Why can’t nutritionists just tell me what to eat?!

26 January 2014

Nutrition is a tricky business and most definitely not as simple as some would think. Our fab nutritionist Kimmy has put together a blog explaining how our bodies are so different and unique…


The answer is simple… Nutrition is not as simple.


Nutrition is not black and white. We do not eat nutrients we eat foods. Each food contains different nutrients and the interactions between food and nutrients is very complex.


The nutrient content in foods vary massively and I do not just mean between meat and rice and veg etc. I mean the same foods can have very different nutritional content. Carrots for example can vary massively

…. What time of year is it? When and where were they picked? How ripe were they? Where were they stored? Were the cooked and if so how were they cooked and for how long? Was oil/salt used? What did you eat them with? What else did you have that day?


Consuming a cooked carrot with a little bit of fat will result in absorbing more vitamin A than raw carrot. This is because fat is needed for the vitamin A to be absorbed and is more accessible if it is cooked and has a smaller surface area. For example, in general, carrot and coriander soup with some cream will result in more vitamin A being absorbed than chomping on a raw carrot. Am I saying that carrot and coriander soup is the healthier option?… Not necessarily… perhaps you are getting enough vitamin A in your diet but need more of another nutrient (some evidence has found that cooking carrot removes some potassium).


It is extremely complex. A mix of many different reactions take place at the one time and it is difficult to determine what causes what. Furthermore the effects may not be immediate, it may be in years time. There is strong evidence that the foods that we are weaned onto as a baby have an effect on health in later life.


Studies can say very different things. One day a magazine will tell you a food is good for you and the next it supposedly will cause cancer. Science is constantly progressing, research is ongoing to try and understand nutrition more. We have a long way to go. The truth is that a lot of nutrition studies are funded by the industry and can sometimes be very biased so it can be difficult to determine true scientific fact.


There is also a lot of bogus websites and diets that talk about miracle diets and super foods (Enter Peter Kay ‘she lost 14 stone in a day!’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuiDHfXPrCo – 2 mins 15 sec in). Nutritionist is not a protected term meaning that anyone can call themselves a nutritionist and give out advice (sometimes this advice can be very dangerous).


I have not even touched on other factors such as genetics, age, gender, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, mental health and many other that all have a huge effect!


There is not a one size fits all. Everyone is different and everyone needs different needs. Just be sensible with what you eat.


Limit sugar and saturated fat, consume more fruit and vegetables, drink more water and you will be on to a winner J