True or False: Essentials of Proper Nutrition

Jennifer Seleem useBy: Jennifer Seleem, MS, RDN

“Burn fat fast,” “body cleansing,” “lose 50 lbs. instantly,” and “cutting out carbs,” how often have you seen these terms advertised? Is it true or false? Everywhere you turn someone is talking about their new diet that they saw on Dr. Oz or Facebook, or from celebrity endorsement. There are so many myths out there that can negatively impact our health, coming from uneducated sources who are only looking for monetary gain. Do not play this true or false game! Look for the right sources and always get the truth! In honor of March – National Nutrition Month, I am going to review the essentials of proper nutrition and how to put your “best fork forward.”

First, when getting the truth about nutrition it is important to get it from reliable sources, which present science-based recommendations like The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition or other scientific nutrition journals. Science based evidence are what registered dietitians use to educate their clients and patients. They ensure the truth is always promoted and help fight the nutrition myths out there.

Balanced eating in moderation is the key to living a healthy lifestyle. Including all the food groups like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and low fat dairy in moderations is essential for living. These are the food groups you need for your body to function efficiently. Following a diet to remove any food group is a false claim which is not sustainable and may negatively impact your health.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, folic acid, and dietary fiber. The truth is eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and certain cancers.

Protein

Proteins are found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and seed group. Always focus on lean proteins like fish, chicken, turkey, egg whites, and beans to lower your risk for heart disease. The truth is proteins function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

Grains

Grains are a group that are easily identified as carbohydrates and falsely feared. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium). The truth is consuming whole grains as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Also, the B vitamins found in whole grains are essential for a healthy central nervous system.

Dairy

Dairy foods include milk, yogurt, and cheese. The truth is the consumption of dairy is linked to improved bone health, and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Consumption of dairy is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and with lower blood pressure in adults.

Fats

Fats are a food group that can be falsely scrutinized. The truth is fats are essential for absorbing fat soluble vitamins A,D, E, K; important for brain development and maintaining healthy brain function. It is important to focus on healthy fats (Monounsatured and polyunsaturated) which help promote a healthy heart and lower the bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). Healthy fats are found in fish, nuts, seeds, avocado and vegetable oils. Unhealthy fats (Saturated and Trans fatty acids) need to be limited. They are found in red meat, butter, fried foods, and baked goods like cookies, donuts.

Those are the truths about nutrition! For more truths on nutrition and for recommended serving sizes, check out www.choosemyplate.gov. During this National Nutrition Month and every month make sure to receive your nutrition truths from reliable sources. If you see any nutrition claim, do not blindly accept it, always ask yourself; true or false?

Jennifer Seleem is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay Medical Center – Old Bridge, a member of the Hackensack Meridian Health family. The Institute provides weight loss surgery and support for individuals seeking weight loss, who have been unable to lose weight through conventional dieting, exercise or weight loss medication. To attend a free seminar, which occurs twice monthly, call 855.TIME.4.ME

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