Don’t overeat, eat more greens, mostly whole foods, less sugar and processed food, drink water, be active, avoid stress … Simple. Freaking hard. No bullshit. Not sexy. But we want more, we want magic, we want sexy, we want insider information.
Where do you get health-related information from?
When next time you find yourself in Holland&Barret reaching for another super-food or vitamin, think, where your need for it comes from. Was it recommended by a celebrity? Maybe your PT? Maybe media nutritionist? Maybe your skinny friend who is ‘into wellness’ takes it? Or a bikini model you follow on Instagram? Or maybe even a clever documentary? Or 3 for 2 offer?
Nutrition science is under-researched, but over-popularised. I wish people felt as helpless about nutrition, as they do about law, taxation, accounting and semiconductor physics 🙂
Many of us are ‘well-informed’ about health and nutrition, but this information, sadly, comes from bad sources. It mesmerises me, how some smart, educated, successful people I know buy into all sorts of marketing. Maybe it is because we follow emotions, not logic, and we forget to filter. We see Gwyneth Paltrow and we forget about a mortgage. The fact that the person is a celebrity does not increase the credibility of what she says. It rather decreases it. The fact that the information is from a book does not mean anything, anyone can publish a book nowadays. Here are some questions to ask about an author: Are they a doctor or scientist? A practicing doctor or ‘media’ doctor? Are there indicators that they understand science and can interpret research results correctly? Where did this doctor or scientist study? Who are they sponsored by? And if you think that you can definitely trust a certified/qualified/registered nutritionist who published/appeared in media, think twice. Here is what Ben Goldacre, a doctor and an academic, says about media nutritionists:
…”’nutritionists’ members of a newly invented profession, who must create a commercial space to justify their own existence. In order to do this, they must mystify and overcomplicate diet, and foster dependence upon them. Their profession is based on a set of very simple mistakes in how we interpret scientific literature… I am not deriding simple, sensible, healthy eating advice. A straightforwardly healthy diet, along with many other aspects of lifestyle…is very important. But the media nutritionists speak beyond the evidence: often it is about selling pills; sometimes it is about selling dietary fads, or new diagnoses, or fostering dependence; but it is often driven by their desire to create a market for themselves, in which they are the expert, whereas you are merely bamboozled and ignorant”
Next time you’ll refuse yourself a cup of coffee, think, where the belief ‘coffee is bad for you’ comes from. The fact that Victoria’s Secret model on youtube eats chia seeds and substitutes real milk in her cappuccino with soya milk, does not mean you should do the same. And the funniest is that we splash money on supplements, whereas we cannot comply with simple “do not overeat”. There are some basic well-known facts like eating more vegetables is good for you and too much sugar is bad; moderation is good for you, and overeating is bad. People cannot comply with basics, yet, they go mad about antioxidants, gut health (a super-trendy topic for the last few years), superfoods, vitamins, supplements, fad diets, bulletproof coffee – the industry is multi-billion and opportunities are endless (for the producers). Just create a market by persuading masses that they really, really, need it (by employing a celebrity, doctor, nutritionist, Instagram influencer) and money will flow.
Drop me a line if you want to get a list of my trusted sources of information. (Women’s Health or documentary films are NOT among them)
Fat loss expert, elite group fitness instructor and personal trainer based in Sheffield.