How to Trust a Nutritionist

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Hi! My name is Allison and I just graduated with a master’s degree in nutrition. I am, essentially, a nutrition expert.  But should you trust me?  Should you believe all of my trendy nutritional factoids?  Let’s experiment with my thoughts on coffee:

Coffee. God I love coffee. The rich flavor.  The heavy aroma. The deep succulent taste that wakes me up with the confidence to tackle life.  Plus, emerging research shows that coffee can prevent depression, keeping drinkers happy and productive.  It is also brimming with antioxidants that fight cancer and keep us energized.  You can feel safe and guilt free drinking coffee regularly.

How was that? A little too bright? Let’s try again:

Coffee is terrible for you. As a nutritionist, I never drink it.  It is an unregulated and addictive substance that yellows your teeth and blackens your heart.  Studies have shown that coffee causes anxiety and depression in regular users.  Plus, it is brimming with carcinogenic toxins that damage your body. You should feel guilty about every cup you drink.*

coffee

Neither paragraph is wrong.  Both are substantiated by scientific studies.  But the nature of science allows us to test and retest theories.  It causes the information we base our recommendations on to improve. To become more complete. 

However, this makes communicating nutritional information tricky. When our opinion on something like cholesterol and heart disease takes a dramatic turn, it causes confusion and distrust.  A recent study showed that seventy-one percent of consumers do not trust food claims from experts.  Seventy-one percent!

The truth is, science, and especially the science of food, is skewed by subjective opinions. With countless nutritional claims, and research studies to support them, almost any statement can be made.  However, not all research is current.  Not every study is legitimate.  And not every expert knows what they’re talking about. Being skeptical about information is healthy.  As a nutritionist, that is my job.  I use my background in hard sciences to interpret the legitimacy of nutritional information, connecting the pieces into one comprehensively delicious picture.

So, hey!  We’re nutritionists and we’re starting a nutrition blog. Our posts will be current, fun and tasty.  But, please, don’t passively believe everything that’s said. Make it a conversation. And together we’ll build some sense of the food we love.

*Allison is a passionate coffee drinker. It pains her to write anything critical about the wonder brew.

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