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Nutrition Facts and Fiction - Featuring the Podcast "Real Talk" for College Students

I had the joyful opportunity to share my nutrition expertise on Rose Vega's podcast, "Real Talk." Vega sought out two dietitians to offer advice for college students and the general public. Give the podcast a listen, or read below some of the highlights to takeaway!

What is the Difference Between a Dietitian and Nutritionist?

A dietitian is a qualified food and nutrition expert that is upheld by standards of practice. In comparison, nutritionists have little to no regulation, and is a title that can be self proclaimed. A well-versed nutritionist is difficult to find and often risky. It's best when seeking food and nutrition advice to receive personalized guidance from a dietitian and utilize nutritionists who are supervised by dietitians for general education. When working together, both can be a powerful team in elevating the nutrition of the communities they serve.

Debunking Nutrition Misconceptions

1. Nutrition is Controversial

Nutrition is difficult to isolate and test in a scientific manner. There are many factors at play like what we are born with, factors in our environment, and overall timeline. Additionally, many studies are done on rats, but humans aren’t rats! Further research is needed to develop and strengthen guidelines. Therefore, I advise you to critically think about nutrition presented to you.

  • Does this educator have the background in nutrition? A college degree in nutrition is a start for general education and policy making, but for seeking nutrition advice choose a Registered Dietitian.

  • Does this person have a bias? I challenge you to try to find other educators who share multiple approaches and capture the bigger picture at play.

  • What is this person's agenda? Are they selling you products like meal plans, detoxes, and supplements along with flashy claims?

2. Diet Culture was Designed to Fail

The weight loss industry markets restrictive dieting behaviors and tells you it's your fault when it fails, when in fact they were never designed to work in the first place. Often diet culture labels foods as good and bad, focuses on restriction as self discipline, or encourages harmful behaviors. Diet culture focuses on energy balance to manage weight, but they neglect the role of hormones, genetics, medications, and other lifestyle factors. Following restrictive diets often works against you due to biological, physiological, and psychological adaptations all working to restore balance. Restrictive approaches can have unintended consequences like disordered eating, nutritional deficiencies, and worsening medical conditions.

3. Macro Counting is Unnecessary

Portion sizing your plate to follow the MyPlate method is easier and just as effective in achieving a well balanced diet.

  • Add color to your plate with fruits and vegetables.

  • Opt for mostly whole grain pasta, rice, cereals, tortilla, or a starchy vegetable (potato, peas, corn, squash).

  • Choose lean proteins like seafood, skin-less poultry, beef tender-loin, nuts, legumes, lentils, seeds, dairy, eggs.

4. Nutrition is Tailored

Nutrition is not one-size-fits all, it's unique. What works for you may not be effective for others. Take time to cultivate a meal pattern that works for you. Consider your hunger cues, preferences, medical needs, schedule, and overall goals.

Bottom Line

Nutrition is complex and best when its balanced, varied, and flexible. Remember this can be achieved in multiple ways! As a dietitian, I like to equip my patients with the knowledge so they can cultivate healthy patterns that align with their values and promote overall wellness.

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