“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”:

Every time a story comes up about the details of what is and isn’t healthy for you, I come back to this article. Eating 80% healthily isn’t insanely hard, but trying to nail down the details of the last mysterious and often contradictory 20% always seems a mess.

From the article:

That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy. I hate to give away the game right here at the beginning of a long essay, and I confess that I’m tempted to complicate matters in the interest of keeping things going for a few thousand more words. I’ll try to resist but will go ahead and add a couple more details to flesh out the advice.

Like: A little meat won’t kill you, though it’s better approached as a side dish than as a main. And you’re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. That’s what I mean by the recommendation to eat “food.”

Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.

- Max Tatton-Brown

March 5th, 2014