There is plenty of dietary advice out there – and lots of supplements that supposedly improve your health.
But only a very small number of these recommendations are based on high-quality research. So a lot of the advice can be ignored.
If you want to change your eating habits, it’s best to follow recommendations that are based on solid scientific evidence. Most experts agree that people shouldn’t eat or drink too much of the following:
- Foods containing a large amount of saturated and trans fatty acids
- Foods and drinks that are particularly high in sugar
- Heavily processed foods
There are various reasons for these recommendations. The most important thing is to keep an eye on your calorie intake. Eating and drinking products that contain sugar or are heavily processed can increase the long-term risk of becoming overweight. In addition, saturated fats and trans fatty acids are more likely than other fats to have a negative effect on cholesterol. Too much salt can make your blood pressure go up.
There's usually no need to completely cut out the things you like to eat. But there are good reasons to make sure you only eat unhealthy things occasionally and in moderation – and then really enjoy them! And, anyway, it's often difficult to be very strict about what you eat.
Many people overestimate the effect their diet has on their cholesterol. In fact, 90% of our cholesterol is produced inside the body and only about 10% comes from our food. So eating habits only have a limited effect on cholesterol levels.
It is sometimes claimed that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol (red wine, for example) is good for the heart, but there is no proof of this. On the contrary, alcohol is more likely to increase the risk of heart disease.