Whitney English Tabaie, MS, RDN recently listed it among popular nutrition myths in a popular online video.
She is titled section “5 Things I’d Never Do as a Dietitian (Again)”, noting that she made some of these mistakes herself.
In her previous career as a Hollywood entertainment reporter, Tabie said she was immersed in a culture where people were “too focused” on appearance, so quick fixes to losing weight were very popular. She fell prey to some of those bad health advice herself.
“After going back to school and becoming a dietitian, I learned how inaccurate a lot of these ideas are,” Tabai, who lives in Palo Alto, California, told TODAY.
“Basic, simple, balanced nutrition isn’t sexy and it doesn’t sell…but the truth is that the general things we know about nutrition aren’t all that shocking or difficult. It’s really simple: eat whole foods, eat quality ingredients, and listen to your body to tell you when you’ve had enough.” versus following these highly restrictive dietary rules.”
Here are the five things my doctor would never do as a dietitian:
Quick take: Counting calories leads to an obsession with quantity over quality, and is often counterproductive when it comes to weight loss.
The function explains: Calorie counting makes sense because calories versus calories in determines whether you maintain your weight or experience weight loss. However, it is not so simple. Health and weight loss are also determined by behaviors. When people start counting calories, they often focus on these numbers – the quantity of what they eat versus the quality.
When you consume a lot of nutrient-poor, low-satiation foods — things with less fiber or protein — you may immediately eat less, but feel less full.
People may eventually reach a breaking point and end up overcompensating and eating too much later. It may backfire on weight loss, as it is not the best option for overall health. If you focus on something lower in calories versus higher in micronutrients, you may find yourself suffering from a nutrient deficiency.
Count the macros
Quick take: Aim for protein, fat, and fiber at every meal—no need to underestimate them.
The function explains: Count the macros It has become a very popular dietary method, both for weight loss and for body composition, but such a strict approach to nutrition is not necessary. First, because it’s not easy to spot our individual differences and to determine exactly the best macronutrient combination.
Also, when it comes to weight loss, research shows that equal diets – meaning the exact same amount of calories – lead to similar amounts of weight loss, whether it’s a different percentage of fat, carbs, and protein. There is no research showing that one is better defined than the other if the calories are constant.
A caveat to this is that if you eat a certain way — eat more fiber, for example — you’ll actually feel fuller with fewer calories. So it’s not exactly that macronutrients are not important, but that counting a certain amount of macro nutrients is not necessary for weight loss and for overall health.
For muscle gain goals, you want to get a certain amount of protein. But that doesn’t need to be scaled to T, and it’s not important to specifically balance that out with carbohydrates and fats. You just want to make sure you meet your minimum protein needs.
Clean the juice
Quick take: You are not “detoxing your system” or “relaxing your organs,” but you are loading your body with sugar.
The function explains: Juice cleansers have fast-fashion allure. People think, “I will do this miracle cleanse for two or three days or for a week, and it will either solve all my health problems or lead to weight loss.” If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
We don’t have any randomized controlled trials on a juice cleanse, but what I can tell by combo is that it does not lead to long-term weight loss. Juice cleansing is very restrictive. People may be able to consume a lower amount of calories for a few days or even a week and see some weight loss, but then go back to eating the way they were eating before and the weight comes back.
A juice cleanse also makes you very hungry. You get calories from sugar, but you don’t have fiber because it’s been removed from the fruit, so it takes away the satiety factor. Juice contains fewer nutrients than whole fruit. A whole apple may be a much better option than juice.
If you want to incorporate more fruit into your diet, make a smoothie out of bananas, strawberries, or blueberries, add a handful or two of greens, plant-based or unsweetened milk, and maybe some silken tofu or protein powder for a balanced, meal Rich in nutrients that won’t make you feel hungry after a short while.
Quick take: Carbohydrates are the fuel of our lives. Restricting it is ineffective and unsustainable.
The function explains: The satiety factor is one reason why you might want to include more high-fiber or complex carbohydrates. The fiber in carbohydrates will help people stay full for longer and reduce overeating. in one Randomized controlled trialOne group of participants ate a low-carbohydrate diet while the other group ate a high-fiber, high-carb diet. When both groups ate as much as they wanted, the high-fiber group ate fewer calories per day and experienced greater weight loss. They were so satisfied that they didn’t need to eat any more.
Carbohydrates are also one of the most health-promoting nutrients when we consume whole foods, which means that carbs come packed with fiber. High-fiber carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.
Glucose, the main sugar found in carbohydrates, is what fuels the whole body with it. It is essential for nourishing healthy red blood cells and energy in our brain. Evolutionarily speaking, it’s our favorite energy source. Carbohydrates are found in most typical meals around the world. People love carbohydrates. It is hard to avoid and it is not necessary to avoid it.
Eat cauliflower crust pizza
Quick take: It’s gross and not pizza.
The function explains: This speaks to the low-carb craze as we’re seeing an increase in products replacing broccoli with things like pasta or pizza.
But it’s usually not as nutrient-dense as the original thing if you’re eating a whole-grain pizza with the fiber in there.
Personally, I don’t think they taste good. I know a lot of people who would rather eat a whole, hearty, whole-grain brown rice bowl than a bowl of cauliflower. This is not knocking cauliflower. I love cauliflower. I hope you include it in your diet. It is a nutrient-dense vegetable. But you don’t need to replace whole grains with it.
People feel compelled by some of these primal things and almost try to trick their minds into thinking they like these frank foods, if you like them, because they think they are healthy, but most people really prefer to have a regular pizza.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.