Just another day, just another five nutrition myths that need to die.
Welcome to my life!
I see the myths below circulating on social media all the time, and they honestly drive me nuts.
Half-Truth: For health and longevity, we should be eating the way our grandparents ate.
This is called the ‘nostalgia fallacy.’ Meaning, when people refer to a past era that they believe to be better than the present (but actually wasn’t).
I’m going to assume that people who perpetuate this myth believe that everyone’s grandparents, or at least ancestors in the 20th century, ate mostly whole foods, and very few ultra-processed ones.
This is true – according to this 2022 study, in 1800, ultra-processed foods made up less than 5% of the American diet. Even in 1900, that number was likely very low. In 2019, it was at over 60%.
While I fully support that way of eating, it’s important to understand that convenience foods have made life easier for a heck of a lot of people – including me.
While I don’t recommend a diet that’s made up solely of ultra-processed foods, there’s nothing wrong with consuming them. There’s also nothing wrong with processed foods, which include pasteurized milk, hummus, pasta, and canned….anything. Hey, our grandparents ‘processed’ their food, too!
Convenience foods were popularized during the 70s and 80s, because for the first time ever, women were spending less time in the kitchen, and more time in the workplace. Convenience foods have made our lives a lot easier. And while many of them are ultra-processed, this doesn’t mean we should never eat them.
If you’re looking to the early 20th century as an example of how things ‘should’ be, here’s a few things to know about life then versus life now:
First of all, people were more active back then. They moved a whole lot more, and this makes a difference in overall health. Even so, the life expectancy was lower. This may not have been completely food-related, but it most certainly is a health thing. We had fewer treatments for diseases, and we didn’t understand the…