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If It Sounds Too Good To Be True...

I've come across a few articles recently that have made me cringe. It's not surprising that people are so confused when it comes to nutrition and so disenfranchised by so-called experts on the subject.

Two examples for you.

Is Drinking Wine Better Than Going to the Gym? The article's headline goes on to say that scientists say yes. I'm sorry, what?! I have so many things to say about this, but I'll try to focus on the bad journalism. If you read the article, that's not what scientists are saying. Scientists are saying that the effects of resveratrol might be equivalent to the effects of a good workout. Resveratrol is found in wine, but found in other foods - like nuts and grapes. There are proven health benefits to drinking in moderation (1 drink/day for women, 2 drinks/day for men). But to say that drinking wine is better than going to the gym is just absurd. The article does say that there are negative effects of wine, and that doctors aren't likely to recommend that you take up drinking. But they end with their opinion - this is reason enough to drink up. Yes, it's definitely a good idea to end on a journalist's opinion of what the research says.

'Miracle' weight loss? Stay away, warns FDA. This is a good article on a heart-breaking topic. Heart-breaking because it is predatory in nature. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Dr. Oz) We've all had moments of frustration and desperation, willing to try anything to meet our goal. When it comes to weight loss (like most things!), the miracles and quick fixes are usually the most harmful to your health. It's harder work, but much more sustainable and ultimately successful to make a lifestyle change. It might take longer to drop the weight, but it also might stay off for good. You'll be happy and more satisfied. Don't buy into the hype. It's just not worth it. Best case scenario? You waste your money. Worst case scenario? You end up with organ damage, or dead.

If you find yourself reading articles about research, or come across an actual research article yourself, here is a great article to bookmark on how to interpret the research. In other words, you can answer the questions: is this research any good, and if it is, why should I care? 

Now, before I point too many fingers, let me say that nutrition is a hard topic. It's hard because it's way more scientific than the average person or the media cares to get into (see above article on reading research!). It's more individualized than we even know, and we already are well aware that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work. We (the public) are constantly being inundated with messaging, and getting our (dietitian's/expert's) point across requires some simplifying at least, and perhaps even the help of a creative copywriter. I get why the research gets boiled down to a pithy soundbite. But it doesn't always serve anyone very well.

And here's the truth. Dietitians Aren't Sexy. We can be a thoughtful foreign film in a world of shoot 'em up action movies. We probably don't have a miracle or quick fix for you. What we say might not feel revolutionary to you. What do we have?

Expertise.

Interpretation of research.

Suggestions and recommendations.

Practical tips.

Patience.

Coaching skills.

Listening skills.

Compassion.

Motivation.

And we're willing to help you when the going gets tough. Because after you've tried all the fad diets, we'll still be there. It's not "exciting". But it's real. And it works. 

We're now two weeks into 2015. No matter how you're doing on your goals, I want to encourage you not to buy into the media hype that comes with resolutions. If it sounds too good to be true...it probably is. Your reality is much bigger than a soundbite. Give yourself some time and grace to make changes. You're more likely to actually reach that goal, and you'll be happier along the way.