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9 surprising facts on nutrition

 | August 2, 2012

There is a lot of contradicting information out there about what’s good to eat and what’s not. After all, smoking was encouraged in the 1950s before the full horrors of the damage it did was revealed to us decades later.

The same goes for the food we consume. Eat low-fat foods… don’t eat low-fat foods. Eggs are healthy… eggs are deadly. Ultimately the decision to go one way or the other is up to you. As you weigh the pros and cons, here are some surprising facts on nutrition that maybe you weren’t aware of.


When most of the fat is sucked out from a product as happens in the processing of low-fat foods, it is left tasteless and un-marketable. To make up for this shortcoming, manufacturers add in sugar, flour, thickeners, salt and a host of chemicals. Besides becoming something almost alien from its original form, this process bumps up the calorie content too. Drink natural, full-fat options instead as the fat you’re consuming is infinitely less of a danger than all the sugar and chemicals that got included.


Numerous studies have failed to show a direct link of egg consumption with cardiovascular disease. In fact, eggs are incredibly nutritious. The yolk is high in healthy fats, quality proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants while the white is a excellent source of protein. Eggs are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two vitamins important for eye health. Finally, while there is cholesterol present in eggs, it does not make a great contribution to your level of blood cholesterol.


While eating animal fat from beef, lamb, pork and poultry including cheese, butter and ice cream will shoot-up your calorie consumption, it will not result in heart disease. While it does raise LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), it is a harmless subtype of LDL (large, fluffy type). The good news is saturated fats also raise HDL cholesterol, a healthy from of cholesterol that has a protective effect on our hearts. As surprising as this sounds, eating a moderate amount of saturated fat leads to improved cardiovascular risk factors, stronger bones, improved liver function, healthy lungs, healthy brain, proper nerve signalling and a strong immune system. Just remember to exercise those extra calories away.


Don’t agonise about knocking salt off completely from your diet. Besides making food tasty, salt is healthy. Salt is the most common source of sodium and chloride ions, which cannot be made by the body itself and so need to be consumed through our food intake. Sodium is needed to regulate volumes of fluid in the body. It also aids the uptake of various other nutrients into cells. But remember, everything in moderation! Too much salt can lead to hypertension, osteoporosis and stomach cancer. Stop eating processed food instead!


Most of your calories should not come from refined carbohydrates like white rice, white bread and baked goods made from white flour as these foods have had their natural fibre stripped away. Eat instead carbohydrates rich in fibre such as found in fruits, vegetables and beans. Carbohydrates full of fibre get absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels. There is also some evidence that suggests a high-fibre diet may help prevent colon cancer and promote weight control.


As it turns out, consuming fat does not lead to weight gain. In fact, diets high in fat (and low in carbohydrates and sugar) lead to more weight loss than diets that are low in fat. Eating the right kind of fat is what’s important. Trans fats (from processed foods) is deadly but natural fats such as found in salmon, mackerel, trout and tuna is healthy. Look also for fats in hemp oil, grape seed oil, virgin coconut oil, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds. Fats from these foods are essential for proper nerve activity, vitamin absorption, immune system function and healthy cells.





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