Rise and Fall of 8 So-Called Healthy Foods
How health experts have influenced our love-hate relationship with foods like chocolate, cheese, and more
Keywords Food Studies, Healthy Eating
One day a health expert declares that eggs should be eaten every day to decrease the risk of heart disease, but the next month, a new study emerges with the opposite conclusions. Then, the information flip-flops again. So which is it? It's enough to make a health nut's head spin. Even for the majority of people, it can be difficult to figure out which foods pose the least long-term health risks.
As explained later on, it seems the proper solution to the egg riddle has finally been solved. Maybe. What makes things so challenging are the conflicting studies and research that consumers are exposed to on a seemingly daily basis. While we can all rejoice when we find out our favorite indulgences like coffee or chocolate may in fact be beneficial, how do we know what information to trust? Even more fascinating is the way in which health experts' emerging credos can change the public sentiment towards an entire food group, sometimes with disastrous results for the agricultural or packaged goods industries. Remember the glut of Idaho potato advertisements after the low-carb craze hit the nation?
Because the same questions keep coming up about nutrition, we decided to track the rise and fall of these controversial foods. Is saturated fat good or bad? The jury is still out on that one. How much red meat should or shouldn’t a person be eating? Which study is the most trustworthy with regards to cheese and weight loss, the one funded by the National Dairy Council or the one conducted by Johns Hopkins University? Surely, it’s OK to use taste buds instead of rational minds to solve this conundrum. That’s how science works, right?
Finally, there are foods that seem like they will be health disasters but actually provide tangible health benefits — when consumed in moderation, of course — like chocolate and peanut butter. Perhaps someone should do a study that seeks to figure out if the sublime combination of these two foods is therefore a "superfood" — that would be a research finding we'd all like to read.