3 Things You Can Stop Worrying About in the Name of Health

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An average glass holds about two cups of water- 16 ounces. So 16 ounces times 8 glasses equals 128 ounces of water. That’s about 3.8 liters a day. Granted, some people find it easy to put down that much water in the span of say 16 hours of wakefulness (that’s about a glass an hour), but a majority of people- not so much. The best part of this “medical” advice? There are no scientific studies that prove the quantity is required.

 

This past August, Prof. Aaron Carroll wrote an article for The New York Times, “No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day” where he explained the reasoning for the advice. Carroll claims most researchers trace this recommendation back to a 1945 (Yes- the decade when cigarettes were glamorized in health magazines and lobotomies cured every psychological aliment).

 

In 1945 the Food and Nutrition Board advised people to drink eight glasses of water daily,

“Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.”

What’s that? Never really heard that last part of the recommendation? Carroll and other researchers suggest through the years the second part of the recommendation fell off, leaving people chugging water from 32 ounce bottles to reach hydration goals.

Now, don’t confuse this with no need to drink water at all, it just means not eight glasses daily. The 1945 Board recommendation did intend people to account for fluid intake from healthful prepared foods and other, easy on the sugar, beverages.

 

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It seems like an easy weight-loss recipe: burn more calories throughout the day than you consume. The trap that incurs is measuring out 100 calorie processed snack foods, then spending 45 minutes on an elliptical to burn off your guilt and a glazed doughnut. Mathematically it makes sense, physically it doesn’t. What tends to happen for many people is smaller portions and restrictions on foods they already enjoy- all the low-quality foods like highly processed foods, sugars, high glycemic foods, and fried foods heavy in saturated and trans fats.

 
The smaller portions of low-quality foods leave you feeling fatigued, hungry, and more prone to casting discipline to the wind and digging into a second helping of cake, because, well, you deserve it for climbing all those stairs.

Switch out those low-quality foods for high-quality foods, like whole plant foods, real fruit, high fiber and quality fats.

You’ll get a slow release of energy that keeps you energized, motivated, feeling healthy and guaranteed to slim you down. Numerous studies back up the idea that it’s really about quality over quantity when it comes to a healthful, slimming diet.
If you’re trying to lose weight, or even just eat better, don’t count calories. Instead begin eating whole plant foods, high fiber, and lean protein. Watch your portion control by pushing your plate away when you’re 80% full. You’ll feel energized enough to hit the gym or take a stroll around the neighborhood to round out your weight-loss efforts. Best of all you’ll approach food without hesitation and mentally calculating its numerical worth- you’ll enjoy your meals, as they should be enjoyed.

 

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For many years there have been debates regarding the importance of animal protein in our diets. In this day and age most people believe eating lean meat, like chicken, turkey, and pork, daily is important for our protein intake. While cutting out or saving red meats for once in a while is fine. For social responsibility and economic reasons, some people want to cut out all meats completely from their daily diets, saving animal protein for once in a while or not at all. What holds a handful of these people back from taking that plunge? The belief that we need a daily dose of animal protein.

 
Protein is important. It acts as the building blocks for nearly every cell in our bodies, and a lack of protein results in nutritional disorders. We also know the quality of protein matters- for example red meat and bacon is loaded with protein, but also delivers more saturated fat, than say chicken. Also animal protein differs from vegetable protein in that animal protein can deliver specific amino acids which protein-rich vegetables can’t.

The Institute of Medicine recommends 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight- for a 170 pound person thats about a 2.4 ounce serving of protein daily. Most Americans eat far more protein than that daily.

 
If you want to take this notion a step further and eat a mostly vegetarian diet, go ahead. In his book, “The Blue Zones Solution,” Dan Buettner researched areas all over the world with the highest percentages of centenarians. He found these populations maintain mostly whole plant diets, receiving the highest percentage of protein from soy, beans, and nuts. Most members, the ones with the highest longevities, do sporadically enjoy animal protein in the form of fish, goat, or lamb- by sporadically I mean monthly. Bottom line, if you want to cut back on animal protein whether to save money, for health reasons, social responsibility, or whatever reason, feel free to do so without worrying about health implications.