Your food might not be as good or bad for you as it appears, researchers say. It’s all a bit more complex.
You may think that butter is bad for you. All of those lipids it contains can only add up to no good, right? Well, apparently, maybe not. Scientists and nutritionists are now saying that maybe we should think again, when it comes to looking at the nutritional content of our food.
Some foods, they say, may be better for us or less healthy than we currently believe. It all comes down to context.
Currently, nutritionists look at the beneficial content of our food by considering one isolated item at a time. Something like butter is analyzed and found to contain lots of fat, and so it’s considered to be bad for our health, on that basis.
But not all foods follow that pattern. Some don’t react in our body as science would predict.
Some foods like high-fat cheese, work in more complex ways. How do we know?
A group of researchers from the University of Copenhagen met to discuss the issue at a workshop led by Tanja Kongerslev Thorning, PhD, from the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.
“In contrast to current recommendations that essentially ban full-fat cheese, current research clearly demonstrate important health benefits of cheese for prevention of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancers,” Thorning noted.
“All the positive effects are due to a complex interaction between beneficial bacteria, minerals and bio-active cheese ingredients.”
Thorning feels that our meals should be considered as a whole- not simply our food items.
“…when we eat, we do not consume individual nutrients. We eat the whole food. Either alone or together with other foods in a meal. It therefore seems obvious that we should assess food products in context,” she added.
The researchers from the University of Copenhagen met with their counterparts from the University of Reading and talked mainly about dairy products at the workshop, waxing on about yogurt and reflecting on the beautiful properties of things like gorgonzola and cream cheese on crackers.
Besides cheese, which doesn’t end up affecting our cholesterol as much as we think, what other foods did they find are tricking us? Almonds, it was shared, which are high in fat don’t release all of their fat when we digest them. Sneaky buggers.
The nutritionists weren’t able to solve the Rubix cube of eating and tell us exactly why some foods aren’t what they seem. They did, however, conclude that more research is needed to figure out exactly what our food is doing to us, based on what we’re eating at the same time.
So, grab some crackers and cheese and anything else you think should go along with it- it might add up to some good.
Photo credits: digitalista/Bigstock; FSerega/Bigstock;Yingko/Bigstock