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What to Trust About Food
Humans are meaning-making machines, interpreting and drawing inferences from everything we encounter. A lot of time, this is great! It helps us figure things out (like what we should eat every day as part of a healthy lifestyle) and create new things (like Juice Plus+ capsules and chewables, to bridge that gap).
But sometimes, this characteristic can get in our way. Sometimes an answer — for instance, building a diet around whole foods — seems too simple. Then a complicated eating trend comes along, with complex rules: Eat only blue foods, and only on days that end with "p!"
All this to say: It's refreshing to hear medical experts like Dr. David Katz, M.D., reaffirming a commitment to the basics of healthy eating. You already know that healthy eating, exercise, hydration, and improving sleep/reducing stress are our core four pillars for the journey. To this, Dr. Katz adds, "And love more."
With so much chatter all around us about trendy diets, personalized nutrition, and other food-related topics, Dr. Katz notes that it can be hard to know WTF — What to Trust about Food. On this topic, he quotes author Michael Pollan (whose books include Food Rules: An Eater's Manual): "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
In other words: Keep it simple when possible. Which brings our meaning-making-machine selves back to the recognized and potential benefits of whole-foods-based nutrition. "Lifestyle is the medicine," says Katz. "Culture is the spoon."
He also points to the True Health Initiative, a worldwide coalition of health experts dedicated to providing education about lifestyle as medicine. The True Health Initiative, with in-depth research behind it, talks about the importance of looking at our individual diets' big picture.
Dr. Katz, one of DietSpotlight.com's top nutrition experts for 2017–2018, is the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center at Yale University. His research interests and expertise include nutrition, weight management, and preventing chronic disease. You can hear him talk briefly (less than a minute and a half) about fruits and vegetables as preventive medicine in this short video.