Eat Food, Not Nutrients

What did you have for dinner last night? I had protein, omega 3’s, a side of carbs, oh and there was a nice dash of B vitamins, vitamin A and zinc and a little iron a calcium to top it off… said no one ever…and no one has ever said that because we eat food not nutrients. But for some reason, for the past decade health and nutrition messages have focused on nutrients. Don’t eat carbs, eat protein, don’t eat sugar, eat omega 3’s, don’t eat fructose….What has happened to looking at the most important factor…the WHOLE diet….? If you’re cutting out carbs you won’t be eating sugar or cakes or biscuits but you won’t be eating beans or lentils or wholegrains either, but you are allowed to eat bacon, salami and deep fried chicken….that doesn’t really make sense to me? It’s about time we started to look at foods and the whole diet.

There is not, has not and probably never will be a single nutrient that is the cause of poor health and disease. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat, eating sugar doesn’t give you diabetes, eating cholesterol doesn’t give you heart disease (and eating protein won’t make you a body builder), it’s the WHOLE diet and many lifestyle factors (as well as genetics and a plethora of physiological reasons) that contribute to these health conditions, not one single nutrient.

We have become so fixated of certain nutrients we lose sight of the big picture, the WHOLE diet. Let’s re-wire our thinking and focus on whole and minimally processed foods as part of our WHOLE diet. Eating whole and minimally processed foods doesn’t mean you can’t set foot in the supermarket again or that you can only shop at farmers markets, organic stores or buy locally foraged goods. Minimally processed foods can include canned beans, lentils, fish, fruit and vegetables as well as frozen veggies, fruit, fish and meat. Stocking up in the fruit and vegetable section at the supermarket, the fresh meat and dairy section and selecting the wholegrain breads and cereals can all lead to eating minimally processed foods.

So don’t worry about fat, carb, sugar, fructose, gluten, wheat, protein, worry about your WHOLE diet, and if it’s full of fruit and vegetables and minimally processed foods then don’t worry at all!

Latest Comments

  1. Jo Mirtschin says:

    Hi Alex,
    Thanks for this great blog entry, its really refreshing to hear. I couldn’t agree more.
    Jo Mirtschin


  2. Glenda @ Healthy Stories says:

    Nicely put Alex. It’s definitely the whole picture that matters, not just one meal and not just one nutrient.


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