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Who Can You Trust to Tell You What’s Healthy to Eat?

Perhaps you heard the recent and troubling news story that about 50 years ago Harvard scientists were paid to minimize the link between sugar and its negative impact on heart health. Instead, they pointed a finger at saturated fat, making fat, in general, the bad guy. If you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s like I did, then you probably ate your fair share of fat free items: Cookies, milk, even cheese. It was supposed to be the “healthiest” way to eat.

Although this happened half a century ago, when standards for research weren’t what they are today, it’s still alarming to think that some of the nutrition information you’ve believed to be true your entire life may not be so solid.

When you read a story about nutrition, do you know where it comes from? Should you believe it? Who should you trust for eating advice, anyway? Here are some tips for figuring out who to rely on when it comes to your health.

  • Your doctor.She has your best interest at heart, and if she doesn’t, find a new physician! It’s true that MDs don’t always have a ton of nutrition education, but they have many patients with chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and know what works. And, if you want more help figuring out what to put on your plate, ask your doc to recommend a great dietitian.
  • Go visit that dietitian. Unlike an MD, an RD (registered dietitian; do not be fooled by the title “nutritionist;” it means nothing) has hours and hours of nutrition education. Get hooked up with the right one and you’ll be set up for success. If your doc doesn’t have a recommendation, try to find someone who specifically works with type 2 diabetes clients.
  • Listen to your body. If you get severe stomach pains every time you eat sugar/dairy/meat/broccoli, then maybe don’t eat it. If you feel exhausted every single day, your body is trying to tell you something. Could be that you need more rest, could be that you need less of something, like caffeine or sugar. No one diet works for every body, and learning to trust your own is a gift.
  • Don’t listen to the internet. While it may be the best place for funny cat memes, the internet is generally not the place to get your diet information. You can find an “expert” to tell you any way of eating is the right way, from an all raw diet to an all meat diet. Yeah, there’s some good information out there, but unless what you’re reading was written by a dietitian or a researcher, don’t buy into it.
  • Do your own research. You may not be able to test out three different diets on 200 different people over a period of ten years, but you most certainly can test how different diets make you feel. You can also talk to different people who are in the same position as you to find out what’s working for them.

It’s frightening to think that some of the things we’ve believed to be true about health and nutrition aren’t that way. Don’t let it get in the way of listening to your own body and trusting your gut.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.