Don't Take Nutritional Advice From Headlines

A recent Washington Post article highlights some of the confusion surrounding health & wellness. Often times, “myths” surrounding health & wellness are caused by misinterpretations of science. This leads consumers to ask: is sea salt better than table salt? Can a grain be a great source of protein? Does processed meat cause cancer? It can feel like journalists are using the “jump to conclusions” mat from the movie Office Space.

Fighting Misconceptions About Health

A recent report found that 75% of Americans say they have a good diet.  So why are more than 70% of Americans over the age of 20 overweight?  Why is there such a gap between what people believe about their diets and reality? 

The billions of dollars spent every year advertising junk food may be one cause, but it’s also true that many Americans simply don’t understand the basics of good nutrition. They don’t know what is healthy and what is not.

The Other Side of Complexity

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said: “For the simplicity that lies this side of complexity, I would not give a fig, but for the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity, I would give my life."

I think about this quote frequently, but it came to my mind again earlier this month when I read a Reuters article about bite counters. These devices, worn on the wrist, use motion to track the number of bites people take while eating. While they won’t help you eat healthier food, these devices, according to the Clemson University researchers who developed them, could provide much needed self-monitoring and feedback to people looking to lose or manage their weight.

A Battle Cry to My Dietitian Colleagues

I spent the first decade of my professional career working as an advertising executive. People loved giving me suggestions for future ads or asking why pharmaceutical commercials involved people running in fields while a soothing voiceover announced scary side effects. At no time did I ever encounter anyone actively trying to do my job.  When I decided to pursue becoming a dietitian, I noticed one shocking and disturbing fact: I was hustling for years going to school full-time, taking the proper route toward becoming a credentialed Registered Dietitian, yet there were people who had never taken a single nutrition course touting themselves as “Wellness Professionals” doling out nutrition advice all across cyberspace.  The hardest pill to swallow is that people actually listened to them!