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Students try healthy eating trends for 2018

Claire Dwyer

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As the new year begins, many students want to start it by eating healthier. From going vegan to cutting out added sugars, many new trends in food have greatly impacted diets and lifestyles.

Sophomore Gracie Forsythe wanted to switch to a plant based diet after learning about animal cruelty and the health benefits of a plant based diet. “I’ve been vegetarian for about one year and I’ve cut out almost all dairy products and I don’t eat eggs,” Forsythe said.

According to the Harvard Medical School, in the US, there are almost eight million vegetarians (someone who doesn’t eat meat) and two million vegans (someone who doesn’t eat any animal products). Additionally, these plant based diets can be extremely beneficial to a person’s health, “Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.”

However, the absence of important sources of protein can be a challenge for vegans and vegetarians. Harvard Medical School recommends looking into a variety of food sources for protein, “There are many plant sources that can help vegans meet their protein needs, including peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, soy products, and whole grains (for example, wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice).” “I usually get my protein from peanut butter, beans, hummus, and veggies,” Forsythe said.

Overall, going vegan or vegetarian could greatly improve a person’s health. Plant based diets have been shown to decrease the risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. “I would recommend this to people if they are up for the challenge. I wasn’t a big meat eater, but the rest of my family was. We would have meat almost every night. My family did the research themselves and agreed with some of my reasons why I wouldn’t consume any animal products. My family is almost completely plant based, right down to my little sister Gia,” Forsythe said.

Another healthy eating trend that has been picking up steam this year has been cutting out added sugars. According to the American Heart Association, added sugars and syrups are added to foods during production. Soft drinks, candy, and many snack foods are filled with added sugars.

Because many Americans consume more added sugars than they realize, it is important that students limit how many they eat a day. “For the month of February, I won’t be eating non natural sugars. I was on Facebook and saw a buzzfeed article about a woman who did it for 30 days, and I thought it would be fun to try,” junior Lucy Bornhorst said.

Added sugars have no nutritional value, so it is advised that people don’t waste calories on sugars. Sugars have 4 calories per gram, which means even a little bit of added sugars has a significant impact on a person’s diet. It is recommended that women limit added sugars to 100 calories a day while men limit it to 150 calories a day. Naturally occurring sugars, such as the sugars in fresh fruits and milk, are recommended because they have nutritional value.

“I think it will be beneficial for me because I eat a lot of junk, and hopefully it will help me eat less. As an athlete, like I want to be putting good stuff in my body and not nasty stuff,” Bornhorst said.

Harvard nutritionists recommend eating whole grain carbohydrates, a variety of protein and fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. It is important to avoid foods with trans fat and high amounts of saturated fat for a healthy diet. Additionally, drinking enough water is necessary for a healthy lifestyle.

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Students try healthy eating trends for 2018