Nutrition science is confusing. There’s no one set of recommendations to which everyone agrees. There’s no perfect human diet. There’s just a bunch of biochemists, nutritionists, doctors, holistic health practitioners, and armchair experts with their own opinion.
I’m one of them. And without going into too much detail about who you should trust in these situations, it’s important to remind you that certified nutritionists would be the first and best place to start for nutrition advice. But even among us there are disagreements!
For example, I personally follow many of the women from my masters program and watch the wonderful ways they are growing in success and renown in various parts of the country. Among us there’s a range of nutrition belief systems anywhere from vegan and plant based to paleo to keto and everywhere in between. And we all went through the same program!
I dont tell you this to scare you. All of these women are incredibly talented and I respect each of them. They even have scientific backup for the things they recommend. But that is the real key!
Everyone’s different. And because everyone’s different, there can be a study in one group showing an intervention was successful and in another group that it wasn’t.
Nutrition Science is murky and can be flawed as well. It is very difficult, if not impossible to isolate nutritional interventions from the complex range of lifestyles and emotional spaces that people are in at the time of the study. For example, a person eating a keto diet after years of fast food and low nutrient density will probably get major benefits. On the other hand, a woman with hypothyroid issues and burned out adrenals may not do so well.
Everything in nutrition is relative to the person in question.
Many different diets have been shown to improve health in studies and that means one major thing to a nutritionist: that while there may be personal preferences with diet and lifestyle, each person will have their own response and must be treated as unique. It also indicates that any diet which favors nutrient density over packaged, processed, and restaurant food is better than the average American’s daily diet and can improve health.
Many people have anecdotal evidence that their diet has worked for them and while this should always be taken with a grain of salt, it also shouldn’t be ignored. In my practice I have my own evidence of this. I’ve picked up on connections between certain groups and noted dietary approaches that seem to work better.
It’s important to remember that we don’t know everything and we maybe never will. So before you judge someone for eating carbs (or not eating them!) remember that they are unique just as you are unique and must find the approach that works for them. And by the way, never try to needle or force someone into eating the cake or drinking the alcohol at the party. Food sensitivity and gut issues are real and their recovery should be respected.
There’s a lot that happens when we eat that we don’t fully understand yet. That’s part of what makes nutrition so exciting!
One thing we absolutely do know, though. Nutrition is the very foundation of human health. Its impact should never be ignored.
If you’d like to find the diet best for you, book an appointment here.