Your Opinions

As  a teacher in the field of nutrition, I am often reminded that there is a big difference between science and media when it comes to nutrition advice.  There are many concerns I have with misinformation that I seem to come across every term.  Not only from students, but from people I meet on a daily basis too.  For some reason, I find that people will more likely believe a magazine article or other media report than listen to what I have to say as a trained professional.  Sometimes this makes me sad.  Why would someone tell me I am wrong if this is something I am supposed to be considered an expert in.  Actually, I am an expert in my field, but why are people so quick to discredit the trained professional, but will jump on the band wagon of an online web article written by a freelance journalist with only a degree in mass communications?  

Sometime this frustrates me.  Ok, it more than frustrates me!   

So, I have some questions/statements that I want to ask to gather the opinions of my readers, and then I will come back with a post that explains my thoughts, as a professional, not a consumer or layperson.  Yes, I am looking for opinions and thoughts.  I know the research, I know the science.  What I want to know is what others think about these issues.

1) Are all sugars bad for you and need to be removed from the diet?  I often hear this stated as simple sugars are bad and should be eliminated.  Is this true?  Gina, the Candid RD actually covered this in her post yesterday, so if you have read hers already, you may have a better understanding of what I am getting at here.

2) Chemicals in foods are bad?  Any chemical process to food is bad for you?   

3) organic=healthy

4) Vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary?   

5) If something is good for you, more will be better.

Now for my last question
6)  Is the nutrition information on the web is written by credible sources?  What things do you look for when researching on the web?  Are there any red flags that alert you to misinformation?  

Now that I have asked for your thoughts, are there any questions or issues you would like to ask me, a trained nutrition professional.


Beth said...

Melinda, what a great post. I like to think I have a fairly natural approach to eating (Cook what you eat! Keep processed foods to a minimum!) that helps me to stay in shape. Knowing that, here are the answers to your questions (at least for me):

1. Sugar: I try to watch sugars in processed foods, and I do look at it before buying stuff like PB, jam, granola bars, cereal, etc. Because that stuff really adds up! But as a reader of my blog, you know I love the homemade sweets, so not all sugar is bad.

2. Chemicals: I don't think chemicals in food are great, but I know some preservatives are necessary. I try to minimize chemicals by eating as many whole foods and minimally processed foods as possible.

3. organic does not necessarily equal healthy! An organic cookie from a box is still a heavily processed sugar bomb!

4. I don't do supplements. They've always made me feel weird.

5. More of something is not always better, even if it's healthy. You can't survive on greens alone (for example) you need protein, fats, and some carbs.

I don't always trust nutrition information on the web, because sometimes it seems too brand specific.

Shannon, Tropical Eats said...

wow i never really thought about it like that.. but we should be looking more to real RDs for advice! i can see how that would be frustrating.. especially with a lot of healthy food bloggers trying to offer advice from their experiences. I'd like to know more about proper carb levels and just how bad artificial sweeteners are. I've given up all sweeteners but just wonder if there's been any more research on their side effects?

Great post! My brain is seriously rollin now thinking about all of this lol

Simply Life said...

Can't wait to hear your info about all this!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

I could go on for hours, days, weeks, months about how frustrating it is for me to talk to people sometimes, and hear what they tell me they THINK they know about nutrition and health. Sometimes I just want to cry. And, like you said, they are more likely to believe the magazines or famous people on tv, or even doctors (who many times don't know a thing about nutrition) rather than the supposed experts. It really makes us less credible as nutrition and health experts, and I feel less and less important in this society every time someone believes a media print over my 6 years of post high school education!!! Ugh, hopefully one day we will be more respected, but that won't happen until our media stops lying to the public, and people stop being so darn greedy and not caring who they are hurting by reporting false "facts" about their products!

Shannon said...

Great questions! I can't wait to read your follow-up post. The organic=healthy question makes me crazy! So many things are labeled organic...cookies, chips, brownies. Sure, they're organic, and a great choice for a treat. But healthy? Not so much.

Special K said...

1. Sugar: I like fresh sugar in fruit, agave, or maple syrup...and really just try to stay away from any processed foods in general that have not only hidden sugar, BUT SALT. Of course, I am a cereal addict, so I try and watch the sugars in those.

2. Chemicals: I usually only eat cereal or bread that is "processed" and hopefully there are not a lot of hidden chemicals in organic versions. But you know what? We cannot escape them, they are in our water, in the animals of the food we eat, the air we breathe, the veggies we harvest. I don't use plastic anymore. This is kinda sad when I think of the next generation....

3. organic isn't "healthy" but WHAT IS? Only eating veggies isn't HEALTHY. A food isn't HEALTHY. or GOOD. OR BAD....our behaviors ARE!

4. I take fish oil, vitamin D, magnesium, and a nightly Tums. That last one is for pleasure!

5. Less is more. More is less. I just want to be in the middle.

6. And honestly? Most people who have been label readers, naturally start "calculating." I don't read nutrition informaion anymore...I look at the ingredients and stay away from "points" or making food somehow a number....does that make sense? A number should mean HEALTHY, "go ahead!" Your body, if you are tuned to it, will eat fatty foods when it wants, and stop when it doesn' I try not to make food about numbers.

Cher Rockwell said...

First of all, just wanted to say that I love reading your blog.

There are so many opinions out there on food & diet that flow against common sense. The diets that tell you to cut all of this or that out or only eat from a certain food group drive me nuts!

Everything in moderation & keep it as close to nature as you can... There is some good stuff out there on the 'net, but it should pass the common sense test first to see if it bears further merit.

Hang in there!

Jessie said...

It is SO frustrating that, as a nutrition professional, people I know, who are close to me, would rather listen to some random article than to me, who is trained in the nutrition field. I think a lot of it is that people look for the easy way out, the quick-fix, and people who aren't trained in nutrition are more likely to give them that. Who wants to listen to an RD who says "Eat healthier, exercise more"? Sad, but true :(

I think MOST information on the web is written my non-credible sources. Sometimes they get it right because they copy from credible sources, but I've encountered some of the most ridiculous BS stuff out there that makes my blood boil!!!! Arg >:(

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