Have we forgotten how to eat?

We now live in a world that has more diets out there than ever before. Everything from the Paleo diet, the Hormone diet, to juicing and 10-day diets.

We now live in a world that has more diets out there than ever before. Everything from the Paleo diet, the Hormone diet, to juicing and 10-day diets.

Information about every single nutrient we eat is easily accessible through the Internet and mobile apps, allowing individuals to dissect their foods to the smallest degree.

This has led to labeling and mass marketing in the grocery store for statements such as “low fat,” “high fibre,” “low sodium,” “healthy choice” and “natural.”

There are even supposed “superfoods” that have become ingrained in our minds through heavy promotion to ensure that these foods are being consumed on a regular basis to ensure optimal health.

With all of this nutrition information readily available, you would think we know more about nutrition and the food we eat more than we ever have. So that leaves me with one question:

Why do obesity rates continue to rise every year in our country?

Statistics show that obesity rates in Canada have tripled between 1985 and 2011.

One could argue that we have forgotten the basics of how to eat.

What happened to eating good whole foods in their simplest form and watching the portion size of anything we eat, whether it is a good or bad food?

Have you ever looked at your favourite restaurants nutritional chart for the foods on their menu?

If you have, I bet you were shocked! Horrified about 1,400 calorie salads and 1,700 calorie chicken stir-fry bowls!

This is potentially a person’s entire day’s worth of caloric intake in one meal. However, most people are not aware of the calories they are consuming while eating out and may often think they are making good food choices.

This is due to huge portions and the fact that most restaurants are using highly processed ingredients. Highly processed foods add significant sugar and fat content to items that should not have it; thus, a normally healthy salad becomes a calorie nightmare.

You could make the same meals with a quarter of the calories and fat in the proper portion size, by using fresh ingredients in their wholesome form.

Cooking most of your meals at home is a necessity for getting back to the basics of eating healthy.

Portions, portions, portions! This is the mantra I preach to patients and even myself.

Portion size still matters whether something is a superfood or not.

There are very healthy foods out there that we should eat, but not an unlimited amount of them. For example, avocados are a great source of healthy fats but you do not want to eat three of them at a time!

Cut through all of the marketing red tape out there and save yourself the confusion and continued weight gain.

Get back to the basics and eat good wholesome foods by making most of your meals at home and eat the right amount of them.

One of my favourite books on this topic is In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.

This must-read book addresses our relationship with food and how it can shape the way you approach food and nutrition.

Nutrition is always a vital component to any patient I treat in my office.

Make your health a priority and talk to your naturopathic doctor today about nutrition and how healthy eating habits can help you get back on track and live your best life.

Dr. Shane Johnson ND was born and raised in Red Deer and is the owner of Aspire Natural Medicine. He completed his naturopathic medical training at Bastyr University, and is among only a handful of naturopathic doctors in Alberta to complete an additional one-year residency in family medicine. For more detailed information on naturopathic medicine visit www.aspiremedicine.ca.

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