Health and Fitness
What is The Best Food on the Planet
by Steve Edwards
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
As a trainer and nutritionist, you might
imagine I frequently get asked "What's the best thing I can eat?" or "What's
the best food in the world?" It's also the kind of subject that easily makes
its way onto the glossy pages of the assorted magazines you peruse whilst
standing in line at Piggly Wiggly.
And there's always an answer. "One food
that will change you life!" or "Just eat this!" It's so simple, they'd have you
believe. "If you'd only been eating this one thing you'd be slim, healthy, and
look like that supermodel on the cover," or something like that.
So, class, what is it? What is the best
food in the world? Anyone care to answer?
No, Jack, I'm sorry; red meat is not the
But let's look at red meat anyway. After all, most of us
eat a lot of it. Red meat is the best food choice you can make if you were only
given one thing to eat. Therefore, Jack, if you were living as an explorer in
the 19th century, like Lewis and Clark, it certainly would be a superfood. Red
meat has protein, of course, vitamins, and fat. Because you can live on fatty
meat for a long time, it was prized in cultures where there wasn't much an
option of what to eat. Lean meat, which is better for us in the civilized
world, also wouldn't cut it for trappers who would routinely die of "rabbit
death" because their diet didn't have enough fat in it.
In the modern world, we tend to get
plenty of fat, especially the kind you get from meat. Therefore, diets high in
red meat are often linked to heart and other circulatory diseases. Within a
modern diet, red meat should only be a small part of it. And you don't need any
at all, as most of its nutrients are found in foods that don't have the same
downside. So now this ancient superfood should be well down on your personal
What was that, Moonbeam? I couldn't hear you over that
guitar. Oh, spirulina.
Yes, spirulina does have a lot of
nutrients and is considered a "superfood" by many, especially those who wear a
lot of hemp clothing. It's an alga that is very rich in vitamins, has a lot of
protein, and even some good fatty acids. For one food, it's awfully good. Well,
at least nutrient-wise. Eating it is another matter. Its taste is, let's just
say, challenging for many. But even if you can eat it as joyously as a
plecostomus, you're still missing certain vitamins, and amino and fatty acids
that you need to find elsewhere. So, while a great food, it's not the
You in the overalls, did you say
More than any other, broccoli is referred to as the best
food in the world. And it is healthy stuff, for sure. It's loaded with
vitamins, fiber, and even protein and is probably the king of the vegetable
world. But it still lacks fat, and besides, while you can eat a ton of veggies
without gaining an ounce, you can only eat so many before all of their fiber
begins to have the opposite effect you desire on your digestive system. Fiber
is great, to a point. It soaks up cholesterol and keeps you "regular." Too much
and you'll become . . . too regular. A cyclist I know once decided to test just
how much fiber he could consume. The results came while out on a ride and I,
for one, was glad I wasn't following him.
Yes, Siri, hemp and flaxseed are great. By the
way, I'm impressed that you can stand on your head through an entire class like
These seeds are loaded with omega-3 and
other essential fatty acids. They even have protein and vitamins and have been
linked with many assorted health benefits. But, again, they are only a piece of
the puzzle. Like any fat source, they are dense, meaning that you can't just
munch on 'em all day long without getting too many calories.
speaking of fatty acids, fish is loaded with two very important ones, DHA and
EPA, and even more protein. A superfood to a degree, it has a huge downside.
We've polluted our oceans and waterways to the point the many of the things
fish eat are toxic. As we rise up the food chain, we get fish that have more
protein, more fatty acids, and more and more toxins. Whales and dolphins, two
animals that eat fish for nearly 100% of their diets, have such high levels of
toxins in their fatty tissues that these living animals exceed superfund
clean-up standards. An altogether different problem addresses what we should do
about this but sticking to the subject, I recommend that you don't eat too much
Yeah, Bugs, I know you think carrots are the be-all-end-all
of nutrition. And they're not bad. Loaded with carbohydrates, vitamins, and
fiber, it's easy to see how you could outsmart Elmer Fudd all day, since he
looks like he's been feasting on mom's apple pie in lieu of rabbit. But, still,
carrots are a great energy snack but lack the protein and fats to live on
entirely, unless you live in two dimensions.
No, it's the same for blueberries,
Violet. Heaps of antioxidants but they're still just, mainly, a high-glycemic
fruit. A good thing to eat, sure, but not in any way a cornerstone of your
You see, class, I hate to burst your bubble but,
unfortunately, there is no best food on the planet. Your body is a complex
organism. In order to function properly, it needs a variety of ingredients.
This is most likely why we like to eat from so many different sources. We eat
trees, seeds, leaves, fruits, animals, bugs, weeds, etc, etc. And it's not just
for a variety of flavors. Different foods make you feel differently because
they do different things to your body when you eat them.
This, of course, doesn't mean
that one food is as good as another. There are superfoods out there. But
they're all super for one thing. Beachbody's Peak Recovery Formula is a
superfood after a hard workout but would be a terrible food if you weren't
exercising. Spinach was super for Popeye, and can be for you, but would not be
the best choice right before a contest of strength with Bluto. There are
different foods that are super for different circumstances.
As a society, we've learned to eat for
taste. There was a time, however, when we ate for performance, which is
probably how we began learning what we now call the science of nutrition. Added
ingredients in junk foods, like flavorings, have messed up this process and now
we have a hard time distinguishing a food's performance value by taste. We do
things like adding sugar to meat, which creates unnatural cravings. So we now
need to again learn to eat for performance. Once you begin doing this, you'll
retrain your body to crave the right foods for the right circumstances.
Remember that you should eat in
order to fuel your body for what you are going to do. Superfoods are only super
if you eat them at the right time to support the right activity. But perhaps
just knowing this could be the best nutrition rule on the planet, that there is
no best food on the planet.