Nutritional Information is coming at us from every angle nowadays. Everyone is an expert it seems. But if everyone is an expert, why is the advice all different?
Well obviously, they are not all experts. But lots of people think they are. When we look at our social media, every other post is an Instagram-tastic fabulously healthy meal. The miracle food or supplement they have discovered.
Family and friends too, are great with the advice. Now we all love our peeps, but do they really know what they are talking about? Having grown up in a house where the Cabbage Soup Diet reared its ugly head, I would be wary of the well-meaning but ill informed.
Advertisements on TV, radio and magazines are just that – advertisements. They are selling something. Websites are often the same and can be harder to spot. They may seem official but often there is a supplement or something similar being pushed.
Like celebrities and influencers on social media. Before you rush out and buy the miraculous pills they are saying lost them a stone in a week, check if they are being paid by said pill maker.
A medical expert is someone we trust. But not everyone with a medical qualification has been trained in nutrition. You can’t expect your GP to be a nutrition expert because it is not a big part of their training.
Food labels we should be able to trust. To use as our guide. They are governed by law, but many manufacturers push the regulations to the limits in what they say on packaging. At the end of the day, they are selling their product. All they want from you is your €€€’s.
We should be able to rely on government guidelines. The problem is that they can be hard to understand. And they can become outdated. It is difficult for regulatory agencies to keep up with the new developments and discoveries made in science every day.
And don’t even get me started on the fad diets. Often very restrictive and making big promises based on no scientific evidence. At best, taking advantage of people. At worst, preying on the vulnerable and causing harm. If you are ever advised to cut out a whole food group without a medical reason, question it. If someone suggests you take some supplement instead of a medicine you have been prescribed, definitely question it. You may see people lose weight temporarily on these mad diets but check back when the unsustainable diet has been left behind. Has the persons overall health improved??
Become aware. Educate yourself. Be critical. Don’t believe everything you see. Look for the qualifications and motivations of those telling you what to eat. Look for an ulterior motive. Are they offering to sell you something like a pill or a shake? Do they have something to gain by pushing you in one direction or another?
Evidence based nutritional advice is not going to sound like a magic potion: move more, eat less processed foods and eat more vegetables.
Magic potions are for fairy tales.