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The 13 Biggest Nutrition Discoveries of 2016.

The year in review: nutrition edition

The truth about nutrition is always in flux. One day coffee is a carcinogen, the next it’s a potent antioxidant. Carbs used to be the devil, now (the right kinds) are the staple of a well-balanced diet.

What’s healthy seems to change regularly, and 2016 was no exception, which is why we’re looking back at the biggest nutrition discoveries of the year.

To recap: Remember how we all suffered from serious false hope when butter was said to be healthy? (That is, until another study quickly squashed that dream and confirmed that saturated fats have been and always will be bad for us…sigh). Or that time we gasped when we learned that in addition to being ineffective, dietary supplements may be flat-out fatal? How about the happy dance we did when our nut butter obsession was deemed a-ok?

In case you missed these important health moments, we’ve rounded them up for you. Read on for the Cliff’s Notes versions of the biggest nutrition lessons we learned in 2016.

confirmed-saturated-fat-bad-butter

It’s confirmed: saturated fat really is bad

Butter lovers went bananas when science (momentarily) said saturated fats are healthier than they’ve been made out to be. Update: They aren’t. A second study confirmed that we were actually right all along—and saturated fats are definitely not a superfood. The research, published in The British Medical Journal, found that a reduced intake of saturated fats can lower one’s risk of coronary heart disease, while swapping in unsaturated fats (from good-for-you sources like vegetable-based oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and seafood) actually works to boost heart health. Luckily, topping your toast with avocado instead of butter isn’t the worst sacrifice (and we have the delicious avocado toast recipes to prove it).

some-fats-slim-olive-oil

(Some) fats keep you slim

Research from the University of Barcelona in Spain found that eating the right type of fat could help keep you at a healthy weight. The study, which looked at more than 7,400 men and women with type 2 diabetes or high heart risk, assigned participants to three different eating plans: one group ate a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, another ate a Mediterranean diet rich in nuts, and a third ate a low-fat diet that skipped dietary fats altogether. The outcome? The olive oil eaters lost the most weight over the course of the five-year study, even more than those who followed the low-fat diet. So go ahead and eat (good) fat to get skinny.

japanese-diet-advised-sushi

A Japanese diet is advised

That all-you-can eat sushi buffet sounds like a pretty good idea right now. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that Japanese people who closely followed their national food guidelines—lots of rice, veggies, fish, meat, and soybean products—had a 15% lower mortality rate than their peers who didn’t adhere as strictly to the classic Japanese diet.

pulses-keep-pounds-off-lentils

Pulses keep pounds off

Without making any other efforts to slim down, people who added three-quarters of a cup of pulses (think: peas, lentils, chickpeas or beans) to their diet every day for six weeks lost .75 pounds, according to a review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition this year. Eat beans, lose weight, repeat. Try these bean recipes to get started.

carbs-linked-cancer-bread

Carbs could be linked to some cancers

You don’t have to go cold turkey on carbs, but do know this: A recent study found that a diet high on the glycemic index—that is, one that’s full of refined carbohydrates that cause blood sugar levels to spike—may be associated with a greater risk of lung cancer, even among non-smokers. The good news is that you’d need to eat a lot of the stuff to put yourself in danger, said Health’s contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, RD, in a previous interview: “The reality is that no, eating one bagel isn’t as bad for you as smoking a cigarette. However, having one for breakfast several days a week is not a great idea for a number of nutritional reasons.” To protect yourself against lung cancer and other chronic diseases linked to dietary choices (like type 2 diabetes and heart disease), Sass recommends opting for healthier carb sources, like pulses, starchy veggies, and whole grains instead.

Source: The 13 Biggest Nutrition Discoveries of 2016 – Health.com

The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Protein Sources– ThriveCuisine.com

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