Nutrition: Who to Trust?

Weight loss fads have been around for a lot longer than we think.

    • There were corsets to cinch those waists
    • The “vinegar diet” in the 1800’s
    • In 1925 there was a cigarette diet (In 1925, Lucky Strikes cigarettes encouraged dieters to “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.”–wow!)
    • Low carb
    • Low fat
    • The Cookie Diet (come on!)
    • The Grapefruit Diet
    • The shake weight
    • The weight loss belt


The list of ridiculousness goes on and on. Fast forward to more modern times and you have South Beach, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig,  Atkins, Slow Carb, PhenPhen, and Paleo. Hundreds of years of wacky diets and fads and the truth still remains: there is no quick or easy fix, there is no magic pill

In addition to all these fads, there’s also the hype around food itself. Nutritional facts seem to change almost daily. One day eggs are bad for you, the next they are a superfood. Don’t eat chocolate! Wait, chocolate has benefits, eat it! Sugar is bad for you, don’t eat it! On second thought, fake sugar can cause cancer! Eat the real stuff!

Is your mind spinning? I know mine is. It’s so confusing when you’re trying to navigate through fads, hype, scare tactics and bullshit. Add to that the very scary realities that are slowly coming to light about GMO foods, and truly scary stuff we’re finding out about food. I don’t care how anyone tries to spin that Monsanto is a good company, it’s not. They are engineering food that is going to kill us all. I’ve read many books about the scary food that’s out there; for example: The End of Food. It detailed how modified just about everything is. From our tomatoes to our chickens to the seeds we use to grow corn. I also expressed my desire to go off the grid and grow my own food to avoid the GMOs.

This post isn’t a rant about Monsanto, though, it’s about my confusion as to who to trust. Can you trust your doctors? Can you trust newspaper articles? Will you get good advice from a Nutritionist? (I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me their nutritionist told them to eat less than 1200 calories a day! What?!) What about advice from bloggers who are showing some classic signs of disordered eating? What about Doctor Oz?

My answer is this: do what works for you.

I do what feels good. My body lets me know when I’m not doing the right things. One thing I noticed doing the gluten and dairy-free diet was how much MORE processed foods I was eating. I didn’t like that and my body didn’t like it either. I was trying to find substitutions for foods I was craving but couldn’t eat (i.e. chocolate chip cookies that have both gluten and dairy!). The fake cookies weren’t satisfying. While I was doing the diet I also looked for recipes that would fall under both gluten and dairy-free. What I found more often than not was an ingredient list with things I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone find in a grocery store. I’m sorry, but I think I’d rather skip the treat than eat something with weird chemicals in it.

What are my basic needs?

This is a good question for everyone to ask. What do you REALLY need? Doritos definitely don’t fall under that category! The apple I eat for a snack almost every day is something that fulfills my basic needs: it curbs my hunger until lunch, it’s not fake, it’s sweet but not candy, it has fiber and other nutrients I NEED.

Going gluten-free seems to be the newest fad. Michael remarked the other day that he’s now “THAT GUY”– the Portland-Guy-Riding-A-Bike-Gluten-Free-Guy. They are all over Portland! But it’s true! That seems to be the new thing. I feel badly for anyone who truly has a sensitivity to gluten because I know people that are and it wreaks havoc on their bodies. But what about the people that are doing it just to lose weight? Is it a healthy diet for them or just a fad?

(Check out this awesome post I found: 10 People You Can’t Trust For Diet Advice)


A few things to keep in mind when researching your own nutrition. Consider the source. Is this person reputable? I don’t watch Dr. Oz but apparently he’s a cardiologist–so why is he giving food advice? If you’re seeing a doctor/nutritionist, do they have a license or degree? Are you surfing the internet? Then beware of what you find!

The best way to figure out which nutritional information is right for you is to experiment on your own. For me it was going gluten and dairy free for February. In doing so, I did my own experiment and concluded that there was no drastic change that told me I needed to completely eliminate these things from my life. Michael, on the other hand, noticed a huge change eliminating gluten from his diet! It reduced the swelling in his esophagus and reduced his snoring! That’s an awesome change that will positively effect his life and healthy. It worked for him.

So, be careful who you take advice from. Each body is different. Do what works for you and makes your body feel good.

