Food Fact or Fad?

In my mind, the validity of health trends is comparable to news articles found in US Weekly- meaning, I believe neither to hold much factual weight.

I took a few nutrition courses while attending Smith College. I learned a lot about how the body works and what it needs to function properly, but the big takeaway was when the teacher told us that these textbooks we were using would be moot in a few years due to the ever-changing landscape of the health and nutrition industry. Scientists are constantly experimenting, testing, researching, and hypothesizing. They do labs involving test subjects and statistics, which culminate into major claims about certain food or food products.

Bone broth, fats, turmeric, coconut water, collagen, lemon water, etc… have all had (or are having) their time in the spotlight. “Health” has become a trend in and of itself, which has prompted food stores, restaurants, and brands to incorporate these trending ingredients into their products and subsequent marketing of them.

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That’s not to say that science is always wrong. Consuming these trending health foods will probably not harm you in any way. In fact, the claims are sometimes correct. Healthy fat is good for you –  the nutrients found in avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts have been scientifically proven to improve the quality of your hair and skin and lower your bad cholesterol, along with a number of other benefits. However, my concern comes from the claims that were founded through small study groups or outlandish hypotheses promoting the benefits of a certain food or food group. Usually, there are only one or two articles that come out if there isn’t a lot of science to back up the claims, but with social media these days. Even the most minuscule piece of news can make its way onto the main stage of digital platforms.

Not everyone has the time or interest to look into every healthy trend that pops up. We want to stay healthy, so we do what those do around us. We eat the avocado toast with gluten free bread and hot sauce while sipping our bullet proof coffee because that’s what the countless “health” bloggers are advising us to do. Because butter in coffee is proven to do what exactly? And what is the science to back that up? And has there even been enough time to prove what the longterm benefits of doing that are?

A few days ago, it came out in the news that turmeric has not actually been proven to do anything positive for our health or wellbeing (besides dye our towels and hands orange). And you know my thoughts on bone broth

My point of this post/ramble is to be mindful and wary of trending ingredients or food items. Inform yourself, do the research, be particular and unique about what you choose to put into your body. I’m not saying smoothie supplements such as maca or pearl are going to harm you in any way, but you might as well save that $10 you’re about to spend on bone broth and put it towards a whole roasted chicken because WE KNOW protein is good for you.

When in doubt, stick to the (Michael) Pollan way. “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

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