Clearing Up Confusion About Nutrition – A Nutrition Coach Perspective

by | Jan 2, 2021

Nutrition is confusing, and that isn’t going away in 2021. Each year there seems to be a new fad diet or the next superfoods that render all previous superfoods meaningless. So how do you explain these terms to your nutrition coaching clients? How will you make sure they aren’t listening to false claims, and are instead listening to YOU, the dietitian nutrition coach expert?

In a different light, these conflicts highlight the beauty of the scientific method.  Constantly testing nutritional hypotheses to make sure that the false doctrines are debunked and solid fact establishes a stronger foundation.  As a matter of fact, macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) were not discovered until the mid-1800s.  

Below I listed the main reasons that you can share with your coaching clients on why nutrition isn’t straightforward as we would want:

Nutrition research is young. 

As a comparison, the study of chemistry has been around for more than 2000 years while Nutrition barely passed the 200 year milestone.  There is still lots to learn in nutrition’s young age.

Most nutrition resources are funded for disease treatment rather than preventive nutrition.  

According to the 2016 US National Institute of Health Funding, 5 Million Dollars have been allocated for Nutrition in Cancer Research while only 0.5 Million has been allocated for optimal nutrition research.

Corporate effects on nutrition research. 

There are companies that fund nutrition research. They intend for the research to influence consumers to purchase their product rather than focus on knowledge as a whole. A good nutrition coach knows how to make sure that a certain product is the right fit for their client.

Multiple variables in your health make it hard to focus on food’s effects. 

Multiple environmental and internal factors for every different human being makes it hard to pinpoint how nutrition itself affects a person as a whole. This includes genetic profile and capabilities, what state a clients metabolism is currently in, past diet and weight loss history. What’s worked in the past, stress levels, medications, and supplements.⠀

Most nutrition studies are observational.

People seem to make weird correlations with certain foods.  Red meat does not cause cancer, yet people falsely believe this fact.  There is no correlation between the two.

Nutrient measurements aren’t always accurate. 

Every person’s body is different in how many calories they burn or how much energy people consume.  There is no set in stone cookie cutter formula. The infographics that you see on Instagram saying that you need to walk for 90 minutes in order to burn off that ice cream you just ate isn’t just inaccurate, it’s misleading. There are numerous factors to take into account like I said above.

Your food consumption habits will not affect your health right away. 

Think about it.  Very few people are reluctant to dedicate their whole lives under laboratory supervision to the study of how red meat affects people’s lives. Eating red meat once or even two times per week will not give you negative effects, unless for any reason you had previous underlying conditions.

Not all scientific findings will apply to you. 

The age and gender demographic of those who have been tested for certain nutrition articles may differ greatly from you in terms of age, health, gender, and even if they’re human vs non-human.  Also, studies are based off of bell curve averages which can differ greatly from the person receiving the information

Research may be tough, but the report is tougher. 

There might be a lack of communication between the scientist and the journalist.  Single studies might be difficult to connect to a larger picture and writers may misinterpret or over-exaggerate scientific conclusions.

The bottom line:

All in all, don’t believe everything that the media tells you.  

I get 100’s of DM’s and emails weekly from online nutrition coaches asking me “what’s the PERFECT nutrition plan I can give to my clients.”

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT NUTRITION PROGRAM! I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it.

A concept I teach my students inside the Dietitian Nutrition Coaching Certification is the BEST nutrition program is the one YOUR CLIENT can STICK to and actually ENJOYS following.

Not what YOU the RD likes.

Not what Dr. Oz likes.

Not the cool new trendy diet that social media likes.

The program THEY LIKE and ENJOY!

In the dietitian nutrition coach certification we take the theory and formal education you received and put it into practice.  We break it down into real – world application that will help you serve hundreds of clients reach their health and fitness goals.

Compliance is one of the keys to retention in a nutrition coaching program and your clients are MUCH more likely to comply if they actually enjoy the process.

So here’s my quick reminder heading into the weekend that your nutrition coaching program should be focused on PROGRESSIONS not PERFECTIONS!

How do you focus on sustainability with your clients as a nutrition coach? Send me an email at and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

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