How Do Nutritionists Debunk Nutrition Myths for Clients?


    How Do Nutritionists Debunk Nutrition Myths for Clients?

    Nutrition professionals often encounter myths that can hinder their clients' progress towards healthier eating habits. In this article, we explore four such cases, with insights from a Holistic Health Coach and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. From debunking the carbs myth to addressing the sugar addiction misconception, learn how these experts' advice transformed their clients' dietary approaches.

    • Debunking the Carbs Myth
    • Fiber's Role in IBD Management
    • Beyond Calorie Counting
    • Sugar Addiction Misconception

    Debunking the Carbs Myth

    "Carbs make you fat." FALSE!

    Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred source of fuel and extremely important when it comes to energy, overall health, supporting our thyroid, food variety, and carbohydrates are also where we get our fiber! It's essential that we don't cut out carbohydrates or any whole food groups.

    Limiting refined carbohydrates is important. We can simply focus on getting enough of the "good" stuff to influence our decisions rather than focusing on restriction. Aim for 25 grams of fiber per day.

    Letting people know that carbs are more than ok is a game changer for sustainability and food freedom rather than just another restrictive diet.

    Lauren Irick
    Lauren IrickHolistic Health Coach, Fit & Fueled Method

    Fiber's Role in IBD Management

    In my practice, I encountered a client with ulcerative colitis (UC), a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), who was fearful of consuming any foods containing fiber, believing it would exacerbate her condition. This misconception is common, but in many cases, excluding fiber can actually be detrimental for IBD management. Fiber, particularly from anti-inflammatory plant foods, is often crucial in maintaining long-term remission.

    To address this, I carefully guided her in reintroducing fiber-rich foods into her diet. We focused on soluble fiber sources, ensuring they were cooked, blended, or puréed to ease digestion. This gradual approach allowed her digestive system to adapt without causing discomfort or flare-ups; remarkably, she soon began tolerating and even thriving on a fiber-rich diet.

    This intervention not only helped in managing her IBD more effectively but also improved her overall health. Debunking the myth around fiber and IBD in this case highlights the importance of personalized nutrition advice and the need to challenge general dietary misconceptions that are not evidence-based.

    Danielle Gaffen
    Danielle GaffenRegistered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Eat Well Crohn's Colitis

    Beyond Calorie Counting

    For a long time, calorie counting was held as the gold standard for determining health and, particularly, weight gain, maintenance, and loss. However, making decisions about food intake based solely on counting calories can lead to significant dietary deficiencies, inflammation, and an unhealthy obsession with and attachment to the caloric value of food. The measurement of calories tells only what energy a food provides and shares nothing about that food’s contribution to daily nutritional requirements of essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and fat. By shifting this mindset and taking a broader approach to health, real physical and mental health transformation is possible.

    For one client, the creation of an eating plan that focused on whole foods, including fat, saw a significant improvement in their mental health, the loss of inflammatory indicators such as sore knee joints and blocked sinuses, a massive decrease in the occurrence of headaches and insomnia, and weight loss. By moving the focus away from the calories and toward the nutritional value of the food, massive health improvements were achieved. Counting calories has limited use in determining a person’s health.

    Louise Mathwin
    Louise MathwinNutritionist, Louise Mathwin Nutritionist

    Sugar Addiction Misconception

    As an addiction expert, I often encounter clients who have nutrition myths that interfere with their recovery. One case that I remember is a client who believed that sugar was addictive and that he had to avoid it completely. He thought that eating sugar would trigger cravings for drugs or alcohol, and that he had no control over his sugar intake. He also felt guilty and ashamed whenever he ate something sweet and blamed himself for his addiction.

    I had to debunk this myth for him and explain that sugar is not addictive, and that there is no evidence that it causes or worsens substance use disorders. I also explained that sugar is a source of energy and pleasure, and that it is okay to enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet. I helped him overcome his fear and guilt around sugar, and to develop a healthier relationship with food. I also taught him how to cope with cravings and emotions without using drugs or alcohol.

    As a result of this intervention, the client reported improved eating habits, mood, and self-esteem. He also reduced his substance use and achieved his recovery goals.

    Trent Carter
    Trent CarterNurse Practitioner, Founder, Curednation