Eating right can be so hard

It has been a rather eventful month in the world of nutrition.

First, new food labels which reflect modern appetites - in other words, larger serving sizes - were unveiled by United States First Lady Michelle Obama exactly one month ago.

Barely a week later, the venerable World Health Organisation proposed to slash the recommended amount of sugar that adults should consume each day by half, to six teaspoons.

The drastic cut spawned headlines on whether such a feat is achievable for an average person. A can of soft drink could easily bust this daily limit.

Then came fresh findings about fat which jolted long-held beliefs: Saturated fat may not increase the risk of heart disease after all.

This conclusion, published in a medical journal on March 17, was drawn after an exhaustive analysis by an international team of scientists.

This is surprising, to say the least, given that health authorities have, for years, been urging people to swop saturated fat with unsaturated versions.

All these developments seem to add to the confusion of what people should or should not be eating.

Already, there exists plenty of conflicting research. One day, scientists may say that coffee is good for you. The next, you are warned to stay away from the brew.

It is downright impossible to pin down the "perfect" diet. Heck, there probably isn't even one.

Good nutrition alone doesn't guarantee you a healthy and long life. It is part of a complex web of factors.

For example, you may eat like a monk, but bad habits, such as smoking, may throw a spanner in the works.

Or, stress at work could have negated your efforts in healthy living.

What is certain, however, is that food is linked to health. As the saying goes, you are what you eat.

Therefore, even as the nutrition landscape gets muddier, one should still try his darndest to navigate it and find the "right" choices.

chpoon@sph.com.sg


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