QUESTION: Where do you get your nutritional info and advice from?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

31 thoughts on “Nutrition: Who to Trust?”

  1. Hi Lisa, this post is so relevant for me right now. I decided a couple of weeks ago to cut out most bad carbs from my diet. While it’s not specifically Atkins, it’s lower carb, higher fat than what I’m used to eating. I rarely let people around me know what I’m doing though, someone will always criticize and put a negative spin on it. I know for me cutting carbs helps with bloat, I fight with water weight constantly. And I find I don’t crave sweets as much, my appetite seems easier to control.

    And I agree it’s very scary how modified our food has become. I was reading that the reason people are more sensitive to gluten these days is because the wheat that is grown now is something like 30 times higher in gluten than it used to be. Genetically modified of course, and wheat, like corn, is in everything practically! They tamper with our food supply, people start developing problems that were rarely heard of decades ago. I don’t believe it’s all in our heads, I think genetically modified foods are messing up our body chemistry. I’m sure if we knew the whole truth, we could connect all kinds of disorders and ailments directly back to this.

    And yeah, Dr. Oz is a joke. Seems like all he does is shill weird supplements on his show, never goes into depth on any one topic. It’s like an informercial now. Sad that so many people listen to him but some of his advice is highly questionable.

    On a lighter note, if you guys like peanut butter cookies I found a great gluten free recipe, made them last night and I prefer them to the originals! It’s 1 cup sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 egg. That’s all. 350 for 10 minutes or so, until they are slightly brown.

    1. I agree. There’s always going to be someone with an opinion that’s going to give you grief! Better to keep it to yourself until you figure things out on your own.

      I’ve read similar things about gluten and food sensitivities. I think you’re spot on. Things are so engineered and full of chemicals that our bodies just can’t handle it.

      I’ve never actually seen a Dr. Oz show, just clips, and it seemed like a joke to me. That’s the world we live in –buzzwords get you famous.

      Thanks for the comment and the recipe!

  2. I definitely don’t trust Dr. Oz. He may be a medical doctor but he’s got his endorsement deals and his face plastered on things all over the grocery store. Sorry but if you are making money by telling me this is a good product, how can I believe you?

    I really believe, like you, in moderation. I try to get a good mix of protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies. I don’t beat myself up (much) if I have a beer with dinner one night because the other 6 nights I’m not. You’ve been a great inspiration! (I’m the commenter who asked for the eggplant parm diet back when you first posted about going dairy free)

    1. I agree! He’s on the cover of a magazine every month.

      That’s great that you’ve got moderation down, Christi. I think it makes it easier to stay on track if you have a little bit of everything!

      I don’t remember the eggplant parm diet but I’ll have to go back and look.

  3. This is such a fantastic post. And its hard to believe who/what to believe. I work with several dieticians, so they help with what food does what for a body. But even though they make their living promoting healthful eating/nutrition, a couple of them have almost disordered patterns themselves….which makes it hard for me to trust everything they say. I like your tactic of doing what works for you. And I also like the tactic of keeping it to yourself….everybody seems to have opinons, but only WE know what is best and what works for ourselves! Have a great Tuesday.
    Roz@weightingfor50 recently posted..Vote for Neva!

  4. This is a great post! I have had many “discussions” with my brother-in-law where he bashes Weight Watchers as a bad diet plan and boasts about how great his Paleo diet is…and I spur back saying that eating a well rounded balanced diet in moderation is better than completely cutting things out of your diet…but what does any of that matter if we are both trying to do what is right for ourselves, I think this post really reminds that it’s not about diet is better than yours..its about taking care of your health and being kind to your body. Thanks!
    Robyn recently posted..It’s All Greek to Me (SO CLICHE)

    1. Honestly, that’s one of the big things that I loathe about the paleo diet and the crossfit trend. I’m sure I won’t make friends with this comment but it seems very cult-ish to me and it drives me nuts that people who are into crossfit automatically go paleo and it’s THE ONLY WAY THAT’S RIGHT. Give me a break. There are tons of people out there who are not physically built for intense exercise like CF and it’s a recipe for injury. Same with paleo–a diabetic couldn’t go paleo because all that protein would screw up their kidneys.

