by | Mar 28, 2014 | 16 comments

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7 Interesting Things I Read This Week

I’m shaking things up this week, and sharing “7 Interesting Things I’ve Read This Week” today instead of Sunday.  I’m keeping it nutrition focused for Foodie Friday, and I’m hoping you’ll forgive me from going off schedule since I have a great giveaway coming your way on Sunday!  If you’re into healthy eating, you won’t want to miss this one!  And yes, I will eventually get back to sharing recipes … oops!

7 Interesting (Food-Related) Things I Read This Week

  1. Athletes to CEOs using the Alcat Food Intolerance Test.  I shared my experience with food intolerance testing and why I chose Alcat for testing (and for my clients).  But I’ve never been so sure of my decision as I was when I read this article … Dirk Nowitzki uses the test as well!  So do David Ortiz, Carson Palmer, and Steve Nash.  (Of course, I’m somewhat kidding, and wouldn’t decide to use the test just because a celebrity does, but if you know how much I love the Mavericks, you know this excites me!) food modification
  2. Do you really need vegetables to be healthy?  If you’ve never heard of Mark Sisson, he’s a smart guy, and an outspoken, popular leader of the “primal” diet (which is similar in many ways to the “paleo” diet).  Both of these popular ways of eating are often interpreted as promoting a very meat-heavy diet, and eliminating almost everything else.  That’s why I was thrilled to see Mark tell his followers that yes, you DO still need to focus on vegetables to be healthy, whether you’re “primal” or “paleo” or anything else! Steak
  3. Sorting out the benefits and risks of eating fish.  People ask me very frequently whether they should be worried about the mercury content in fish.  My answer is always that the benefits far outweigh the risks in almost all cases (you should consult your doctor if you’re pregnant, although this article still says that the benefits outweigh the risks).  I personally don’t worry about mercury, as I rarely eat the “most dangerous” fish anyway (swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish).  This article recommends limiting your tuna to 12 ounces (3 standard tins) of light tuna per week, so if you eat tuna very frequently, it’s worth considering the risks. fish
  4. Study questions fat and heart disease link.  For so long, we’ve heard that unsaturated fat is healthy, saturated fat is bad, and trans fat is really bad … but several pieces of recent research are starting to show that saturated fat may not be as bad for us as once thought.  I think this article elucidates the current thinking clearly, and I love Dr. Frank Hu’s point that studying various macronutrients in isolation is misleading (because if you make people reduce their saturated fat for a study and that’s all you monitor, they may very well replace the calories with refined sugars or other unhealthy items).  In my opinion, here’s our best bet: continue to limit (or better yet, avoid) trans fats; don’t cut out all saturated fats, but still keep them in moderation; continue eating heart-healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts; try to get your nutrients from real foods when possible. burger
  5. Do these 10 things in your kitchen to get healthier.  Yes, the article is written as tips for weight loss, but I actually practice almost all of these tips and believe they’re great for maintaining overall health, not just losing weight! precut veggies
  6. The winner is real food.  I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ll keep including great articles like this because I love them.  A diet heavy in plant-based foods always shows health benefits, and there is NO one single diet that is best for everyone.  Such a simple message, but one I will continue to follow! eat food mostly plants not too much(picture source)
  7. Is obesity a socially transmitted disease?  If you generally try to eat healthily, you’ve probably experienced some difficulty keeping up your willpower when you’re in a crowd of people eating more indulgently.  This review from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shows that you’ve known the truth all along!  Participants were more likely to choose meals similar to what their peers chose, because conforming to “eating norms” may be an attempt to reinforce identity with the group.  My advice for this is to always order first if you’re worried you may change your order due to “peer pressure.”social norms and food

(All pictures are sourced from the articles linked in the titles, except #6, which is separately sourced.)

So tell me in the comments … Do you think your food choices mimic the group around you when you’re out to eat?  Does constantly evolving nutrition research fascinate or frustrate you?  Tell me one reason why you’re looking forward to the weekend!


  1. Michael Anderson

    Another great bunch of reads. I have seen most of it (as you noted we read many of the same things) … but I love your juxtaposition of the topics!

    It is funny that a couple of months ago I’d never heard of Alcat now it is all over the place.

    As for social eating – I think it is DEFINITELY true! Even with my own family we will shift eating around events or things like that, and I will end up with pancakes or waffles, thing I would never eat on my own. And for people not as vigilent I see it even moreso.

    With food research I am always skeptical. Basically anything that suggests something other than a natural whole food omnivore diet makes me sniff around for the money trail. There are allergies and intolerances, but there are also profiteers and people looking to rationalize disordered eating. My concern is always those who seek to do bizarre things and find a study or anecdote to support it …

    I mean, last week I had someone suggesting to me that using supplements INSTEAD OF eating is somehow a good idea … my personal thought is that person has a friend named ‘ED’ 😉

    • Megan Lyons

      I agree with your skepticism. Most of the time, when you see a study with a bizarre conclusion like the type you reference, you can find some flaw with the study (n=5, or the rest of the diet besides the item they’re testing for was super unhealthy, or something like that). It’s part of the blessing and the curse of having so much information at our fingertips!

