Yogi diet: Avoid processed foods, people

I tossed off at the end of a recent post the news that a study of all our fad and not-so fad diets discovered an underlying, healthy commonality among them: avoidance of processed foods.

It deserves a little more attention, I think.

The full study from Annual Reviews can be found here. But, as is so often the case, relying on someone — let’s say at the Atlantic — to put it into plain-speak English can be helpful:

They conclude that no diet is clearly best, but there are common elements across eating patterns that are proven to be beneficial to health. “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”

Among the salient points of proven health benefits the researchers note, nutritionally-replete plant-based diets are supported by a wide array of favorable health outcomes, including fewer cancers and less heart disease. These diets ideally included not just fruits and vegetables, but whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Katz and Meller found “no decisive evidence” that low-fat diets are better than diets high in healthful fats, like the Mediterranean. Those fats include a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids than the typical American diet.

(The Paleo diet, one that makes us giggle, doesn’t fare very well.)

So if all the diets are about equal, what to do? In sort of an answer, one of the authors did say this to the Atlantic:

“If you eat food direct from nature,” Katz added, “you don’t even need to think about this. You don’t have to worry about trans fat or saturated fat or salt—most of our salt comes from processed food, not the salt shaker. If you focus on real food, nutrients tend to take care of themselves.”

Amen. Although avoiding wheat still works for us. You can’t get rid of all the fads, right?

Posted by Steve


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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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