      Again, everyone is different and what works for some doesn’t always work for others! Glad you are sticking to your guns. I’ve never done WW but I think it’s a good program.

    1. YES!!! Like I’ve said before, most people want a magic pill or a quick fix. I get it. It would have been nice had my 100 pounds come off without exercise or eating better. 🙂 But it didn’t, it took hard work. 🙂

  5. The shake weight! Perfect, I find it hard to trust others when talking about health and nutrition (ha, I used to have a blog about it :S), I’m not sure I’d even trust a doctor.

    There’s so much crap out there that it does get hard and confusing like you point out! My best doctor is my common-sense when it comes to food, and if I’m unsure, I’ll stay away and then read about it – if it’s good I might go back later. If I don’t know, then I often take it to my mother, I don’t know why but she seems to have a pretty good sense of all of this 😉

    It’s good to know that someone (many – look at the comments!) doesn’t just follow along like a sheep. Good thing that the gluten-free worked for your Michaels snoring! Have a great day 🙂

    – Nick
    Nick Goodall recently posted..Integrity vs Easy

    1. The shake weight!!!!! I took that to a family Xmas party as the white elephant gift. Hehehehe!

      It was a good thing that we tried the gluten free thing–even if it did nothing for me. I don’t think it would have been something Michael would try on his own so he may never have known!

  6. What an awesome post. This is so true. I’ve jumped from diet to diet until I started to learn scientific reasons behind food. Now I’ve never been happier on the paleo diet. It’s what makes me feel the best. I want to go on the cookie diet!!! Wouldn’t that be awesome if it were healthy 😉
    Kristen@Change of Pace recently posted..Sick Kiddo

    1. I think that’s why calorie counting worked so well for me. It was simple and basic and just a matter of numbers in vs out. So much easier for me to do than a fad diet.

  7. Great post. I have lost over 25 kilograms in the last year. When people ask me how I did it, they expect an answer like low-carb or Atkins or Paleo or whatever and can’t handle it when they say I decided to eat in moderation and exercise regularly. They are really surprised that no food is off limits and when I reach my goal weight the “diet” will have to continue forever.

  8. Trust yourself. That is true advice. Discover which foods affect your body and how. I’m a big believer in low carb/paleo/real food type diets, but the proof is in the pudding. If something is not working for you then don’t be a fool and stick with it just because everyone else says it’s healthy.

    But the trick here is that you actually have to pay attention to how food is affecting you. That’s a difficult task when you’re eating lots of different foods — especially if you’ve never paid much attention before.

    Elimination diets are a good place to start, but they can be tough and take a long time. There’s just no perfect solution. And like you say, the food we eat nowadays is nothing like the food people ate 100 years ago.

    Our food supply is wrecked. That ain’t changing anytime soon. So we have to make the best of what we’ve got.

    It’s going to be an uphill battle for most of us. That’s just how it is. But it’s a battle we need to fight anyways.

    Trevor recently posted..The Secret to Achieve Anything You Want . . . and the Surprising Way I Discovered it.

    1. I love your thoughtful comments, Trevor. This one I can really relate to. The GF/DF month I just did was a reminder to me that I do not do well with restriction diets. It just makes me want it even more. But having just a little bit of something within my calories takes all the pressure off.

      It’s definitely sad how gross our food is becoming. I agree, we need to make the best with what we have. For me that means trying to eat as few items that come out of a box as possible.

  9. Every time I visit blogs throughout the day I see all kinds of advice about what to eat. Sometimes I just have to close my mind to what I’m seeing and remember that unless I have a medical condition or a personal belief about not eating certain foods – all foods are permissible.

    That being said, I do appreciate learning about healthy foods, new ways to prepare them, and hearing about things we need to watch out for on food labels, etc.
    Diane, fit to the finish recently posted..My First Experiences at the Farmer’s Market

    1. I know what you mean, Diane. Some of the things I see online are baffling. But I do like getting new ideas for foods/recipes and workouts. Sometimes it’s good to switch things up.

  10. I use the sparkpeople website, and I believe their info because it is written by dieticians, and they always provide multiple references. It has worked for me! Otherwise there is so much misinformation and well meaning people… It can get too hard and confusing.

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