Nutrition guides change as frequently as Irish weather. Eggs are bad for you one month, then good for you the next. Chocolate, coffee, and even assorted fruits and vegetables have been victims of this see-saw guidance.
A number of years ago, a mechanism was introduced to help people choose the right amount of food per category on a daily basis. The food pyramid continues to be revised in an effort to improve eating habits. While it may provide a simplistic guideline, I can pretty well guarantee that a Sumo wrestler and a super model are not eating off the same pyramid.
So we start to get the message, eat more fruits and vegetables. However, as soon as you start to feel comfortable on that bandwagon, the rules get fuzzy again. You can’t eat just any vegetables; you need to limit the high carbohydrate varieties like corn, peas, and carrots. Of course some argue that corn is a grain not a vegetable and peas are a legume and belong on the protein side. However, peas still appear in the veggie section of many versions of the current pyramid. Corn is a grayer area, only appearing on some versions as a vegetable and not at all in others.
Fruit is another place where you can’t seem to win. Fruit juice isn’t as good as the real thing, so limits or even avoidance are advised. That’s all well and good; however, have you ever tried to swallow a vitamin or other solid medication with a slice of apple or orange versus their liquid equivalent. Water may serve the same purpose for some people, but others find those pills, pardon the pun, ‘a little too hard to swallow’ with plain water. What about children? Now, giving little children juice is suddenly bad; as bad as a soft drink with too much sugar.
Looking for a healthy snack; something small, easy to carry around? How about a box of raisins? As a bonus, it’s a fruit, so you can cross another serving off the list, right? Not so fast. Despite or maybe because of their compact nature, raisins are high in carbohydrates and sugar, natural sugar, but sugar none the less.
With the changeable nature of these guidelines, coupled with increasingly busy lifestyles, it’s no wonder people give up, throw their hands in the air and declare, ‘let them eat cake!’ Who knows, maybe cake will appear on the “good” list one day. In the mean time, you may want to consider this guideline: moderation, and a little common sense, goes a long way.