“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” – Mae West
If we could only apply that to our diets!
According to the latest Consumer Reports, if you’re applying Mae West’s philosophy to even the healthiest of foods, you may be harming your health. “The belief that if some is good, more must be better is pretty common,” says Maxine Siegel, R.D., who heads Consumer Reports’ food-testing department. “But the truth is, there absolutely are nutrients and healthy foods you can overdo. A healthy eating plan needs to be balanced by portion control.”
Who doesn’t love that guacamole and avocado toast have made the list of approved, healthy foods?
But in Glamour Magazine’s “8 Healthy Foods You Are Probably Overdoing”, Samantha Eagan warns readers to tread lightly. Cynthia Sass, R. D., advises that while avocados are an excellent source of nutrients and heart-healthy fat, it’s easy to eat an entire avocado in one meal, which will add more fat than a woman can utilize at one time. To avoid this, be sure to consume no more than a quarter of an avocado per meal.
And what’s a party without mixed nuts? With all their touted health benefits, including weight loss and nutrition, it’s a super-snack, right?
But Prevention Magazine’s Kassandra Braball warns you to ‘not go nutty’. Too much can lead to quick weight gain and digestive issues. There’s even a very rare condition you can get from eating too many Brazil nuts, selenium poisoning, which contributes to hair loss, brittle nails, and aching joints.
Dr. Andrew Weil, health expert, says, “A sensible guideline on the amount of nut consumption that is good for you came from the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health.”
The study monitored the health of 86,000 nurses who ate more than five ounces of nuts per week, finding that they had one-third fewer heart attacks than those who rarely or never ate nuts. He prefers to limit himself to a handful per day as part of his healthy eating plan. His favorites? Cashews, almonds, and walnuts. He also recommends Brazil nuts for selenium, and pistachios for fiber, vitamin B-6, thiamin, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. Avoid added salt and artificial flavorings.
Did you know that too much protein can strain your kidneys and leach calcium from your bones? Since protein is found in more foods than you realize, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, tofu, nuts, dairy, fortified foods, powders, drinks, and bars, it’s easy to get more than your body needs in a day. Most people (unless you’re a high performing athlete) need only three servings of protein-rich foods daily, according to Consumer Reports. A healthy eating plan for women over 50 should include slightly more protein, and you will also find protein necessary to maintain healthy skin.
Arsenic? Who knew? But rice is one of the biggest dietary sources of inorganic arsenic, with brown rice having the most, says Consumer Reports. Regular exposure to small amounts of arsenic, a potent carcinogen, can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Eating brown rice does give you beneficial nutrients, like fiber and vitamins, but try to vary it with other types of grains like quinoa and spelt.
Dr. Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine, author, and regular guest expert on The Dr. Oz Show, believes that switching to a juice-only cleanse can do more harm than good. While you are getting a daily dose of fruit, too much can lead to blood sugar swings, overload the liver, and deprive your body of fiber, while not aiding in weight loss. A healthy eating plan is just that – an “eating” plan.
One juice combo drink can have the same calories as a full meal yet leave you feeling unsatisfied. He adds that including detox drinks that are mostly vegetables to your diet, while focusing on healthy ingredients and eliminating processed foods and alcohol, will reduce toxins. Dr. Axe advises, generally speaking, that if you eat a healthy diet a majority of the time, your body naturally detoxes every day.
So taking an assessment of how much of even the healthiest food you consume, may be an enlightening and worthwhile exercise.
The bottom line is still true: balance is key.
If you are struggling to lose weight, try Prime Women’s new diet app, PLATE.
Be sure to check with your doctor or a registered dietitian to be sure of your specific nutritional needs.