Dr. Mark Hyman is one of Thrive Market’s go-to experts on healthy living, and his new book, Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? is here to help make this age-old question easier to answer. Each chapter tests your nutrition IQ (don’t worry, it’s fun!) and uses the latest science to break down myths about the best ways to fill your plate.
If you’ve ever been frustrated by conflicting advice about how to chow down, you’re not alone, and there are valid reasons to be confused. As Dr. Hyman explains, nutrition research is inherently difficult to conduct. In an ideal world, scientists would feed two groups of people two different diets and study them over the course of 30 years. Since controlled environments are nearly impossible to achieve, it doesn’t make results as definitive as we’d like. The solution? “Weigh all the evidence from basic science, population studies, and controlled experiments and combine it with a pinch of evolutionary common sense.”
His findings help connect the dots between the food on our plate and our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. “Food is not just calories; it’s medicine,” he writes. “And most of us don’t realize how quickly our health would bounce back if only we thought of it this way.”
If you’re ready to take control of what you eat, here’s a preview of some of the fun facts you’ll learn inside!
“Orange juice is essentially soda with some vitamins,” Dr. Hyman explains. Here’s why: Juice delivers all the natural sugar (or fructose) from fruit, but it’s stripped of a critical nutrient—fiber. “Because of its powerful ability to stimulate fat production, fructose has a direct impact on your waistline,” he says. Chalk it up to the fact that fructose is mostly processed in the liver, which is then metabolized into fat. There are benefits, however, in ingesting fructose alongside soluble fiber, like what you’ll find in nectarines and apples.
This tender green is actually part of the cruciferous vegetable family, so it’s more closely related to broccoli than an iceberg wedge. Who knew? Arugula also boasts nutrients like calcium and phytochemicals which may encourage detoxification.
Loyal to egg white omelettes? You’re missing out on minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fats from the yolks! Since the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines report found no link between heart disease and dietary cholesterol, Dr. Hyman recommends eating the whole egg as nature intended. Try serving them hard-boiled—on an arugula salad, perhaps.
When it comes to weight gain, our fat-storage hormone insulin runs the show. Because low-fat diets often result in high-carb eating, it won’t do your waistline any favors. A 2012 study revealed that fat speeds up your metabolism and burns body fat, while carbs slow it down and promote weight gain. In Eat Fat, Get Thin, Dr. Hyman notes that fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks, and the average person is made up of between 15 and 30 percent fat! In short, it’s an important part of any diet, and healthier options like coconut oil and avocados can deliver benefits.
Dr. Hyman doesn’t just tell you what to eat, he creates yummy recipes to enjoy, too! Here are a few from breakfast to dessert.
Go Mediterranean with a scramble that’s big on flavor—fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and basil—but will also satisfy your morning hunger.
New to kelp? It’s a brown Japanese seaweed that makes a great alternative to rice and wheat noodles.
With a four-hour cook time (that’s mostly hands off, BTW), bookmark this for a weekend and you’ll be treated to tender, succulent short ribs drenched in a sauce seasoned with mustard, balsamic vinegar, and garlic.
Here’s a sweet ending that’s vibrant in color and completely dairy-free. Bonus: It only takes minutes to make and keeps a luscious mouthfeel thanks to coconut cream.
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