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How to spot nutrition BS

Bearing in mind that amount of stuff that's out there, let’s take a moment to say first that:


No you don’t need to count calories

No you don’t need to finish that

No you don’t need to feel guilty for anything you ate

No you don’t need permission to eat from anyone else

No you don’t need to justify what you do or don’t eat

No you don’t need to count your macros

No you don’t need to stop eating the food you love

No you don’t need to be good

No you don’t need to eat clean

No you don’t need to see carbs as the enemy

No you don’t need to avoid all fat

No you don’t need to look like this or that

No you don’t need to be smaller


You don't HAVE to do any of that. You need to get clear on and then take some steps into your full picture of health.


So with that in mind, in the world of too much information and a lot of crazy promises out there, let’s look at ways to spot that BS when it comes to nutrition.


  • The post or product advocates quick fixes, promises speedy results or tells you about some magical silver bullet that’s going to change everything in 24 hours/4 weeks/a blink in time backwards


  • It promotes good/bad, clean/dirty, cheat/treat meals, or restriction around certain food groups or food substances. No food is evil, and anything that suggests that there is a morality to food is a red flag.


  • It doesn’t quote real, recent, peer-reviewed research. You can make a lot of strong claims that SOUND scientific, but in reality have no substance to them whatsoever. Where did they get their information and was it from a quality source? In social science, we were taught to look for studies within the last ten years, but nutrition is such a young science that I’d be looking for solid, replicable, large, peer-reviewed studies in the last 1-2 years. Are there any meta-analyses on the topic? If that word is greek to you then fair dos - if in doubt get someone who knows what they’re doing around research to check it out for you.


  • Pictures of abs and transformation pictures - your health isn’t about a comparison of your body six weeks ago and now. Abs don’t mean health. Your health goes way deeper than what you look like, and whilst selling based on physical outcomes might seem very attractive, do those pictures truly show deep health for that person?


  • Just do this. Broad, generalised black and white sweeping statements - KETO FOR FAT LOSS, INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR EVERYONE. Does the research support that for those goals, males, females, young, old, medical conditions etc etc?! Nutrition science is not black and white because humans are unique and variable. It’s very unlikely one conclusion is going to suit the entire population is it now? Great nutrition coaching should start with where you’re at, and what you’re willing, ready and able to do.


  • Over-complicated advice e.g. particular supplements, ingredients, amounts, timings etc. A lot of great outcomes can be based on simple behaviours: note I said simple, and not easy. Behaviour change can be hard, and getting you to micro-focus on one tiny aspect can be a way of creating certainty where there is none.


What’s the craziest thing you have heard in and around nutrition?!


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