We don’t need to be the arbiters here, Heather Bauer, writing in the Huffington Post has done that for us. A couple of interesting ideas show up in her column, and a couple that an RN should know are risible.
Kale is In, Iceberg Lettuce is Out.
Well, iceberg lettuce has been “out” for years. It is pretty tasteless and not particularly nutritious either. Kale is really nutritious and actually does contain some compounds that may be anti-carcinogenic. But it is really bitter and many people think it tastes awful, including us. However, the flavor improves with cooking, and here is a recipe for sautéed kale that is really supposed to be tasty. You can also make kale chips if you can avoid burning them.
High-fiber carbs are In, Low-carb diets are out.
Could be, this doesn’t really seem to be established.
Natural snacks are In, Processed snacks are Out.
Oh come on. This doesn’t mean anything very definitive. She does recommend Good Health Brand peanut butter/pretzel snacks, mainly because they are allegedly “GMO free.” Even if “GMO free” had any actual meaning (and it does not), there are no GMO peanuts on the market, nor any GMO wheat, so most such products would not have any GMO ingredients. The anti-GMO movement is basically just an anti-science movement.
And here is the best one:
Honey is In, Artificial Sweeteners are Out.
The implication is that honey is somehow much healthier than artificial sweeteners? Why? It seems that even though Bauer is both an RN (they do study chemistry!) and a nutritionist (you get a CDN certification on line) she doesn’t know that honey is just sugar! Honey starts out mostly as sugar syrup, but bees secrete an enzyme invertase which breaks the sugar into its component simple sugars: fructose and glucose.
Then, to compound this silliness, she recommends a sort of crystalline form of honey called Nektar Naturals. This bogus product is made of honey and added cane sugar to make it crystallize. You can buy these little packets to carry around in your purse in a box of 40 for $6.99. Each packet contains 3.2 g of crystallized honey, for 12 calories. A teaspoon of ordinary table sugar weighs 4 g, and is 15 calories, so they are roughly equivalent.
So what’s the advantage? Not price! You can buy 100 Domino sugar packets of 4 g each for $2.59.
Oh, and she claims that honey is more healthy because it contains anti-oxidants. Of course, we have no reason to believe these anti-oxidants survive the process of making these sugar crystals, but even if they do, there is little evidence that antioxidants are in any way beneficial, and in fact may be harmful!
Oh, and she mentions that artificial sweeteners contribute to weight gain, citing this 2008 report. We reported in 2011 that this work by Fowler does not establish causation, and Fowler even agreed in an interview with WebMD.
Stick with the kale, if you can face the bitter taste. It has lots of vitamins.