Diet Culture and Nutrition Credibility

Today we are surrounded by many opinions and suggestions for how to eat or what diet is best. Nutrition can be a very difficult subject to navigate and understand because of so much conflicting information coming from all directions.

Because the topic of nutrition is always evolving based on new scientific studies and evidence, we must learn to change our thoughts and opinions as we learn new information. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I must constantly educate myself and study the science to provide the most up-to-date information to the public.

Although people usually have good intentions, it is important to check the source for their credentials and motivation. There are weight loss companies, for instance, who promote fad diets that could be very harmful to one’s health, especially if you are someone who has an underlying medical condition.

Diets of any kind that rely largely on restriction, packaged and processed foods, shakes or bars are not sustainable for weight loss and certainly not for overall health.

Think twice about these common red flags:

• Restriction of foods such as fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, fish, dairy
• Very low calorie
• No exercise needed
• ‘Miracle’ vitamins or supplements
• Expensive monthly plans

If the diet sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Making positive behavior changes toward a healthier lifestyle can be difficult, but be gentle with yourself; change takes time. We are what we eat, as cliché as that sounds.

Focusing your attention more on whole foods you enjoy and less on processed and packaged foods will provide you with the most nutrition, fullness and overall health for the long term.

If you want nutrition advice from a qualified professional, ask your doctor to refer you to a registered dietitian for help.

Bridgette Bostic, R.D.N., is the community nutrition educator in the Tevis Center for Wellness.

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