C&B Notes

Portions Not Product

Perhaps the prevailing assumption that we are what we eat is incorrect.  It may be that how much we eat is far more important.

Nutritional experts are reeling from what they say is an unprecedented number of confusing studies and statements about diet and health this week.  “We have a perfect storm on a plate,” said Catherine Collins, principal dietitian at St George’s Hospital, London.  Medical journals published — and publicized — papers claiming that a high-protein diet is almost as bad for middle-aged people as smoking, that fried and grilled meat increases your risk of developing diabetes and dementia, and that saturated fats are not bad for you after all…

Independent experts challenged the validity of all these conclusions — they said the overall impact would be to exacerbate the already high level of public confusion about healthy eating.  “It is exasperating,” said Ms. Collins.  “We should not be singling out particular components in food and vilifying them.  We should be promoting a balanced diet with a lot of variety including some lean meat, fish, whole grain cereals, fruit and vegetables — and a little wine if you like. Essentially, it’s the Mediterranean diet.”

Tom Sanders, head of nutritional sciences at King’s College London, agreed.  He said people who want a label and instructions for their diet could go for Dash (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), a US interpretation of Mediterranean eating endorsed by the National Institutes of Health.  Dash was originally created to reduce high blood pressure but it is now recommended for any healthy adult.