What is a Healthy Diet?

It is a struggle to digest all of the information about what is, and what are not, healthy foods. There are so many sources of conflicting advice. Emotion, beliefs, and ulterior motives tend to influence conclusions. In many cases, what is kosher for one individual is simply unpalatable to the next. So, let’s accept there are few to no conclusions that apply to everyone. So, if someone approaches you belching out an emphatic belief that they know what you should be eating, it would probably be wise to first understand where their biases originate and decide if you prefer to share them. Certainly the power of suggestion can have an impact. If you truly believe that a specialized approach to eating is going to work better for you, the power of suggestion is more likely to make it so. Just be on notice that the short term power of suggestion and “wanting to believe” may be overcome at some point by the inescapable realities of physical complications.

In general, moderation is a good practice in all things, including moderation. You are free to demonize my deviled eggs if you have an egg allergy, but please don’t preach to me that I should avoid them.

Can One Diet Work for All?

First, let’s accept that each of us is unique with our own preferences and biochemistry. What is ideal for one person can’t necessarily be expected to be ideal for the next. Especially, if you have specific medical conditions such as diabetes, your ideal dietary choices are likely to be very different from what best serves those not sharing your condition.

We are genetically diverse in how we digest and metabolize different foods. This is another reason that broad assumptions about proper diet should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, those of Northern European descent tend to have a love for cheese. Most other types of adults, especially Asians, find it to be literally nauseating.

What is the Current, Best Evidence?

First, understand that this is an evolving journey, and there are few to no absolute facts. Many of the recommendations from a generation ago have been discarded as our base of knowledge has expanded and earlier biases exposed. However, based on a lot of review of the latest information that is generally best for the majority of individuals, I offer the Healthy Eating Plate  as a good start.

 

Copyright © 2011, Harvard University. For more information about The Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, www.thenutritionsource.org, and Harvard Health Publications, www.health.harvard.edu.

Copyright © 2011, Harvard University. For more information about The Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, www.thenutritionsource.org, and Harvard Health Publications, www.health.harvard.edu.

 

Needless to say, if you have taken responsibility for preparing meals for a finicky eater that gets indigestion any time you attempt to be persuasive with meal choices, offering information and setting an example tends to lead to less heartburn than attempting to force-feed.

Chew on that.

 

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This information is the current, general opinion of the author and is not to be considered to be medical advice applicable to any specific individual. Points made are subject to change as more and better information develops over time.