Eat Your Figs

Three Sources for Good Nutrition Advice

Right about now, advice on your diet is pretty easy to find. But finding good nutrition advice is a whole other matter. Khloe Kardashian wants to tell you how she lost 35 pounds. US Weekly has helpfully gathered up diet secrets from  all the hottest stars. (Oops — maybe they’re not secret anymore.) And of course folks with medical credentials are ready to tell you to fear sugar or potatoes or any number of other foodstuffs.

On the other side of the coin, ConscienHealth and others are only too happy to poke holes in this nonsense. So we thought it only right to point you to a few options for seeking good nutrition advice today.

  1. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. If you have a real health concern that involves nutrition — diabetes, obesity, or heart disease, to name a few — find someone with an RD and an RDN after their name. This means that they have rigorous training in nutrition, completed an internship, passed a licensure examination, and have kept up with continuing education. A dietitian is no substitute for your primary care physician, but dietitians have expertise in nutrition that most physicians lack. Many other people might call themselves nutritionists, but their training might not be up to snuff. Look carefully for someone with specific expertise in your health concern. A good place to start is here.
  2. Thoughtful Commentaries on Nutrition. If you just want to know more and don’t have a specific health concern that relates to nutrition, many people are offering up thoughtful perspective in online publications that are freely available. Start reading. But for every thoughtful perspective, you will find at least ten hucksters peddling their favorite dogma. When you come upon people who are espousing the latest-greatest diet, demonizing whole food groups, or offering to change your life — look elsewhere. In the New York Times, Aaron Carroll is offering sensible advice and providing perspective on advice that you should take with a grain of salt.
  3. A Good Book Free of Dietary Dogma. Beyond just staying current, you might want to pick up a good book that can give you a framework for thinking about nutrition without subscribing to a particular fad or trend that will soon be stale. Though you’ll find booksellers are loaded with books about the latest fads, you can also find more than a few with some perspective worth your time. A good starting point is Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. Starting with his classic advice to “eat food, mostly plants, not too much,” he does a good job of keeping it simple. Though meat producers don’t like the “mostly plants” part of his advice, what he’s offering up is not terribly extreme. He’s getting a lot of attention from the Atlantic, PBS, and others right now.

Good information about food and nutrition is abundant. Unfortunately, the good information is hidden by a lot of sensationalism and just plain bunk that serves only to attract attention and sell advertising. If you read something that sounds sensational or alarming, move on. And above all, simply enjoy good food in moderation.

Happy New Year!

Eat Your Figs, photograph © RHiNO NEAL / flickr

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January 1, 2016

2 Responses to “Three Sources for Good Nutrition Advice”

  1. January 01, 2016 at 10:44 am, Fatima said:

    Thank you! This is very helpful. It’s so hard to find nutrition advice devoid of fads and false information. Your posts are greatly appreciated!

    • January 01, 2016 at 2:28 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks, Fatima!