Can There Really Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

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Key to Healthy LifestyleUnless you’re talking about smoking cigarettes, there’s a lot of truth to the thought that everything is good in moderation. Even alcohol, candy, and fatty and salty foods can have their time and place. But what about things that are considered healthy? Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Can being too healthy actually be harmful?

There are some people—and you might be one of them—who try to do everything possible to achieve perfect health. And I don’t blame you; why wouldn’t you want to eat food that prevents disease and extends your life, or exercise to live longer, feel younger, and experience its seemingly endless list of benefits?

Believe it or not, it is possible to have too much of a good thing—even when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices. Some of the pillars of health, including diet and exercise, can create health problems if they’re overdone. Yes, you really can exercise too much and eat too much of a good thing!

The truth is that we’re always learning more and more about what’s good for us and what isn’t. Furthermore, science is constantly pulling things back and forth in the realm of health. For example, one day,you hear that coffee and eggs are bad for you; the next day, they’re good for your health. But at the end of the day, both coffee and eggs are good for you—if they’re consumed in moderation. Once again, the old adage rings true: “everything in moderation.”

Another old saying that’s seemingly true is that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” A study published in the British Medical Journal said eating an apple a day could prevent 8,500 cardiovascular-related deaths, like heart attack and stroke, every year.That’s because they’re filled with heart-healthy fiber and immune system–supporting antioxidants.

But apples are also carbohydrates that are high in sugar, so if you’re trying to lose weight or have diabetes, you might want to limit your intake. Focus on consuming one per day and getting more of your carbs from leafy greens or more watery fruits and veggies.

Some are also concerned about acidity in apples, saying it can cause damage to your stomach lining, tooth enamel, and esophagus.I’m not so sure about this claim, but if they bother your stomach, cut back.

Exercise is something most people don’t get enough of, but some people get way too much of it, even to the point where it can be detrimental. This is a tough one because the benefits of exercise make the drawbacks easy to ignore. The physical drawbacks of overtraining include:

  • Pain
  • Joint damage
  • Tightness
  • Fatigue

However, in some cases, the psychological impacts can be more severe. People who exercise too hard or too often might have body dysmorphia. This means they have an unrealistic image of their body and perhaps think that they need to burn off every calorie they consume through regular workouts. Often, this creates an obsession with the body, which can lead to a very isolated, unhappy life. So when it comes to exercise, once again, moderation is key!

Soy is another thing people think is great for them. It’s rich in protein and a far leaner source than red meat. In fact, vegetarians rely on it heavily to get their daily values of protein. But just because it can be healthy, it doesn’t mean it always is. Soy is very difficult on your stomach and can create digestion problems. Eating too much can create problems with iron absorption and potentially lead to anemia. If you like soy products, make sure you consume no more than two servings per day.

When it comes to health, remember the importance of moderation. Enjoy life, be sensible, and you’ll be rewarded!

Sources for Today’s Article:
BMJ-British Medical Journal, “An apple aday keeps the doctor away,” ScienceDaily web site, December 17, 2013;, last accessed October 29, 2014.
Cook, J.D., et al., “The inhibitory effect of soy products on nonheme iron absorption in man,”American Journal of Clinical Nutrition December 1981;34(12):2622–9.