These days, eating well is trendy (and we couldn’t be happier about it!). Whether your goal is losing weight, boosting energy, obtaining that elusive “glow,” or living longer with fewer ailments, most people will agree that what you eat can have an impact. The challenge is, with so many varying opinions — from the girl pressing your morning green juice to your personal trainer or the guy who lost three pant sizes on the latest trendy diet — it can be hard to decipher between sound advice and a total time waster. (Not to mention, wallet buster.) But, before you throw up your hands up in defeat, know that there are a few simple ways to weed out the good advice from the stuff you should ignore.
First step: Grab your best Sherlock Holmes hat and start investigating credentials. You want to look for those with RDN (for registered dietitian nutritionist) or RD (for registered dietitian) after their names — they’re the same thing. Both mean they have completed specific coursework and clinical training. They also keep up with the latest evidence with required continuing education. Beware: Not every “nutritionist” is a dietitian, but many dietitians will also call themselves a nutritionist. While RDNs are your best bet for individual dietary recommendations, doctors (MD or DO) and those with a Ph.D. in a related field are good resources for general advice.
Now that you’ve narrowed your search to relevant professionals, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this advice make sense?
- Does it sound too good to be true? If it does, it probably is.
- Is the advice-giver providing scientific evidence to back it up?
- Is this a sustainable choice? Meaning, can you follow this advice for more than a few days or weeks?
- Are they trying to sell you a specific “miracle” product or food? If yes, walk (no, run) away (and see #2).
Seeking out qualified professionals and being a slightly skeptical consumer can go a long way.
What’s the Takeaway?
Everyone eats and has their own story as to how they’ve achieved health. But, healthy is different for each individual, and what worked for your friend might not for you. Next time you’re reading the latest and greatest nutrition advice, ask questions, be slightly wary, and don’t forget to look hard at who’s providing the information.