Welcome! And three nutrition myths to stop believing
Welcome to my newsletter! I’m going to assume you’re here in part because you’re tired of scrolling through nutrition information that may or may not be reliable, and have reached the point of confusion that makes it seem like no food is actually ok to eat. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! A lot of clients come to me with this combination of frustration and fear about what the heck they’re supposed to be putting into their bodies. Everything I say in this newsletter will be backed by scientific literature and my own practice-based evidence from working with both with private clients and in clinical nutrition for many years.
(here’s me and my dog-ter, Peanut)
There are a handful of questions that I regularly have to myth bust, so I thought I would share my top three of late in hopes to clear some things up for you.
Myth 1: calories in, calories out is the key to health/weight maintenance/etc.
I mean, if it were this simple would I even have a job? When I was in school to become a dietitian many moons ago, this was basically what we learned, so I get where it comes from. Nutrition is still a very new science, though, and we know now that it is so much more nuanced than “calories in, calories out.” Especially for women, because we are so hormonally complicated (and I say that with love). The female body needs and utilizes a different number of calories, or energy, every day. It’s not just one static number. What’s more, our needs for macronutrients like carbs, protein and fat change throughout the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy and postpartum, menopause and with changes in physical activity or endurance training. The way our body responds to exercise (“calories out”) can also differ throughout the menstrual cycle, and every individual responds to exercise stress differently. Getting hung up on consuming a specific number of calories per day and exercising to balance that is a recipe for stress and oftentimes, disappointment.
Myth 2: XX food is toxic
Just, no. This is the diet industry talking, and if we really listened all foods would be off limits at one time or another depending on whatever diet is the trendiest. The truth is, unless you have an allergy, no food is going to be so bad for you that it can be considered “toxic.” I would even go as far as to say that this claim can also be quite elitist, often shunning more affordable foods in favor of their more expensive counterparts. The fact of the matter is, a diet with a good amount of plant foods (veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds) can also include things like boxed mac and cheese, chocolate chip cookies, animal products like eggs, chicken, fish, dairy, etc. as you so please. There has to be a balance, and there are ways to best nourish every body in an affordable and sustainable way.
Myth 3: carbohydrate restriction and fasted runs can help my performance
You will soon find out that I am a big fan of carbohydrates. In general, and when it comes to running and endurance activities. They are the body’s main source of energy, and are crucially important before, during and after runs for fueling and recovery. Fasting and restriction operate under the idea that the body will adapt to using more fat for energy instead of carbs, of which we have many more stores of, and will then improve performance by helping us run faster, longer. There is a good amount of research on this topic, and while the body does adapt to using more fat for energy when carbs are restricted, that does not translate to performance enhancement. In other words, there’s really no point in doing it because it won’t result in faster times. And on top of that, you’ll probably be fairly miserable, sluggish and hungry.
I would be remiss not to mention that working with an experienced dietitian (like me) can help you further navigate your way through nutrition confusion and help get you to where you want to be in a sustainable (and dare I say, enjoyable!) way.