As individual consumers we no longer possess the nutrition knowledge of our ancestors. When our forefathers gathered or cultivated their foods, they were intimately involved in the process of food growth, production and utilization. We mostly buy our foods, have no connection with the process of production, and are obliged to believe, or often doubt, the claims of food producers and manufacturers. If we believe their claims, we may be faced with unpleasant surprises. If we doubt them, we have to look for new products, and begin the process of deciding what to believe and what to doubt all over again. The alternatives are not very satisfactory, and may indeed be discouraging towards a healthy diet.
Claims and counterclaims
Thus, there is no doubt today that the average American consumer is confused by the claims and counter-claims that reach his eyes and ears. And the confusion of the American consumer is matched by the bewilderment of consumers on a worldwide basis. The Nutrition Information Center at The New York Hospital-Weill Medical College of Cornell University is rather explicit on the subject. "Nutrition is becoming religion to people." Mainly it seems because, "Everyone wants to live a longer, better and more healthy life." But what that involves, is altogether another matter. Here confusion is rampant, with the consumer uncertain about the effects of caffeine on heart disease, that an occasional serving of lean red meat can be part of a healthy diet, and so on and on.
As a result, 59 percent of the survey respondents stated that conflicting information convinced them to change their eating habits during the last couple of years, while 20 percent stopped paying attention to new health information. This is discouraging indeed.
No place for fanatisism
The following Nutrition Guide aims to inform you about the different groups of foods, their interactions, what to prefer and what to avoid, why some foods may be good for some people but not so good for others, and generally provide information unburdened by the understandable self-interest of food producers and manufacturers.
The rubric "avoid" must not be taken as a total ban. Fanaticism has no place in diet or nutrition. Here "avoid" means don't eat this food on a daily basis, because there are simply too many indications that it may be harmful in the long run. But it does not mean "never eat it." If you are a conscientious "dieter," in others words if you restrict what you eat according to a knowledgeable plan in order to stabilize your metabolism, and if you have already managed to do so, then eating whatever you like once a weak will not harm you, and it will certainly not affect your weight-if you have stabilized your metabolism.
In addition, this break will not leave you frustrated and feeling that nature has dealt you a raw deal, restricting, tiresome and boring, which is the main reason why most diets are abandoned. If on the other hand, you are a chronic dieter, and you have dieted many times in the past, my advice to you is stop immediately-before you cause irreparable or at least substantial damage to your immune system, and not only.
Dietring versus correct nutrition
Sound nutrition for robust health, sensible loss of fat, recovery from illness or injury, for your age, sex, blood group, or to help you achieve peak performance as an athlete, is unlikely to come from dieting. It will come from a rational nutrition plan, but because today's foods are a far cry from the foods of our ancestors, completed by well chosen dietary supplements, consistent with your specific nature and the present state of your health. The following brief discussion of the various food groups aims to give you a rough idea of what may be involved.
- DAIRY PRODUCTS
- LEGUMES (PULSES)
- OILS (AND FATS)