Between the Pinterest boards full of protein diets, the endless weight loss tips we see online and the countless low-carb diet foods we see in the grocery store, it’s getting more difficult to determine what we should and shouldn’t be eating. VarCity HQ did a little leg work for you and scoured the internet for the common themes we saw from nutritionists throughout the internet.
Below is VarCity’s Part 1 of our top 10 list of nutrition rules that almost all experts agree with:
1. Added Sugar Is a Disaster
To improve the taste of processed foods, producers often add sugar to them. This type of sugar is known as added sugar (e.g. sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup).
It is definitely true that added sugar contains empty calories. There are no nutrients in it, other than sugar. As a result, basing your diet on products high in added sugar may contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other risks associated with excessive sugar intake that are now reaching mainstream attention.
Added sugar is being implicated as a leading cause of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
This is because fructose is metabolized strictly by the liver. High intake has been linked with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, abdominal obesity and high cholesterol over time.
However, the role of fructose in disease is controversial and scientists do not fully understand how it works.
Added sugar provides empty calories and is believed to be a leading cause of diseases that kill millions of people each year.
2. Omega-3 Fats Are Crucial and Most People Don't Get Enough
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the proper functioning of the human body. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid derived from animals, makes up about 10–20% of the total fat content in the brain.
A low intake of omega-3 is associated with a lower IQ, depression, various mental disorders, heart disease and many other serious diseases.
There are three main types of omega-3 fats: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA comes mostly from plant oils, while the best sources of EPA and DHA are fatty fish proteins, fish oils and certain algal oils. Other good sources of EPA and DHA are grass-fed meat and omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs.
The plant form, ALA, needs to be transformed into DHA or EPA to function correctly in the human body. However, this conversion process is inefficient in humans. Therefore, it is best to eat plenty of protein rich foods high in DHA and EPA.
A large part of the population is not getting enough omega-3 fats from their diet. Avoiding a deficiency in these essential fatty acids may help prevent many diseases.