Count ingredients, not calories

Count ingredients, not calories

By Sharon Palmer, R.D.N.

Shift your focus from the calories label to the ingredients label, and search for whole foods, including fish, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits and healthy plant fats.

The growing opinion among health researchers today is that just counting calories doesn’t ensure that your food choices support optimal health. After all, choosing foods merely on the basis of calories doesn’t mean that you’re actually consuming important nutrients that help lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

According to a recent editorial in the scientific journal Open Heart, simple dietary changes, such as boosting omega-3 fatty acids in fish, choosing olive oil and consuming nuts, can rapidly and substantially reduce the risk of all cause and cardiovascular mortality.

But simply focusing on weight misses key findings from recent research, which show that an increase in nutritional quality in one’s diet achieves large reductions in cardiovascular disease risk — irrespective of weight or calories consumed. The editorial authors emphasized that food can be the most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison. While this advice is nothing new, current research now supports it.

(Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384. www.EnvironmentalNutrition.com.)

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