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Being an Advocate for Nutrition When Nutrition Is Confusing

dietetic intern, great dane, rescue

My intern Alli and my Great Dane office mates – my boy Lex and foster Ozzy Pawsborn.

I have the pleasure of working as a preceptor for dietetic internship programs. Allison Hinze worked with me (and my 4-legged office mates) in my practice and wrote a post about her journey to become a nutrition professional. Enjoy! -Neily

 


Everyone eats, but is everyone a nutrition expert? It’s easy to think so. Individuals, professionals, non-professionals and the like share their opinions on nutrition and food daily.

Food is a large part of life and we value sharing our personal knowledge. In a world where we can share information with the click of a button reaching hundreds, if not thousands, of people, we’re saturated with health claims—some good, some not so good.

Overwhelming and confusing

It’s overwhelming and confusing. I fell subject to this experience. As a nutrition pre-professional, I entered college with my set opinions about nutrition science and diets. I was blissfully unaware the world of nutrition was so contradictory and full of alternative opinions. Not until being surrounded by practicing registered dietitians, professors, and experiencing my health battles, did I begin advocating for my nutrition knowledge.

My eyes opened to the vast array of nutrition opinions for best nutrition practices searching for the evidence. I’ve committed to being a life-long learner, digging deeper into science and keeping up with the current, accurate nutrition news.

Keeping up-to-date

Today I share with you—professional or average food consumer—how to care for yourself, your clients, and your family by advocating for solid evidence and keeping up-to-date.

Begin by engaging in your community. Promote discussion and ask questions with those surrounding you—professional and non-professional. Welcome your personal curiosity in nutrition and find answers not taking everything at face value. Commit like I did to being a life-long learner. There are many tried and true findings, as well as new ones emerging daily. The nutrition field is dynamic and exciting! Try not to shy away from this, but instead use some of the tools listed here to take a deeper dive.

Use credible sources when conducting your own investigations and checking red flags you find. Lastly, do not be afraid to expand your skill-set and tool belt. Go to a class, schedule a meet and greet with a community dietitian, explore your local grocery store, meet with the store dietitian if there is one. Above all else, if it all becomes too cloudy, get back to the basics and begin with what you know to be true—consuming real foods with lots of variety.

Check out these resources

For more information, check out these podcasts to hear from various experts on the latest nutrition topics and some tips for reading articles on your own. This is not an all-inclusive list but some resources to get you started. Check out Neily’s blog posts on Making Sense of Nutrition News Part I and Part II

Podcasts*:

Tips for reading articles:

  • Look at the who, what, when, where, why, and how
  • Do the studies reported use The Scientific Method?
  • Is the study reported based on one study only? “Single Study Syndrome”
  • Was the study published in a peer-reviewed journal?
  • Review this excellent article: Tufts Health and Nutrition News: How do we know that to believe?

Thank you for tuning into Neily on Nutrition—until next time!

Alli Hinze (Rivera), Dietetic Intern
THR Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas, Texas

*Neily’s Notes: I helped Alli with this list. It’s a list of some of my/our favorite podcasts, plus a few more becoming our favorites. As a podcast junkie, there are many more I listen to but these were some of the more consumer friendly yet evidence-based shows.


Jennifer “Neily” Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Neily on Nutrition
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach
Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Photo credits: Neily on Nutrition and pixabay.com

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