The biggest and most urgent nutritional question of our time – what should I eat? – also has the greatest assortment of confusing and contradictory answers. Fortunately, there is one simple guideline that will help you to make the best possible choices in any nutritional situation you may find yourself in: Elevate the quality of your food.

Quality is everything. In every major nutritional study comparing the diets of industrialized nations – the ones with the most refined, mass-produced, and poor-quality foods – with the diets of traditional cultures – fresh, whole, locally cultivated foods – those on traditional diets fare dramatically better in every major health category.

Quality means any or all of the following: real; fresh; organic; gourmet; lovingly crafted; homemade; locally produced; heirloom varieties; nutrient dense; low in human-made toxins; grown and marketed with honesty and integrity; tasteful; filled with true flavor, instead of biochemical or artificial flavors that mask the absence of nutrients and vitality.

When science studies food, nutrition, or a supplement, it rarely looks at quality. That’s one of the hidden reasons why the results of food studies often conflict. Recall the famous “French Paradox”: how certain Europeans populations can eat a significantly greater amount of fat without the same rise in cholesterol level and heart disease that we Americans experience.

Not only is this a function of the benefits Europeans receive from the metabolic power of relaxing, breathing, and taking their time with their meals, it’s also about quality. The higher quality of ingredients in the French diet means a healthier metabolism. The only “paradox” here is why researchers can’t see the big picture.

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Emily Rosen is the co-owner and CEO of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating where she oversees business development strategies, student affairs, marketing and public relations, and keeps a pulse on the fields of eating psychology and nutrition to ensure the Institute’s position as a leader worldwide. Emily makes things happen. Her passion for health and transformation has provided her the opportunity to speak and present internationally and be at the forefront of a new generation of women leaders committed to making a heartfelt difference in the world. Her tireless work and faithful commitment have touched the lives of millions of fans and followers worldwide.