That if you have to cut the sugar and salt, that if you have to reduce red meat, that if there are good fats and other diabolical ones, that there is no better diet than the Mediterranean and that the ultra-processed ones, nor smell them … And so on. long etcetera. You know the theory of how to wear one feeding healthy to the core. But what about practice? The time has come to test if you eat as well as you think.
The Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies in Food of the Community of Madrid (Imdea-Alimentation) has launched a survey for World Food Day with the aim of giving personalized results to its participants about their nutritional habits. The questionnaire is part of the study NutriMDEA, which seeks to categorize the population according to their nutritional habits. The objective is to give guidelines to improve the way we eat, but not in general, but personalized for each participant. “It is what is called precision nutrition and consists of guiding the feeding according to the characteristics and conditions of each one”, Explains Alfredo Martínez, Professor of Nutrition and researcher at Imdea.
The survey contains general questions about the respondent, about their habits, their perception of health and their diet. In this last part, questions such as Do you use olive oil as your main cooking fat? If this were a board game, anyone who answered negatively to this question would be automatically eliminated. “This food is key in the diet due to the nutrients it provides, including polyphenols, which make it particularly beneficial because they favor disease prevention and prevent oxidation ”, says the expert. Does this mean that we can drink the bottle of EVOO? Not so fast.
Next question: How much do you consume per day? The one you use to cook counts here, the one you add to salads … The options? From none to more than seven tablespoons. “It depends on the complexion of the person, but It should be at least two to three a day, and a maximum of five to six. After seven it is considered that it can contribute to obesity “, clarifies the expert. And it is that we must not forget that, no matter how good it is, olive oil is still a fatty food.
Speaking of good fats, don’t forget about nuts. How many times do you consume them a week? ask the survey. Martínez points out that “the ideal is to do it every day because, although it is a food with a high energy content, they are rich in healthy fats ”. In fact, although they are highly caloric, they are not as fat as previously thought, and can even help you lose weight. It is not clear why, but experts have several hypotheses. One is that they fill us up so much that we eat less crap. Another is that those who consume them are people who tend to follow a healthy diet. On the recommended daily amount, the expert establishes “a portion of between 20 and 30 grams”.
Another on fat. How many servings of butter, margarine or cream do you consume per day? Here the correct thing is to answer the opposite to the question about olive oil: “It is about saturated and short-chain fats, which cause atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries. That is to say, the completely opposite effect to that of olive oil, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health. “But before demonizing these foods, listen:” It is not a question of never taking them, but of not taking them frequently. The same thing happens with the pastries or soft drinks [que tienen sus respectivas preguntas en la encuesta], nothing happens if you take one from time to time, what you have to avoid is doing it every day ”.
In the same bag of “foods for now and then” come red meats, processed meats and sausages. “Eating meat provides nutrients such as iron and vitamin B12, but we know that excessive consumption is not good. You have to moderate it and alternate it with fish and legumes. “According to the WHO recommendations, the limit should be 500 grams per week, but nutrition experts always recommend opting for those less fats such as those that come from birds.
We leave the part of the food of the animal world to go to the vegetable. How many servings of vegetables do you consume per day? What about fruits? “These questions are important because these are foods that have a triple interest. First, because they are low in energy, that is, they do not provide many calories. In addition, they contain between 25 and 30 grams of fiber that we need per day. And finally, they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidant elements ”, the expert clarifies. It is clear. But, in what quantities should you consume them? “Between three and five servings each day”. And if it’s more than vegetables, can you avoid fruit? “Both are recommended so that the contribution of nutrients is greater and of a broader spectrum,” he adds.
By the way, as one of the rations of fruit and vegetables of the day is worth “a plate of ratatouille of about 20 or 30 grams”says Martinez. And whoever says pisto says a vegetable sauce. This hallmark of our diet could not be missing from the questionnaire. “It has been one of the questions that has generated the most debate for the experts, because it is an indirect measure of vegetable consumption”, says the researcher. But it has finally entered. And is that, what does a sofrito have? “Onion, garlic, tomato, olive oil … All of them are foods very rich in nutrients and beneficial for our health,” says the expert. And this is why science has ruled that it is the key to explaining the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
After so much explanation, let’s take action. In this link you will be able to complete the Imdea survey and obtain your personalized report, which is what it is about, the expert recalls: “What we seek is to promote personalized nutrition, since each person needs an individual diet that takes into account both their genetic components like your habits, customs, the physical activity you do, the allergies you have … “That’s for starters.