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Myth: Scientists created the healthiest meal ever

TRUTH:  As you may have seen in the headlines this week, scientists at Leatherhead Food Research (an independent research company in the U.K.) have spent countless hours examining food manufacturer’s health claims, narrowed them down to those claims that were scientifically valid, and created a menu of the “healthiest food ever.”  Some examples of menu items are:

  • Mixed leaf salad with virgin olive oil (for cholesterol)
  • Smoked salmon terrine (backed with Omega 3’s and DHA)
  • Chicken casserole with lentils and mixed vegetables

Don’t get me wrong, those sound like delicious items that scream “healthy” when prepared a certain way but here’s my problem with this menu:

  1. It suggests that other dishes aren’t as healthy as the dishes listed (i.e. that other salmon dishes aren’t quite as healthy)
  2. It assumes that we know everything, about all nutrients, in all foods.   I consider that presumptuous and arrogant.

Though a there are clear health benefits of hundreds of foods in every food group, we aren’t positive that these are the healthiest foods.  And, who’s to say that smoked salmon terrine is any healthier than a smoked salmon dish with a low fat yogurt tzatziki?!

Another recommendation: pure spring water to prevent dehydration.  Really?  Did you need a research group to tell you that you need water to stay hydrated?  Anyway, as I’ve said in the past, extreme claims that use words like “ever” or “never” should be taken with a grain of salt.

BOTTOM LINE:  You’re familiar with many health claims made about specific ingredients.  You know which foods to choose more of and less of; you know which are touted by the media as “superfoods” and you know that eating fruits and vegetables is better than processed foods.

I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you that my recipes are any better than those that you create – because they’re not (necessarily).  It’s obvious to me that the healthiest menu ever would include a variety of healthy foods prepared in a healthy way.

Plus, these researchers don’t even mention local, organic, or ethically grown (or raised) foods.  That makes the claim “healthiest meal ever” just a little more bogus.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. Red Orbit: Scientists Create Healthiest Menu Ever 
  2. Tender Grassfed Meat: Debunking the “Healthiest Meal Ever” (a great summary of more of the ‘cons’)

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2 Comments to "Myth: Scientists created the healthiest meal ever"

  1. Mike says:

    Hi Kate, good article. I was searching to find out whether too much smoked salmon is bad for you. Do you have any comments?

    • Kate Gardner says:

      Hey Mike! So sorry this slipped by me – Smoked Salmon is great for you! The smoking is a very light cooking method, that doesn’t destroy any nutrients. Wild smoked salmon (over farmed salmon) will have a greater omega-3 content.

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