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What is The Best Food on the Planet

by Steve Edwards
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to Win!

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 right answer.

Red meatBut 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 food chain.

SpirulinaWhat 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 answer.

You in the overalls, did you say broccoli?

BroccoliMore 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.

Hemp and flaxseedYes, Siri, hemp and flaxseed are great. By the way, I'm impressed that you can stand on your head through an entire class like that.

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.

FishAnd 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 fish.

CarrotsYeah, 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 diet.

BlueberriesYou 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.

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RICHARD DAFTER

I am a full time Beachbody Coach. I motivate and guide close to 2,500 Club members and head a team of 11 Beachbody Coaches who are all committed to helping you reach your goals. Before joining BeachBody, I was a certified personal trainer for more than a dozen years and have been a running coach for over 20 years. Continued...

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