Interest in nutrition and healthier eater is increasing. And along with the great advice available online comes some true nonsense nutrition. I mean crazy content that confuses the public and leaves dietitians clenching their teeth. Here are three nuggets of nonsense I hope never to hear again.
1. “I’m taking statins, my cholesterol is low, and so what I eat doesn’t matter as much.” Great to have lowered blood cholesterol but there is so much more to being in your best health. What about cancer as the second-leading cause of death? To combat cancer, boost immunity and reduce inflammation — you need to load up with vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Research from a few years ago reported that people on statins gained more weight over time than the non users. Why? Because they didn’t think their diet mattered anymore. It does.
2. “I want to lose 10 or more pounds in one month.” I understand why so many people think this is possible. Every month at least half the magazine rack bombards us with magic bullet weight-loss plans or the “last diet you’ll ever need.” This thinking is a strategy for failure. Instead, devise healthier living strategies you can measure. Numbers are good when coupled with a goal like “I will eat four servings of vegetables a day or I will walk 10,000 steps today.”
3. “If you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either.” Anyone who has taken chemistry will tell you this is the most insane statement ever. This morning, included in my breakfast was serine, octanoic acid, E160c, phenylacetaldehyde, hepta-2-enal and lots of other chemicals. Easier to remember — I ate an egg. Every “natural” food eaten is made up of chemicals that most people have not heard of. Luckily our bodies know what to do with the chemicals — even if our heads don’t.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.