Do you know what you should be eating? It seems as if everyone has an especially strong opinion on the things you should never eat. These tend to be the kinds of foods that cause weight gain, stress your heart, don’t work with xyz trendy diet — you get the picture. “Many people consider themselves food experts — after all, everyone eats,” says Katherine Brooking, RD, of New York City.
That said, people tend to base their nutrition knowledge on articles on the web that haven’t properly vetted the science. “If you look at the most current literature we have on nutrition, there are actually fewer controversies than we are led to believe in the popular press,” Brooking says.
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What’s more, the way some research is discussed can result in some misleading or at least premature takeaways. For example, when nutrition studies home in on a specific food, nutrient, or phytochemical within a food, it doesn’t always cleanly apply to real life, in which other factors, like socioeconomic status, exercise, and your overall dietary pattern also affect your health, notes Brooking. Ultimately, the value of study results depends on the research model, how many people researchers analyzed (and whether humans were involved at all), and other factors. All things considered, several “controversial” foods are anything but — as long as you’re incorporating them into an overall healthy diet.
Here’s a deeper dive into 10 of them.