  2. Em @ Love A Latte

    Great articles! I really like the eat real food and mostly plants because I totally agree with that! I think it’s great all the evolving nutritional research out there. I don’t like the fad diets out there that leave people actually unhealthier in the end (even if skinnier), but I guess those will never go away. Have a great weekend!

    • Megan Lyons

      I agree, Em – they’ll never go away because people will ALWAYS want a “magic bullet” or a “quick fix.” Unfortunately, it just doesn’t exist, and eating healthy food and working out will always be harder, but it’s definitely worth it!

  3. Davida @ The Healthy Maven

    I really like your perspective on the heart-disease and fat article. All we know right now is that the data is inconclusive either way so it’s best to consume in moderation. It totally irks me when people tell me they’re on a fat-free diet in the same way that you don’t even want to get me started on the paleo movement. What happened to a little bit of everything?!

    • Megan Lyons

      I agree with you on a little bit of everything! It’s hard to understand when there are so many conflicting studies out there, but in the end, I think the best research comes down to moderation :).

  4. Becky@TheSavedRunner

    The always changing nutrition research totally interests me! I would seriously love to go back to school for nutrition because it interests me that much! So I just found out you are from Dallas and a huge Mavs fan?? I like you even more! I am a fellow Mavs fan, and I always have been! 🙂 Oh and my husband and I are still trying to figure out what we want to do to figure out my food issues.

    • Megan Lyons

      I hope you do get to go back to school for nutrition someday, if that’s what you’re passionate about, Becky! And YES – I’m in Dallas (grew up here, then moved away for 10 years, and just moved back 2 years ago). Are you in Dallas, too? GO MAVS … they’re kind of stressing me out lately, teetering on the edge of the playoffs … we need to hold on just a bit and stop giving up games in the last 5 minutes!

  5. Arman @ thebigmansworld

    I honestly love your link collections you round up because they are SO VARIED and not focused on one style of eating, exercise- and (this is said in the most complementary way!) being one of my ‘nerdier’ blends, I really appreciate your insight!I used to feel my food choices would mimic others when we were out, purely out of judgement, but learnt to stop thinking of others over my own wants.

    • Megan Lyons

      I embrace the nerdiness!!! 🙂 I do realize that some people get frustrated by the constantly changing nutrition topics and conflicting research, but I find it so fascinating. Most of the time, the conflicting research ends up re-confirming my belief in moderation of everything!

  6. Cori @ she's going the distance

    I love reading new information about the foods we eat. It just always seems to boil down to the same thing things… mostly whole foods, everything else in moderation!

    and yes used to mimic the foods when out in a group. French fries!? SURE, now i try and set the standard of eating healthier, and i might steal a couple fries from someone else hehe

    • Megan Lyons

      Love your strategy, Cori. I’m a very good french-fry stealer (especially if they are sweet potato fries!). Good to give yourself a bit of leniency, and better than eating a whole basket yourself :).

  7. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    PHENOMENAL LINK UP!!!! You and I are so like-minded 🙂 I am going to check out all of these articles, def already saw the Mark article. Of course veggies are still paramount, but sometimes you CAN eat too many – AKA: I can for sure, and they KILL my stomach 🙁

    • Megan Lyons

      Thanks, Gigi! YAY for veggies … they really never bother my stomach unless I eat too many RAW veggies, but it’s good to know what works for you!

  8. Carina

    Ugh, my husband eats about a can of tuna per day! He’s not a vegetarian and I do most of the cooking (and I am morally opposed to purchasing or cooking animals), so tuna is usually his addition of choice to a meal I make and easy for him to buy at the store. He also sometimes buys cooked chicken breasts from Central Market, but causing the death of chickens strikes me as worse than tuna, so I’ve never discouraged the tuna, but it’s a good point about the mercury. Maybe he should just enjoy what I make and stop with the pesky dead animal additions altogether! 😉

    • Megan Lyons

      This is a tough one, Carina! Is he just a meat lover, or does he feel that his meals need a little more bulk? Would he be opposed to sometimes adding in some canned beans or tofu? Or could he substitute in some canned salmon on occasion? I know how hard it must be for one partner to be a vegetarian and the other to be morally opposed – my older sister is a vegetarian and her husband is a meat-lover! He often adds cooked chicken breasts like you mention, but it sounds like that’s not an ideal solution for you! Hang in there!

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Hi! I'm Megan Lyons,

the voice behind The Lyons’ Share. I love all things health, wellness, and fitness-related, and I hope to share some of my passion with you. Thanks for stopping by!
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