The food environment in the US and many developed countries is confusing. We’re constantly bombarded with conflicting information about the optimal diet to live a long, healthy life. This blog is about navigating that environment to help you find a plan that makes sense for you and your lifestyle.
Food is medicine. Food is fuel. Food is family and tradition and culture. And food can be the key (or detriment) to your success in achieving your health and fitness goals. Just like a car needs gas to run, your body needs energy to survive and perform at its best. Energy comes from a variety of food and beverage sources, and some forms are better than others. The most optimal energy for your body will come from quality foods. These include a variety of meats, fruits, and vegetables as well as nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, certain oils, dairy, and some whole grains in minimally processed forms. The goal is eat a balanced diet, putting the right things in your body at the right time to achieve optimal health and progress toward your goals.
Why A Registered Dietitian?
The food environment in America is confusing (see image to the left). There are hundreds of diets and diet books out there, all with different advice. Low carb, low fat, high protein, juice, fiber, paleo diet, South Beach diet… it’s a lot of information. Add that to the barrage of advertising we see every day from food companies and restaurants (e.g. this or that sugary cereal “part of a complete breakfast”). Food labels are complex, ingredient lists are long, and health claims are abundant. You want to make the best health choices but there are limitless distractions.
Registered Dietitians (RDs) spend four years in college and 1200 hours of supervised practice post graduation studying nutrition and health assessment, metabolism of nutrients in the body, specific nutritional requirements for a variety of populations and different needs, food safety practices, and the many psychological and social factors involved with food and diet. After passing a national certification exam, RDs continue this education, keeping up to speed on the latest research, evidence based practices and recommendations for optimal diet and health. As an RD, I base my assertions on experience, scientific evidence, and common sense.