When it comes to diet advice and being healthy there is a lot of information that can be found on the internet. While some of the advice is great, the information can often be confusing, contradicting or even misleading.
This is why we recently decided to get the most reliable advice from the experts themselves.
We reached out to 1,000 Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) on Eatright.org and asked them for health advice.
Here’s what they said:
If you could give someone a single piece of advice to improve their health, what would you tell them?
The majority of health experts had a simple, yet effective answer to this question — eat more leafy non-starchy vegetables. These types of vegetables are generally low calorie, low in sugar and are loaded with healthy nutrients and fiber.
On a balanced, healthy diet, we’re supposed to eat 4-5 cups of fruits and vegetables every single day. However, studies show that only 1 in 10 adults eat the recommended amount.
To make sure you eat enough veggies every day, first make sure you know what 4-5 cups of veggies look like.
One of our health experts had a great tip: “make sure you fill half of your plate every meal and snack with vegetables and/or fruits.”
Juicing is another great way to get in your daily dose of vegetables, which why we believe that everyone should have a decent juicer as part of their kitchen repertoire.
What is your “superfood” of choice? Why?
The first thing we should mention is that our health experts didn’t really like the word “superfoods”. They believe in a balanced diet with lots of whole foods and don’t want us to focus too much on these magical fruits and vegetables.
With that said, there are a couple of greens superfoods that are extra nutritious and can be a great addition to your healthy diet:
Did you know avocados are classified as a fruit? These guys are nutrient-rich and full of healthy fats. Avocados can easily be worked into your diet as guacamole or even just avocado oil.
These ancient seeds are surprisingly low in calories if you look at the amount of nutrients they pack. They are packed with protein, fiber, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
You can simply add them to your smoothies or make a delicious chia seed pudding.
Is there a food (or food group) that you would recommend completely removing from a healthy diet?
Generally speaking, our health experts did not recommend eliminating entire food groups. They believe that a balanced diet is the best diet.
They do believe that you should listen to your body and eliminate those foods that seem to have a negative effect on your well-being. For example, if you’re lactose intolerant, you’ll want to dairy out of your diet.
There were two other foods that were mentioned that some experts would recommend completely eliminating from your diet — added sugars and processed foods.
Both add unnecessary calories and chemicals to the foods we eat. Unfortunately, they are added to so many food items that you’re guaranteed to have them in your pantry.
If you want to cut them out of your diet, pay close attention to your food’s nutrition facts label. Stay away from items that have too many “Added Sugars” listed or any ingredients that you can’t pronounce (as they typically tend to be chemicals).
What is something you (would) teach your kids about nutrition?
While kids should enjoy their childhood (and their candy), it’s important to teach them about nutrition and healthy habits early on. So we wanted to know what the experts are teaching their kids to set them up for a healthy lifestyle.
One way to ensure our kids are eating a balanced diet is to teach them to “eat the rainbow”. Having color on their plate will ensure they get a good balance of vegetables, fruits, meats and, of course, some sweets. Just like their parents, balance and moderation are key.
In addition to a balanced diet, our experts encourage their kids to get lots of exercise each day. More and more kids spent hours in front of screens so it’s important to encourage an active lifestyle early on.
Would you recommend any of the following [popular] diets?
We compiled a list of the most popular diets and asked our experts if they would recommend any of them (they could recommend as many as they liked).
The results are very eye-opening. Here’s what our experts voted on the list of diets:
Paleo – 9%
Whole30 – 9%
Other 65% (DASH)
Similar to previous diets, most health experts don’t recommend diets that cut out entire food groups. Again, they recommend a balanced diet with lots of vegetables and very little added sugars and processed foods. The Mediterranean diet, which was recommended by 79% of our health experts, resembles that diet.
Based on our experts’ opinion, there really is no silver bullet when comes to living a healthy lifestyle. It is all about balance, moderation, and patience.
We’re better off making small adjustments to our lifestyle (like cutting out sugars) over time than jumping on a fad diet for 30 days.
While no food in moderation necessarily leads to an unhealthy lifestyle, our experts recommend to lots and lots of veggies as these are low-calorie and rich in nutrients.
That, along with exercise and a long-term approach will make sure you are living healthier for the years to come.