In society, in the media and when talking to each other we generally deal in extremes when it comes to health and fitness. This happens whether we're aware of it or not. The only way to get noticed is to be so different to the norm that it intrigues others. You won't get in the papers talking about something 'normal' but if you say something controversial enough to the right people and you get a whole page spread. This causes our perception of what's normal to be skewed and can also throw things way out of proportion.
Take, for example, the prevalence of scientific study reports in the media. Nowadays it seems that every scientific study into nutrition or exercise that has something interesting to say is picked up by the papers and made into a clear cut, black and white, life and death situation. The reality is things aren't that simple. Looking at one bit of research at a time is like looking at one part of a machine and from that assuming you know how the whole thing looks and works. You could have a good guess but you could be miles off.
Summary of this point - take advice in the media with a pinch of salt.
In fact, take it all with a pinch of salt. Even the advice from the government is coming under fire nowadays. But how can they get it wrong? Surely with all that money and all those advisers their advice must be correct? Well, once again take it with a pinch of salt. Who knows what pressures the government are under and how they can be swept along by hype from the media and large companies looking to make a quick buck.
So who should you believe and what should you do?
I'm not saying these places are wrong about everything or that I'm right about everything. My message today is that in terms of health and fitness and the main issues being debated at the moment is that moderation is the most important thing of all. If there's one thing that all the studies have in common it's that extremes of anything (low or high) are damaging and a small amount of things are generally not too bad. Whether it's fat, carbs, protein, vitamins, minerals, sugar or anything like that generally a little of everything is OK. Yes there will be times where more is better, or where avoiding something as much as possible is better, but until the science and understanding improves it can be hard to know how to treat each thing.
Don't stress about it - think moderation!