The food that we eat and the events that take place during digestion is a complex science. Beyond the limited scope of what might be remembered from an eighth grade health class, very few understand these complexities. What’s worse is the constant presentation of poor and sometimes even false information about this process and the way in which it affects our bodies. When surveyed, most Americans admit to taking much of their dietary cues from friends and family or the media. Unfortunately, friends and family are often just as misinformed. The media, particularly those groups involved in the marketing of products that we consume, can often provide misleading information in an effort to sell more of their products. Are sports drinks really a good source of hydration? Is the Paleo diet that the neighbor raves about really the answer to shedding unwanted pounds? Is the barbecue chicken wrap a healthy alternative when ordering at the burger restaurant named after a red bird? Warning: The answer to that one may be shocking!
The end result of this confusion is that many individuals live day-to-day in a constant state of dysfunction; their bodies protesting with the warning signs of fatigue, inflammation, undesired weight gain, and illness. Poor nutrition and dietary habits are problems that carry serious consequences, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 10 percent of Americans are now diabetic with an additional 30 percent classified as pre-diabetic. Poor diet is identified as the primary cause of Type 2 diabetes, and a recent study points to a very strong link between obesity and breast cancer. The list goes on and on. Of course, most individuals do not purposely aim to maintain unhealthy eating habits. A Registered Dietitian (RD) can help make sense of this scientific puzzle.
As a qualified medical professional, an RD is able to provide an individualized plan and the education needed to optimize body function and help cut through some of the misinformation. A Registered Dietitian is licensed through the state and has earned a four-year degree from an accredited university, which is an important point to contrast against the qualifications and education of others that may offer nutrition counseling at the local gym or the late night infomercial. Dietary counseling is a growing discipline, and Registered Dietitians can now be found practicing in our community, where at once they were difficult to find. Ask your physician or physical therapist about recommending an RD. It might be a good investment of time and money in order to avoid the financial and personal consequences of poor health.
Tip of the Day
Take charge of your choices! Make a commitment to cook at home more often for the next 30 days. Then YOU are in charge of what you eat and you know exactly what you are eating.