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Bring a Natural Balance to Your Nutrition 

February 27, 2024

Do you know Dietitians Day is celebrated on the 3rd Wednesday of March? This year, it falls on March 20. 

Food and nutrition have been popular topics in the media. The ubiquity of media – print, digital, social media, popular websites, and podcasts – has created new opportunities for dietitians to connect with clients and the public. It has also created challenges. 

Self-proclaimed experts utilize various platforms to garner attention through compelling narratives and influence public opinion by sharing misleading information about food and nutrition. The consequence of this can be the perpetuation of misinformation, fad diets/ habits 

From time-restricted eating (fasting) detox diets to cutting out specific food groups- there is information overload and mixed messages. The confusion, a lack of information on how to meet their individual nutrient needs, inflation, and food insecurity have increased the risk of nutrient inadequacy. Research reveals that public misperceptions about various diets are prevalent, which could worsen existing nutrient inadequacies. This is troubling. 

Confusion can lead to unintended nutritional consequences. 

Soymilk can raise the risk of breast cancer. Fat-free foods are healthier than high-fat foods. Vegans and vegetarians are deficient in protein. Some false ideas about nutrition seem to linger as a terrible song stuck in your head. 

Carbohydrates are unhealthy and are our enemy.                                                   

Carbohydrates are actually the fuel for our body. It is recommended that 45-60% of our diet comprises carbohydrates. Including whole grains, fruits and milk in recommended portions is the way. Refined starchy snacks, cereals, crackers, energy bars, baked goods, sodas and sweets can be particularly harmful as they are rapidly digested and flood the bloodstream with glucose, which is converted to fat by the liver.  

Plant milk is healthier than dairy milk. 

There is a perception that plant-based milks, such as those made from oats, almonds, rice and hemp, are more nutritious than cow’s milk. Firstly, they do not qualify as milk but as beverages since their nutritional profiles are not comparable to milk. If a person cannot tolerate dairy well or has adopted a plant-based diet, their next best alternative is soymilk, which has a nutritional profile closest to milk. 

Soya causes breast. cancer.            

Science does not indicate a link between soy intake and breast cancer risk in humans. Instead, consuming soy-based foods and drinks — like tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso and unsweetened, fortified soymilk, may even be protective against breast cancer risk and survival. Soy foods are also a powerhouse of nutrients beneficial to bone and heart health and a great addition to the diet of those with anemia in peri/ menopausal women. 

Do not eat eggs; they are high in cholesterol.                                                      

Many people abandon eggs but continue to consume foods high in saturated fat such as red meats, meats with skin, processed meats, cream and coconut fat. The frequent consumption of these high-fat foods, a low-fibre diet, and lack of physical activity increase the risk of high cholesterol. An egg a day can be included in the diet of a healthy individual. 

Fundamental nutrition advice keeps changing – a lot. 

In the 1950s, the dietary recommendations for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and the like advised including a balanced diet and minimizing foods high in saturated fat, salt and sugar. The current dietary guidelines encourage the same. Yes, science evolves, but the bottom-line dietary guidance has mostly remained consistent.  

In the past years, there have been major shifts in what, how, where, and when we eat. Plant-based diets are growing in popularity for their sustainability, affordability and positive health outcomes.  

Seek the expertise of a dietitian to understand what a healthy, balanced, sustainable and affordable diet looks like for you and the family. It is vital to ensure achieving a healthy balance for optimal nutrition. And don’t forget to enjoy your food with all your senses and in the company of the people you love. Happy Nutrition Month.  

To connect with a dietitian at SCHC, call 416-642-9445.