Debunking a nutrition myth – Do ‘bad’ foods really exist? Print

By Andrea Holwegner, For The Calgary Herald June 30, 2011

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this month examined the relationship between changes in lifestyle factors and changes in weight over 20 years in more than 120,000 men and women in the U.S.

The researchers concluded that within each four-year period, participants gained an average of 3.35 pounds for a total average weight gain of 16.8 pounds at the end of the study.

Weight gain was associated with potato chips, french fries, sugar-sweetened beverages and meats, among other lifestyle factors. It was inversely associated with eating vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and yogurt in addition to physical activity.

In an interview for Reuters, one of the researchers, Frank Hu, was quoted as saying “the idea that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods is a myth that needs to be debunked.”

I couldn’t disagree more. If you are like many people who read about this study, you might conclude that you should give up potato chips or other “bad” foods. But I’d like you to consider another possible option: what if potato chips and ice cream were as important to your health as getting enough fruits and veggies?

Eating fully is about eating healthfully to physically get the nutrients your body needs, but also eating soulfully for enjoyment and satisfaction. One without the other leads to trouble in your relationship with food and your body.

One of my most important jobs is giving people permission to enjoy food and break the rules to help achieve their goals and optimize their health.

Take one of my clients, Diane, who came to see me for weight loss. Diane was like many people I meet for the first time who think I am the food police and that I’m going to take away their favourites and suggest they eat birdseed and tofu.

As we sat around the table in my office, Diane’s eyes softened and she sheepishly said, “All right, I have to confess . . . I had a DQ blizzard on the way here.”

As I attempted to tell her that I, too, enjoy ice cream she interrupted me, looked at me sternly and said “and it was a large.”

As Diane and I talked further, I learned ice cream was her favourite treat. I also learned that she probably only had one or two Blizzards a week, which wasn’t a big deal. I was far more interested in the day-to-day things that Diane was doing rather than what she did occasionally.

Once Diane let go of the notion that ice cream was bad and understood that she could continue enjoying this soulful food, she had the positive drive she needed to work on other nutrition changes that mattered more.

This mindset shift to think abundantly and less about deprivation allowed Diane to lose the weight she desired.

Rather than thinking about what you should give up, focus your attention on what you need to eat more of.

If you decide to rebel against labelling food as good or bad and to establish an all-inclusive mindset surrounding food, you might notice that this freedom gives you the encouragement you need to move forward in your healthy eating efforts.

Andrea Holwegner, the chocoholic dietitian, has owned Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. Visit www.healthstandnutrition.com or phone 403-262-3466 for more information on personalized nutrition counselling and to subscribe to her blog or free monthly ezine.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Debunking+nutrition+myth/5028394/story.html#ixzz1RMVDJNDz

About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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