December 2nd

theresa albert - my friend in food


Should you try a new DIET?

organic eggs

Diet trends change with the wind and our entire population blows with them.  When did we start trusting the “news” and “studies” more than our own instincts?  As a nutritionist I am asked to debunk food and diet myths all the time and am respectful that each person’s belief system is a delicate, hard earned matter. It is hard to change a person’s opinion even when that opinion hasn’t served them well at all. When you think about it, the word “diet” simply means the type of foods you consume. It has come to mean “calorie restriction for the purpose of losing weight”. And only you can decide if you need to do that.

As was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism “Our findings challenge the idea that all obese individuals need to lose weight,” says lead author Jennifer Kuk, assistant professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health. “Moreover, it’s possible that trying – and failing – to lose weight may be more detrimental than simply staying at an elevated body weight and engaging in a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity and a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables,” she says.

Aka-it ain’t all about the weight. It just may be all about what you put in your body and what you do with your body that matters.

Still, science takes a beating.  It is hard to argue with the statement “vegetables are good for you” but it happens… “What about the pesticides?” The answers are often not black and white but somewhere in the middle ground “the benefits of eating vegetables far outweighs any negatives of consuming pesticide residues”.  Aka, this is not an excuse to eat cheeseburgers.

Remember the 80’s, when all fat was bad for you? It turned out to be so astoundingly untrue and we now have a more discerning view of what fats are good and which are to be avoided.  But still, I have people who are afraid to eat a nut. (Gasp! But they will make me fat!) An avocado? Are you kidding? Isn’t that verboten when I am on a diet?

No. What’s verboten is pig-headed clinging to some myth that said “fat free” cookies were a better idea than a small amount of calorie dense, nutrient dense food.  Especially when that food keeps you feeling fuller longer, helps you make hormones, keeps your skin looking supple and younger and helps your brain stay sharp!

The next argument is… “oh, yes, well, you say that now, but in a year ‘they’ (meaning science, I guess) will change their minds”.  Yes, maybe, that’s how the scientific method works. We know what we know for now, if there is a new discovery and that changes, you will have to change with it.  The trick is to take a step back, and critically assess the whole picture.  Does the information you are hearing make more sense than the information that is already stuck in your head? Will it help you or hurt you to shift? What’s the cost vs the benefit of making the shift? Now you are better equipped. Hey, you can always go back to your old way if the new way isn’t better.  Convinced?

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

I love food, try to watch my weight, know more than I want to about healthy living (sometimes I wish I knew less so I wouldn’t feel so guilty when I stumble), am a daughter, sister, friend, mom and wife who worries and scurries the meals onto the table. It is for all these reasons that I completed my nutrition, RNCP designation, wrote my book, hosted my Food Network show, consult with food companies to urge them to get it right (or at least better), constantly write about it, research it, all of this so I can cut through the nutrition and food “news” clutter. Happy to share with friends!


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