One of the beauties of social media and the internet is the distribution of thoughts and information at pace never before seen by humankind. The answers to your questions are at that tips of your fingers! Eat this, don't do that; this will heal you, this will kill you. You have access to websites and "professionals" from all over the world, telling you what is wrong with you and what has to be done with your health so you can lose weight, live longer, and be happier. There's always something 'new', and it always contradicts what you've been told just a moment ago. So what to believe?
Gluten-Free is Healthy - or is it?
This one has gotten out of hand in the last
couple of years. People are all about being gluten-free and many people are either self-diagnosing or assuming that they are automatically making a healthier choice by eating gluten-free products. But do you really know what gluten is? Gluten is a protein used in breads, cereals and wheats as a binding agent and is what gives bread its chewiness. Truth is, only 0.7% of the population (roughly 1 out of 141 people) actually suffer from Celiac's Disease (the clinical diagnosis for gluten sensitivity causing malnourishment). To top it off, gluten-free processed foods (which normally would contain gluten, like bread or cookies) have to substitute something else for the missing gluten. Believe it or not, that filler (a starch product) usually has more calories than the non-gluten counterpart. Plus, the grocer is charging you, on average, 242% more for a gluten free product vs. the regular option!. Granted, those diagnosed with Celiac's suffer greatly from exposure to gluten, but for the rest of us...come on, get a grip.
Advice: Don't get caught in this trap. If you aren't medically diagnosed as Celiac, eating gluten-free products is not always healthier nor affordable.
A Glass of Wine per Day - or Two, or Three...
Let's face it. You aren't drinking wine because it's good for you. But if you are, you should know that 250mL is the maximum recommended serving to take advantage of these healthful benefits. Beyond that, it is just self-gratification. Proponents of wine will preach about how it protects from various cancers (as a result of containing an antioxidant known as Resveratrol -- also found in grapes, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and peanuts, by the way), it's anti-ageing properties (Resveratrol again), and reducing the risk of depression (the chicken or the egg?). The fact of the matter is, you are consuming about 200 calories per glass of wine and when you imbibe too much -- 2 to 3 ounces (100mL) of alcohol every day -- your stomach does not absorb calcium adequately (and leaches calcium from the bones) which can lead to a much higher risk of osteoporosis (pathetically brittle bones) later in life. In addition, there's an increase in two potentially bone-damaging hormones, cortisol (which is proven to contribute to fat retention and hypertension) and parathyroid hormone, as well as studies to suggest that alcohol decreases estrogen and can lead to irregular periods.
Advice: I'm not saying don't drink, I'm just saying there are better sources of the healthful agents. When in doubt, most foods and beverages that can be addictive, are not that great for you.
I've got news for you- if you can't function each day without a morning coffee, you are a drug addict. Period.
Advice: Get off the smack.
The Best Fruits to Have
Those entrenched in this debate clearly miss the forest for the trees. If the real issue for those interested in weight-loss was which fruits to eat/avoid...their goal wouldn't be weight-loss. Fruit doesn't make you gain weight, and even if it was theoretically possible, how many of you can say you eat too much? Bananas, for instance, have received a really bad reputation among the weight loss community because they are "high in calories" (about 100) and sugar (12g). The thing that most people don't realize about bananas and many fruits is that the energy they provide (calories=energy), is dispersed over a longer period of time so that rather than excess calories being stored as fat, bananas provide sustained energy for a greater period of time, never mind the crucial potassium, fibre and vitamin B6. Get off of banana's nuts...it's healthy. Bottom line is that I will tell me clients to eat a whole pineapple over a cheese burger 100% of the time.
Advice: If you are looking to lose weight, don't worry about the fruit you are eating, worry about the processed foods you are unnecessarily consuming.
The real moral of this story is that nobody is 100% right, and nobody is 100% wrong. Do I know what I am talking about? As a certified professional in my field, most people accept that I do. I do my research and practice due-diligence before I back something publicly. But to be perfectly honest, you should accept what I say with a grain of salt as well. I am citing research that I haven't personally done (someone else has) and I chose to accept their findings. When someone comes on social media and says that 100% this is how things are because so and so said it was, or when research finds that someone else is 'wrong' about something and people bash them without shame, I just shake my head. Because what is right today, will be wrong tomorrow. The only staples I live by are: eat from the source whenever possible, be active every day, and smile and laugh as much as possible because only you get to choose if you are happy or not.