Can All Foods Fit Into a Healthy Diet?

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The American Dietary Association (ADA), and nutrition professor, Suzanne Havala, agree that food variety can help ensure the body receives adequate nutrition. However, while the ADA promotes a “total diet” approach that emphasizes relative nutrition in proportion to adequate exercise, Havala insists that certain foods are, and will always be, better nutritionally than others. Havala attacks the ADA’s “total diet”, claiming they, consciously or subconsciously, support food industries by refusing to disclaim unhealthy foods. Likewise, the ADA criticizes the “good food/bad food” diet approach, claiming its dichotomous view oversimplifies nutrition. The American Dietary Association (ADA) claims that all foods can fit into a healthy diet when they are eaten in moderation and proportion. Although some foods undoubtedly have higher nutritional value than others, “no single food or type of food ensure good health, just as no single food or type of food is necessarily detrimental to health” (1). Nutrients, such as vitamin A, can be toxic in high levels, while “junk food” like dark chocolate can be beneficial if eaten in moderation. The ADA also states that even the title, Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges, clearly shows that there is no magical number, but instead many acceptable values, for daily intake of macronutrients. Suzanne Havala, who is actually an active ADA member, claims the “total diet” approach is too complex for the general public: “’people want specific advice about what they should and should not eat’” (1). She also believes that many Americans will be frustrated by the gradual health changes that will be observed under the “total diet” approach. This frustration could cause many people to quit their modified diet before major health increases can be seen. Havala also criticizes the amount of education needed under the “total diet” approach. She

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