When it comes to food, nutrition, and eating, your six-pack is not the only thing that should be considered. While some foods can help or hinder weight loss or weight gain, others have additional benefits that while the possibility of having a negative effect on your physique may be good for your general and cognitive health.
Studies are constantly being commissioned for the purpose of discovering the science behind how our bodies react to certain foods and nutrients. What may once have generally been a consensus even a few decades ago has more recently been discovered and proven to be not necessarily say wrong but not completely correct. For example, the argument of fats versus processed sugars. For years the conclusion was that it was fats that were the cause behind obesity problems. However, more recently, the science has pointed in the direction of sugars and excess consumption of sugars being the problem.
At any rate, every so often new factors are brought forward on foods that were previously thought to be harmful, but have more recently been proven to be beneficial and vice versa. When it comes to eating healthy, we often opt for the light and less dense foods which feel like they have minimal calories and fat content, but can often be high in sugars. But they look to us to be the healthier option, say a light pressed juice over a slice of pizza.
I often eat a few slices of hard cheese a day, usually with my breakfast or as a snack at any time of day. I’ve been told many times that cheese can cause bad cholesterol and dairy in general is bad for my immune and digestive system. Health people still find it weird when I tell them I eat cheese. So you can imagine when I find an article on some new studies that seem to prove that cheese isn’t as bad as people think and the fats along with the bacteria contained in certain cheeses can actually be beneficial for the body and our health. (Read the article here)
Thankfully, I don’t have a dairy allergy or sensitivity, so as long as there aren’t any really bad consequences, I will continue to consume cheese and dairy. However, if you do have a dairy sensitivity, these studies won’t be beneficial to you as medically you should probably hold back from consuming it. The arguments of nutrition content and how they may affect ones weight aren’t relevant to your broader health conditions and impact or exclusion of dairy from your diet.
As I’m not really a student of science, some of the expressions go a little over my head and I therefore recommend that you should read the articles for yourself. In the same vain, when I read a summary article as such, I try to follow the studies a bit further for myself and look a bit deeper into the studies sample sizes, conditions, assumptions, and conclusions. An important point is to make sure they are peer reviewed and to look at the reputation of the institution, author, publisher, and those who were involved in the study.
Studies are almost a dime a dozen these days, so it’s important to follow the track as far as possible to see the efficacy of the conclusion before you make a decision for yourself. Personally, I don’t give too much credence to these specific studies just yet as they are new and have yet to be conclusively established on a macro level beyond the scope of the small sample sizes of the study and over a sustained period of time.
Following the studies sited in this article about the cheese, brought me to a study that consuming wine and cheese can be beneficial for our cognitive function and longevity. This is something which is currently dear to me due to certain personal family situations. Not the fact that I do like a bit of wine and cheese, but how it can have a positive impact on our general health as we age. Of course this doesn’t mean drinking excessive wine and consuming masses of cheese on a daily basis. It would mean that including it in moderation into a balanced diet may potentially have a positive impact. You can see this study here.
Almost immediately though, my bias towards enjoying a little bit of wine and cheese started to feel justified. It was like a quick ratification of thought to feel that I can now really have my cheese and eat it too. But in reality, the truth is that even once the studies are fully conclusive and prove certain benefits for our health, I still have to look at my individual physical and fitness health as well as my overall health. Then I have to figure out the balance between them and how I can fit them healthily into my diet.
These days, I don’t usually feel guilt when I eat something that is conventionally unhealthy because I typically have a balanced diet and I do like to enjoy a bit of the unhealthy as well. I’m not too worried about the perfect physique either really. But what these constantly evolving studies and conclusions show is that new factors can often come into play in our health. The question of fitness versus our overall health is what needs consideration as much as how we look at our body image. A nutrient that may have an adverse effect on our fitness goals may actually have a positive effect on other aspects of our health and therefore must be deliberated.
This is why we must look at our own health as individual cases. Even though there is science and studies that show benefits on a more macro level, our individual health and goals are affected differently based on elements such as our individual bodies, blood types, cognitive health. It in fact highlights the importance of seeking guidance from and asking a qualified dietitian about your overall diet because they are the ones who medically study and weigh the benefits or negatives of certain foods and nutrients at an individual level. They can help you on your individual case as to how your individual health will be impacted by what you eat.
I guess the question I would ask and leave you with is would you give up certain fitness based dietary restriction for you cognitive functionality if it lowers your chances of getting a six-pack?