Oops! Did I say that? Nutrition Misinformation…

This past week two different people told me “the trainer at the gym told me not to eat fruit after 2 PM because it will turn into fat”.

Hold on….. WHAT???  Ok, I did hear that correctly.

Both times I think my blood pressure rose way beyond healthy levels.  Seriously. This is so very WRONG on many different levels:

1)   Like the adventurous eater told us, no ONE food (or for that matter ONE meal or ONE day) will make us gain weight. It is the repetition of overeating and not paying attention to our hunger cues over a period of time that can cause this.

2)   There is no research to support what this trainer said and I’m doubting he/she has had years of training in nutritional sciences.

3)   It’s ridiculous to say that fruits, which are high in nutrients, low in energy, and high in fiber, are the culprit of weight gain.

The moral of the story: Be a nutrition information critic. There are so many harmful fad diets and false “health” claims out there.  If you are told one food will make or break your health, you should probably forget the information you heard.  If a product’s health claim sounds to good to be true, chances are it probably is.

How can you combat so much misinformation?

Be an informed consumer:

*Talk to a registered dietitian.  Registered Dietitians (RD) are nutrition experts and have access to the current nutrition research. Find one who can help you in the particular area of nutrition you need assistance. (i.e. sports, weight management, cardiovascular health).

*When in doubt, remember that whole foods usually provide the most nutrients.  This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, dairy, lean meats, and whole grains.

*Know that no one food, one meal, or one day makes or breaks your health (or weight).

*Check your source.  Is there a body of research to support the claim or does the claim sound too good to be true? And, remember, just because a doctor or trainer said it on television doesn’t make it true.

Have you been the victim of nutrition misinformation lately?  I sure hope not, but it seems that it is almost inevitable.  But, we can be skeptics and increase our ability to recognize false information when we see or hear it!

Check out Washington, DC-based dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield’s post on nutrition misinformation in the media as well!

This post is by Janet Zimmerman, a University of Memphis Nutrition Student and Schilling Nutrition Therapy, LLC Intern. You can follow Janet on Twitter as well at http://twitter.com/JanetZimmerman

8 thoughts on “Oops! Did I say that? Nutrition Misinformation…

  1. As a trainer, exercise is my profession. A good trainer is a humble trainer who will admit when he/she does not have the answer or is not an expert in all areas. I always direct any questions regarding nutrition as an opportunity for my clients to see a dietician. I get questions all day and when I get a question about nutrition (like a rehearsed script) I refer them to go see my dietician. My clients appreciate my humble attitude and love that I have to see a dietician for my needs as well. It shows them that they are not alone in seeing a dietician. Also admitting that I don’t know enough about nutritional needs makes my clients respect me even more. It gives me time to focus on planning an appropriate workout plan for clients. Leslie is by far the best dietician I’ve worked with and my clients love her and have seen better results than anything else they’ve tried. My advice to trainers: be humble, befriend a dietician (preferably leslie), and focus on your area of expertise: exercise.

  2. I JUST wrote a similar blog post as well! There is so much information flying around out there and it is frustrating as a nutrition professional to talk to people who are villainizing food groups, going on dangerous fasts and generally confused about intake. I hope more people like Jeff refer nutrition questions to the experts – thank you! This type of coordinating care will best serve and protect all of our clients.

  3. Hi,
    I think you may be hearing this more b/c of a new diet book out call “The 17 day diet”. Today, Good Morning America had a segment on this book written by Dr. Mike Moreno. Part of what he promotes is no grains or fruits after 2pm. I wasn’t really paying attention to the broadcast until I heard this so I am not sure what his reasoning is behind it. According to GMA, the diet is going viral via the internet. It has also been advertised on The Doctors and Dr.Phil.

    I agree it is very frustrating as a nutrition professional to hear this misinformation. I try to keep up with all the new diet fads out there. I recently read the Paleo diet as that seems to be a big thing here in Colorado.

    Thanks Jeff for recognizing dietitians as the nutrition experts.

  4. Thanks for the comments Jeff, Ginger, and Kristie! We appreciate you stopping by.

    Jeff- we are SO grateful that you recognize when you do not know adequate information for your client’s nutrition questions. Thank you for not spreading more misinformation and understanding that we all have a different expertise! And, I have to agree with you that Leslie rocks :)

    Ginger- I read your post and we must have been on the same brain wave length ;-)

    Kristie- I will have to look into that new book. It is so sad that many fad diets are put on the market and further confuse the public. A “17 day diet” is obviously not sustainable for a lifetime.

  5. I just heard about the Paleo diet for the first time just a couple of months ago. I don’t know how I feel about it but eating meat at every meal seems a little bit extreme. Sounds a lot like the Atkins diet.

    And Jeff I agree with everyone that I’m glad you are able to recognize your own expertise and a dietitian’s. It’s good to hear that someone else is getting the word out about us! :)

  6. Actually, your trainer was correct. Fruit is high in sugar and sugar has been proven to turn to fat in the body – the fructose sugar to be precise. Overconsuming fruit will indeed lead to weight gain. Limit fruit intake.

    • Hey Jenny,
      Thanks for leaving a comment. You are correct in stating that too much sugar, particularly added sugars aren’t a great thing for the body. And, fruit does have a nice amount of naturally occuring sugar that the body can used as energy that provides fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Not overconsuming is key for any food. Overconsuming foods on a regular basis causes the body to store fat. “Proven” is very catiously used word in science. Feel free to post a reference from a peer-reviewed, scientific journal stating “proof” sugar from fruit turns to fat.Thanks again for checking out the Born to Eat Blog! We appreciate all comments!!

  7. Good thing I came across this article! I will have to talk to my AP Biology teacher for misleading me with her “eating fruits after 2:00 pm will become fat” lesson.

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