your ailments.

There seem to be about a million nutrition experts these days, each touting a different diet as the cure for all your ailments.

One group of health gurus will tell you that eating meat is sure to cause cardiovascular disease and a spare tire around your midsection, while another group will convince you that vegetables are bad for you (yes, It’s a thing).

Another group will tell you that the natural sugars in fruit are toxic and should be avoided, while another will tell you that grains, nuts, seeds and legumes are full of anti-nutrients (compounds plants that inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals).

It’s like nowadays everyone has done it for one food group or another. Don’t even get me started on dairy – mediocre dairy has been reviled by almost everyone from vegans to Paleolithic dieters.

While I think there is a lot of truth in the statements mentioned above, it can seem impossible and even anxiety-provoking to figure out the right diet when every food group has been slammed by a so-called diet “expert” .

I believe the truth is that any of these food groups can be bad for you in some context. But what’s bad for one person can be really good for someone else’s health.

Over the past few months, I have taken a deep dive into the science of nutrition and it has fascinated me. In high school, I excelled in English and social studies classes, but math and science just couldn’t hold my attention. I wish I had paid more attention to it in biology class because I learned that the human body is amazing.

From my research, I discovered that the human body has a miraculous ability to heal itself. Once we eliminate the offending substances (environmental toxins, inflammatory foods, stress and infection), the body regenerates because that is what it was created to do.

What I’ve learned is that every bite of food you take can either help you or hurt you.

There is no single diet that suits everyone. The truth is, it takes some effort to figure out which foods work for you.

The obvious place to start would be to cut out foods that are generally inflammatory for everyone, including refined carbs and processed sugars.

These foods aren’t inherently “bad” either. In moderation, they can be used as fuel. But in excess, they can cause inflammation and disease.

There are certain foods that we should all try to eat less of and certain food groups that are worth experimenting with, such as gluten and dairy.

But at the end of the day, if you’re going to be hyper-restrictive with your diet, the stress of doing so might be more detrimental to your health than eating the foods you’re trying to avoid.

What is the solution? Balance.

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