Nutrition Rules – Follow At Your Own Risk

I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day scanning the magazines at the check out counter and I kept seeing headlines with the words ‘nutrition rules’ or ‘rules of nutrition’.

Follow the Rules or Else!
Follow the Rules or Else!

This is disturbing because people tend to believe things that are written in magazines (I have no idea why)…and when something is presented as a ‘rule’ some people will blindly believe it. I guess some people think that if it’s printed it must be true!?

Fitness and lifestyle magazines use the word ‘rule’ in headlines because it’s powerful and people are always curious to see if they know about the rules or if they can follow them. It just goes to show you how well trained we all are at following instructions and not thinking for ourselves.

It seems that most people however will not investigate the validity of the claimed rule and whether or not it’s worth following at all.

If you go to your local newsstand you can find hundreds of ‘rules’ of nutrition. But are any of them valid or worth following?

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself the next time you see a list of nutrition rules:

1. Who is telling you about these rules and are they a credible source?

2. Are the rules backed by science?

3. What is the consequence if you don’t follow the rule?

4. What is the supposed benefit if you do follow the rule?

5. What is the proof that following the rule will actually produce a benefit?

6. Is it possible to get the benefit without following the rule?

Unless you have a graduate degree in nutrition you will not be capable of answering question #2 but the rest of them are pretty easy to follow up on.

A good example would be any, and I mean ANY weight loss ‘rule’ of nutrition that is any more complicated than calories in vs calories out.

The simplest way to test this rule would be the answer to questions #6 from above.

For example: Can you lose weight without following any of these weight loss nutrition rules:

low carb

low fat

glycemic index control

meal timing

nutrient ratio mixing

raw foods

carb cycling

calorie cycling

blood type dieting

…and on and on…(I think you get the picture)

If you can get the desired result ie: weight loss, without following the rules ie: any of the garbage rules I just wrote above…then you know the rule is bogus.

Apply these simple questions to any ‘rule of nutrition’ and you’ll quickly find out if it’s bogus or worth a second look.

John