“Experts Say … ” How Do You Handle the Barrage of Food and Nutrition Claims?
If you live in a prosperous country and have access to good food, there’s never been a more exciting time to be alive and eating on Planet Earth. So many great ingredients, so many wonderful cooks sharing their knowledge, so many colors of Le Creuset to choose from! But equally, it’s never been more confusing. Raw, vegan, gluten-free, goji-this and paleo-that, low-fat vs. full-fat: How do you navigate all the nutrition and health claims and separate the wisdom from the snake oil?
Personally, I’ve given up. I just can’t stay on top of all the conflicting studies and advice and I don’t know whom to trust. It seems like every time someone makes a nutrition or food-based health claim, another study is done that proves it wrong. Often, if you poke around deeply enough, you discover that the study was funded by the very industry that is being studied. Universities that are strapped for cash are accepting these kinds of donations, so even their reputations are suspect. I want to take care of my body and do the best for my health, but it’s just impossible for me to wade through it all.
So these days I take the not-so-glamourous approach. I avoid much of the nutritional chatter (including many magazines) and follow three simple rules: eat as many unprocessed foods as possible, get as much exercise as possible, and try to enjoy my life. That’s as close as I’ve been able to come to a magic formula for a healthy, happy life.
How about you? How do you manage the onslaught of health and nutrition claims? Is there a source you feel you can rely on?
Related: Healthy Skepticism: Marion Nestle Takes On Food Studies