We’re bombarded with nutritional information. But beyond some general rules, most people haven’t been taught what all the information means. And even the general rules can be very misleading, based on decades of seemingly wilful misunderstanding on the part of the food industry.
Not even doctors are routinely taught about nutrition. So what chance does the average person have of understanding what all those vitamins, minerals and low-fat/salt/sugar messages mean?
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From the tone of recent media coverage you would be forgiven for thinking that the highly publicised EAT-Lancet Commission's 'flexitarian' recommendations constituted official public health dietary guidelines.
In reality, they are simply the opinions of the academic researchers involved, along with those of some of the food companies working with the EAT Foundation.
Eat-Lancet’s dietary recommendations will supposedly save the world while keeping is all super-healthy. According to several well-informed critiques that have already appeared, which explain and reference in detail the actual scientific evidence, the largely vegan/vegetarian diet recommended by the EAT-Lancet consortium would be likely to do exactly the opposite.
Calls to eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds are not controversial, as there is a general consensus that these foods are seriously lacking from the typical modern, western-type diet.
But animal-derived foods (i.e. fish, meat, eggs and dairy products) are the richest sources of all essential nutrients. It therefore follows that any diet that excludes these foods (or absolutely minimises them, as the 'EAT' diet does) will make it more difficult to obtain adequate intakes.