Although the scientific advances of the last decade have dismantled some ideas about feeding, there are still guides that reproduce them. An example: you have to eat two or three dairy products a day to have a complete diet
Scientific research in the nutritional field in recent years has been dismantling some myths about food that are deeply rooted in the collective ideology. In fact some still survive. From the Twitter profile of the Aleris Nutrition Center, they recently cited some of these “ancient horrors” that are still quite entrenched in Spain today. For example: that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that to have a healthy diet you have to eat between two and three servings of dairy products a day or that the base of the diet should be cereals.
Well, science has been showing that these statements are not true. Even so, some of these outdated ideas are still repeated in some food guides, for example, the classic nutritional pyramid. Fortunately, there are also more up-to-date tools, for example the Plate for Eating Healthy from the Harvard School of Public Health. In addition, its guidelines are easier to follow: it does not talk about portions, but about the composition of the plate of each meal.
Cereals in the base of the diet
You still see the traditional food pyramid that places cereals, whose greatest contribution is carbohydrates, at the base of the diet, before fruits and vegetables. Thus, there are guides that recommend between four or six servings a day. “Cereals have a role that they do not deserve. They should not be at the base of the diet. You cannot eat six servings a day, in all intakes, of carbohydrates, “said dietitian-nutritionist Aitor Sánchez in an interview with EFE in 2017.
However, as Boticaria García points out in the book El jamón de york does not exist, the most up-to-date guides have already rejected this idea. The aforementioned Harvard Plate points out that grains or whole grains should occupy a quarter of the plate at each meal. And they add: the type of carbohydrates is more important than the amount, because some sources of this nutrient – such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes – are healthier than others.
When you choose to eat cereals (bread, rice or pasta), the best for your health is to choose those whole, since they contain a higher fiber content, being their absorption slower, and also provide more vitamins and minerals. Instead, avoid white or refined bread or rice, as they are rapidly absorbed hydrates and are associated with a higher risk of being overweight, obesity, diabetes and other diseases.
Dairy, they are not essential
The healthy eating pyramid of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition (SENC) also indicates that you have to take between two or three servings of dairy products a day, something that, as Aitor Sánchez added, indirectly implies that they are essential in the diet, but that really is not so. “You can take dairy or not, it depends on the rest of the diet.”
“In Spain we have been carrying out campaigns for 30 years that make us believe that they are essential for bone health and there are studies that show how bone health is independent of the dairy products that we have taken in childhood. If the Spanish population knew that the greatest factor in bone health is sun exposure and sports, another rooster would sing ”, explained the dietitian-nutritionist.
As Beatriz Robles, food technologist, clarified to El Comidista, there are no essential foods, “what are necessary and irreplaceable are nutrients, and we can obtain these from different sources.” In other words, they can be obtained from other foods. For example, proteins, from eggs or legumes, and calcium from some vegetables, for example broccoli, cauliflower or sesame seeds. So, you can live without dairy.
Breakfast, the most important meal
When it comes to breakfast we have made mistakes over the years. Starting with the foods that made it up, from cereals up to sugar, juices or cookies, and ending by giving it an importance that it does not have. In fact, we’ve repeated for years that skipping this meal can make you fat. But now we know that the brain does not need sugar at all times when we wake up, in fact we have to keep these foods as far as possible, and that it is not necessary to eat first thing in the morning to accelerate the metabolism. You can break your fast hours after waking up like people who do intermittent fasting.
Beyond being obsessed with having breakfast or not, according to Daniel Ursúa, dietician-nutritionist, disseminator and author of Nutrihabits, the important thing is that what we take to break the fast is healthy and makes sense within the rest of the meals of the day, that is , have healthy eating habits.