Absolute Nutrition Truths - What Nutritionists Wish Everyone Knew
When I introduce myself to new friends or acquaintances, I get the usual question: what do you do for work? I always give the same answer and I can usually predict the response. When I proudly announce that I am a nutritionist, I either encounter a glazed and puzzled look or a look of sheer terror. The glazed and puzzled look is from new friends that don’t know exactly what a nutritionist does. The look of terror usually comes from people who automatically think that I want to police their food intake.
Let me assure you, I don’t want to watch, count, or monitor anybody’s food choices. My goal as a nutritionist is to teach my clients helpful principles and strategies so they are empowered to choose the best foods for their bodies. A typical appointment with me starts by discussing what you ate during the last 72 hours. Then we talk about your goals, symptoms, and questions. I teach my clients how to navigate the changes in their diet and lifestyle that they (not I) want to make.
The most commonly asked question I receive is: what is the best diet or eating plan? My answer is always the same: it depends on the person. There is no one-size-fits-all diet for the masses. There is only biochemical individuality, which means that everyone needs different nutrients at different times and in different amounts.
While that may seem like a frustrating answer, when you give it some thought, it makes complete sense. Each human being is influenced by their genetics and environment---which includes social relationships, air, water, food, stress, and exposures. We are each a unique blend of all that makes us who we are in a physical and emotional sense. Because of our individuality, we need to choose our diet as individuals.
Have you ever wondered why some people feel great on the Keto diet, while others want to vomit? Or what about your friend who is a juicer and vegetarian and feels great all the time? This is an example of biochemical individuality. All diets and eating plans fit some people. But no eating plan fits all people.
Your responsibility to your body is to find and implement the best eating plan for you at any given time in your life. You owe it to the form that houses your spirit (i.e. your body) to give it what it needs.
My job as a nutritionist is to understand various eating plans and guide you to what will work best for you. You can think of me as your sherpa guiding you through the mountains of eating plans and nutrition information.
Absolute Nutrition Truths
Now, while there is not one single diet that fits all people, let me assure you that there are several absolute truths that cover all people. Let me share a few of them with you:
- Whether you follow a carnivore diet composed of meat and more meat, or a vegan diet of plants and water, you must eat whole foods. Processed foods with labels, preservatives, and multiple ingredients are unhealthy on any eating plan. Stop eating processed foods. The work of Weston A Price catalogs the introduction of processed foods to various cultures. He documented that each culture that has adopted “westernized industrial” food has seen a dramatic decrease in health. In other words, as soon as cultures start to veer away from their traditional diet, and turn to processed flour, sugar, and grains, they get fatter, uglier, and sicker. Their teeth rot and over generations their jaws narrow which leads to crooked teeth. And they get more cases of diabetes and heart disease.
- Most vegetable oils are rancid, oxidized, trans-fats. Back in the 1980s, several companies did a great job of convincing America that vegetable fats like canola, corn, and soy oil were “good” for us. Some say this was a financial ploy to get Americans to consume the oils that were grown in the midwest. Whatever the reason, Americans, as a people, began to consume these supposedly healthy oils and since that time obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have increased. Throw away your vegetable oils. Stick to seed and fruit oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut, or avocado oil.
- Journalists are like DJs and medical studies are like vinyl records---they can be spun any way you want. Just because a journalist reports that a medical study concluded something, doesn’t mean it is scientifically true. Medical studies can be interpreted in many ways and are not always conclusive. Question the headlines that you hear or read. Learn to read the excerpts on Pubmed which is the clearinghouse for all published medical studies. Or find reliable Functional Medicine experts whom you can trust.
- No nutrition article would be complete without doling out a healthy dose of "sugar shame". Sugar is a sweet poison that has been compared to heroin and cocaine. It is a highly addictive substance with no nutritional value. It is legal, socially promoted, and in almost everything we eat. If you can break your sugar addiction, you can do just about anything. My best suggestion for taming your sugar dragon is going cold turkey. You could do a Whole30 challenge or set up coaching with me to guide you through a Whole30. P.S. The worst form is liquid sugar...think soda, smoothies, and fruit juice.
- It is easy to find the right diet for you. It is the diet that you will follow and that makes you feel good. I’m a biohacker, which means I am always experimenting with different diets and nutritional supplements. I’ve tried everything from carnivore to vegan just to see how I felt. When I talk to my clients, I don’t tell them which diet to follow. I ask them which diet they will follow. I advise them on which eating plan will help them achieve their goals and then we customize a diet for them.
We are all constantly bombarded by food, nutrition, and lifestyle advertisements. There are so many diets and eating plans that it can be overwhelming. But if you eat whole foods that look like they did in nature you are already mastering the most important element of any diet. Just eat real food. I’m always happy to be your guide through this process. Set up an appointment here.
In good health,
Carly Neubert BA, NC
For additional recipes, biohacking tips and lifestyle hacks -- check out my other blog on my coaching site www.cleancoachcarly.com! I post weekly about nutrition and lifestyle topics, all backed by science. Happy Reading!