Friend, clients, family, and the public ask me lots of questions about nutrition and it is always amazing to me how much mediocre and terrible nutrition information is out on the Internet, on television, in print, and circulating around. Here are few recent examples that I have stumbled upon...
"This magazine encourages athletes should cut back on salt intake." Background: A friend showed me a sports supplement publication that in one article touted electrolyte (including sodium - aka salt) supplements and then another article discouraged sodium intake and suggested cutting back on sodium. Clarification: The complicated part about nutrition is that what is right for one person, is not right for the next person. For example, if you have high blood pressure, yes, cutting back on sodium makes sense. Yet, if you are an athlete and exercising for extended periods of time routinely, then you actually need to make sure that you are adding some salt to your intake to help your body with fluid balance.
"I heard on tv that green bean coffee extract helps with weight loss and you don't have to exercise." Background: A friend saw on a popular tv show that green bean coffee extract is a miracle weight loss supplement and you don't even have to exercise. Clarification: There are is preliminary research that shows that green bean coffee extract may increase weight loss, yet the studies are preliminary and of poor quality. Any suggestion of weight loss without exercise, is poor advice, exercising is essential to overall health - irregardless of weight loss.
"My pharmacist said I should try a gluten-free diet." Background: A women told me at the pharmacy, it was suggested to her to try a gluten-free diet by the pharmacist. Clarification: No offense to pharmacists - but as professionals, recommending diets is not part of their training. If you think that a gluten-free diet maybe right for you - talk with you health care provider and ask to work with a registered dietitian to understand the specifics of a gluten-free diet, as following one may or may not be right for you.
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
- If someone other than your health care provider or a registered dietitian is suggesting you to try a specific restrictive diet, take this information with a grain of salt and consult with your health care provider first and work with a registered dietitian to develop a plan that is right for you, to find a registered dietitian near you: http://www.eatright.org/programs/rdnfinder/
- If a supplement company is touting nutrition information - Check out: Is a registered dietitian and/or health professional quoted in the article? Are specific scientific studies referenced? If you answered no to either to either question, take the information with a grain of salt! And before taking any supplement, consult with your health care provider and when it comes to sports performance supplements, talk with a board certified sports specialist dietitian to help you figure out what supplements are right for you! Find a sports specific registered dietitian: http://www.scandpg.org/
- Look for "RD" or "RDN" after someones name - this indicates they are a registered dietitian/ registered dietitian nutritionist, which indicates they have the credentials to practice in the area of food and nutrition.
If you have a question about something to do with food and nutrition that you have read or heard and would like Molly to clarify it for you - contact her her!