What is more important than sugar, saturated fat, carbohydrates and calories?

A banana is 13% sugar, and has a greater percentage of sugar than soft drink.

Yet the banana also contains potassium, magnesium, dietary fibre, Vitamin C and (when partially unripe) is one of the richest sources of resistant starch. It’s consumption, as part of a diet that contains a variety of other fruits, helps to protect you from heart disease and strokeweight gain, and helps to prolong your life.

Cheese is typically rich in saturated fat, and has a very similar fatty acid content to butter.

Yet cheese also contains calcium, protein, magnesium, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B12. It’s consumption lowers cholesterol when eaten in replace of butter, is not actually associated with weight gain, and may (slightly) help to protect you from cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

Extra-virgin olive oil and nuts are both extremely rich sources of calories and fat, and provide a denser source of both than a doughnut.

Yet both extra-virgin olive oil and nuts are very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, phenols and other antioxidants. The liberal addition of these foods to the diet protects against both cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes (substantially), whilst also appearing to potentially reduce body weight and waist circumference.

Wholemeal bread is rich in rapidly-digested carbohydrates, and results in a greater spike to blood sugar than table sugar does.

Yet wholemeal bread also contains dietary fibre, Vitamin B1, Vitamin E, folate, various minerals and phytochemicals, particularly phenolic antioxidants. It’s consumption, as part of a diet containing a variety of other whole or fibrous grains, helps to protect you from Type 2 Diabetescardiovascular diseasebowel cancerweight gain, and helps to prolong your life, too.

Why do we believe the presence of a ‘negative’ nutrient – whether it is sugar, saturated fat, carbohydrates or calories – means a food is unhealthy or fattening?

Much more important, is to look for the abundance of positive nutrients found in minimally processed foods, instead.

4 responses

  1. Ahh, processed foods, often the bane of optimal wellness. You continue to share important distinctions across what is gesthful versus what is less so – and why! Thanks for communicating your knowledge, Tim, and heightening our awareness through a positive lens.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 3 things you should know about dairy « The Mind and Body Coach

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