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Level Up: What is ‘healthy’?


What is “healthy” when it comes to eating?  After all, the airwaves are inundated with advertisers touting their products as “healthy”.  But are they?

One of the biggest problems regarding health is that it’s really kind of confusing.  After all, this week we’re told that eggs are a great source of protein and you should eat them, and then next week we’ll be told that they’re links to diphtheria in camels and we should avoid them like an Ebola patient with a cold during allergy season.

How on Earth is the average person supposed to keep up?

The truth is that “healthy” is relative to how you view health.  You see, when someone touts “heart healthy” whole grains, they’re not lying to you.  They honestly believe those whole grains are healthy and are good for cardiac health.  However, they’re not taking into account that, in an effort to be “heart healthy”, someone may consume far too many of those whole grains and become obese.  Obesity isn’t exactly good for your heart either.

Smoothies are often thought of as a healthy treat.  Parents who typically worry about what their kids consume will allow them to hit the smoothie stand with reckless abandon.  And really, why not?  They’re only kids once, right?

However, those parents often take part themselves, because they’re healthy treats.  Or are they?

Smoothies are loaded with vitamins, the exact quantities depending on the fruit used, and vitamins are good for you.  Unfortunately, the 296 calories in a 12 ounce smoothie (which is the same amount as a can of soda and is relatively small for a smoothie) ain’t.  Neither are the 62 grams of carbohydrates when you consider that it’s often consumed without any regard to the rest of what you’ve eaten.

I love me some fruit.  Pineapple with bacon and eggs is one of my favorite breakfasts ever.  However, fruit is loaded with sugars.  Sure, it’s different than sodas, but depending on what you’re dealing with, they might cause more problems than they’d solve.  After all, you can take a multivitamin to replace the vitamins you miss out on, but can you purge the sugars?

You may be starting to see part of the problem.

You see, for many people, fruit is just fine.  Especially when eaten in moderation.  However, because they’re considered “healthy”, they’re treated like free foods and consumed without thought.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Many people want to eat healthy.  They want it with all their hearts.  Unfortunately, they just don’t know what to do, and the media hasn’t exactly been helpful.  Neither has the government.  It’s up to us to understand our health, what constitutes healthy for us, and work toward those goals.

Research is important, and it’s beyond a simple column to really tell you what you should do.  Especially when I’m not an expert.  I’m a guy who has an interest in this sort of thing, but I don’t have access to the latest peer reviewed work.  I’m thinking about conducting some of my own studies, though I’m not a scientist, but I’m not ready for that just yet.

It’s up to you, however, to understand your goals and how to achieve them.  Knowledge is the primary tool you need, and it’s also the reason so many diet programs fail.

Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig both have helped a ton of people lose weight.  So have a ton of similar programs.  They make the process easy.  Rather than worry about all the nutritional value, you either eat the food they give you or you follow a point system.

But what happens when you stop forking out the money and you’re on your own.

Without the knowledge of what to do and why, you’re going to slide right back to where you were, if not worse.  So, arm thyself with the spear of knowledge and stuff.  Your body, your heart, and your family will thank you.

Now for some shameless self promotion.

If you like what you see here, come and check out The Badass Forge, where we take this kind of stuff and add to it on a daily basis.  Plus, how to become various characters from geek fiction.  What more can you want?


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