When healthy hurts


Formerly published in The Other Press. Nov. 27 2012

The dangers of too much healthy eating
By Elliot Chan, Contributor

Our nutrition is perhaps the wisest investment we can make in ourselves. Yet, in today’s culinary culture, the food chart we grew up understanding has become rather skewed. What we once considered healthy may not be anymore, and diets that are meant to make us feel better can do more harm than good. Stress, guilt, and depression may seem like adversity to a better lifestyle in the long run, but for now it’s best to recognize that the term “healthy choices” should be written with an asterisk.

“An apple a day,” they used to say, but the orchards have evolved. As high fruit diets are gaining popularity, we must consider the modern methods of growing fruit. Hybridization has allowed farmers and scientists to create larger fruits for less. But while not only bigger, they are also sweeter than their wild counterparts, leading to health issues caused by excessive fruit consumption. These can include dental decay, hormones imbalance resulting in cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, osteoporosis, wasting of muscle tissues, inability to maintain a healthy weight, chronic fatigue, skin problems, thinning hair, weakening nails, and excessive irritability. Be sure to moderate a fruit diet with milder choices such as tomatoes and zucchini, as well as lettuces and other greens.

Many weight lost diets are introducing high intakes of fibre. But despite the positive attributes like reduced chances of colon cancer, regulated blood sugar, and digestion aid, excessive consumption can be both harmful and embarrassing. Some symptoms of consuming improper amounts of fibre are cramping, diarrhea, malabsorption, constipation, intestinal gas, and intestinal blockage. To avoid uncomfortable circumstances, adults are recommended to consume no more than 25 grams of fibre a day and do so with ample water.

Another diet that has become trendy over the years is the raw food diet. Sure, the benefits of eating raw food can fill a long list, but it only takes one risk to make dieters stop and reconsider. Acidic fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and pineapples are great sources of vitamins, but too much acidity can damage teeth enamel. Limit yourself to two oranges or one grapefruit a day. You can also try blending various fruits, both acidic and non-acidic, into a smoothie in order to limit negative side effects.

Those who want to maintain a healthy intake of protein while committing to raw foods may wind up hording nuts. Although nuts are a good source of protein, they are also very high in fat. This can lead to fatigue and imbalanced eating habits, since nuts are known to cause cravings. The recommended daily intake is about 60 grams. Alternative protein sources are vegetables, seeds, and seaweeds.

Healthy eating is personal and will take time to determine. It is more than meals; it is a life style, and therefore should be individually researched and experimented with. Proper nutrition is a healthy investment, but like your mutual funds and savings, it never hurts to speak with a professional. A consultation with a nutritionist can save you a lot of grief and money, as well as help you determine a healthy goal.


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