''We are that we eat'': food as source of health
Module 1, Unit 4, Level: Advanced
Food as source of health
"We are what we eat"
Food, health, healthy food, nutrition, metabolism, traditional food, culinary techniques, healthy fats, water
Feeding is a voluntary act. We decide what kind of foods do we eat and the culinary technology and techniques to prepare them with all the available options that we currently have.
It is important to educate on how we eat. The benefits of taking healthy aliments with adequate cooking techniques could give us a better health status. A healthy lifestyle which comprises a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity, has proven to reduce the prevalence of diseases, especially chronic diseases. There are a great number of meta-analyses and scientific studies that show that most of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases also appear as a consequence of the high consumption of ultra-processed foods, so we should replace them by healthier and more palatable meals, with nearby products and with traditional culinary techniques.
Associated recommendations to promote the adherence to a healthier lifestyle are to engage in daily physical activity, adequate water consumption, healthy cooking techniques and emotional balance. In this area, it is important to note that emotions should not influence our alimentary habits. It is essential to know the most common dietary patterns in the population in order to stablish relationships between diet and health.
Vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, eggs, legumes, tubers, physical activity, water.
The associated risks are based on the ignorance of the real dietary pattern by the population. Usually, people are guided by a desirability bias and tend to not tell professional nutritionists their real intake pattern, either due to not remember or because they feel they could be judged.
Also, the ignorance of what is a healthy diet is an important issue. There is the false belief that a high protein or low carbohydrate diet can comply with healthy dietary patterns. In those restricted diets, patients must be controlled by a specialist who evaluates clinical parameters to avoid risks, and follow the evidence provided in well-designed studies, avoiding false myths.
Another cause of concern is the belief that all natural products are safe. Dietary supplements are products that contain many herbal substances that, when metabolised, generate secondary metabolites that can be toxic. These products should be legislated and many, without scientific studies to validate them, are available to any consumer on the Internet. Moreover, the intake of these products can cause adverse reactions, from allergic reactions to severe liver injury.
Ultra-processed foods, diet quality and human health
The Food Pyramid: A Dietary Guideline in Europe