Are you frustrated by changing nutrition headlines and conflicting advice? You’re definitely not alone. Most people don’t know what to believe any more. One headline says salt kills. The next headline says it’s not so bad. I don’t blame you if you want to give up! Here are five things I think you should know:
1. Nutrition is a relatively new science. It’s only over the last ten to twenty years that we’ve really begun to understand how food impacts the body. We still have lots to learn.
2. Nutrition is a complicated science. You don’t eat just one food in isolation, you eat many different foods and they all impact each other. In addition, what you eat today may not impact your risk of disease for another ten, twenty or even fifty years down the road. Genetics also plays a role. Bottom line, people want easy answers to complex questions. Sometimes there are no easy answers.
3. Newspapers, television and the media are committed to grabbing your attention. That’s how they get and keep their audience. This means the story they tell may not be the most accurate or the most complete. Good advice is based on good science and not just one study, but many.
4. Lastly, the internet in particular is a minefield of nutrition misinformation! Websites, bloggers, articles… it amazes me what I see! Be wary.
5. Most importantly, don’t give up. Reading and learning about nutrition and healthy eating is important. Remember that Registered Dietitians are regulated by law to give nutrition information based on science. Lastly, here’s some nutritional wisdom that I believe will stand the test of time:
Eat whole foods, as close as possible to their natural state including plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables, 100% whole grains, beans, and nuts in small quantities. Limit your intake of sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats.
Nutrition is a relatively new and complicated science. There is a tremendous amount of misinformation and miscommunication in the field. Get your advice from people and places that are trustworthy, including Registered Dietitians and reputable research centers and health organizations.