What Is Fact vs. Belief With Nutrition

When you search on Google on ways to eat better, lose weight, or build muscle, you open a floodgate of millions of information and sources that hit you fast.  Tons of people claim to know the secrets of achieving nutritional goals or their beliefs on what new diet or supplement is best for you. 

But that’s just it.  Beliefs.  And one set of beliefs will somehow contradict another set of beliefs, leaving you confused as to which direction to follow.

This is the case for all facets of nutrition and these beliefs have ingrained their way into our daily thinking.  Thoughts that protein is the only nutrition source we need, we are to only eat natural or organic foods, or that we can only eat before a certain time.  These thoughts seem to connect with us emotionally. 

However, Nutrition is a SCIENCE. When clients go to you  for nutrition advice.  They are not asking you as a registered dietitian, what nutritional beliefs you believe in.  They come to you for results and performance.  Believing that something is true or should be true does not mean that it is true. We must ask questions to decode the difference between fact and belief.

But.  Nobody has that amount of time.  When we go on Google to search these questions, we expect immediate answers and results.  This is the process with most people who are seeking online nutrition counseling.  We search for certain foods that we are supposed to eat, certain foods to avoid, when to eat our foods, etc.  The problem with searching on the internet is that Marketing rather than fact will most likely draw our attention.

“Shortcut your way to a six-pack in 1 month” or “Superfood found in the Amazon that will guarantee your fat loss”. Is it bad for wishing that these were true?  Not at all!  Beliefs can bring us comfort, integrate us into a community, and promise us things that we desire the most.  When we follow a belief system, we’re looking for help because we want to make a change.  AND THAT’S OKAY!  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to believe, but we can’t ignore the facts.  The proof is in the pudding.

Science Is Anything But Simple

If there was a nutritional formula that we could plug in to get a six-pack, cure cancer, or lose weight, that would be awesome.  But the fact of the matter is that doesn’t exist.  We can’t fall into one source of evidence for a particular study.  We must take in all studies on a topic and decipher where the main weight of the evidence surmounts to.  In this pursuit of nutrition knowledge, we must accept that nutrition science is a huge field.  We can’t know everything but we can commit ourselves to a lifelong process of learning, studying, thinking, analysis to every decision we make. 

Steps We Can Take In the Pursuit of Nutrition Science

1. Thrive in the middle.

Limit your extreme language such as “always” & “never”.  Try to incorporate open language such as ‘some people’ & ‘it depends’

2. Be aware of words that trigger emotions.

Words such as ‘clean eating’ or ‘100% Guaranteed’ draw out certain emotions because of marketing.  Be aware of these words and question why you feel certain emotions with these words.

3. Be aware of Clickbait.

Phrases such as “Six Pack Shortcuts” that market a fitness program or “Eat All You Want and Still Lose Weight” for a diet book.  Question if this is belief or fact.

4. There is no one size fits all.

We are not all the same.  We are complex and our bodies require different needs.  Experiment for your lifestyle, goals, and needs.

5. Get qualified coaching from a registered dietitian.

Get resources and tools from a registered dietitian or enroll in a certification yourself.  Reinforce your knowledge. Having an open & critical mind.

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