Before diving into the various topics such as weight loss diets, common food myths, superfoods and any other media trends related to nutrition, it’s important to first and foremost ask ourselves the basic core questions: What exactly is nutrition? Why should you care about it ? Where can you find the right information? And whom can you trust?
Let us, the team of dietitians, help clarify this for you.
Nutrition ─ what is it?
Nutrition is a science that is constantly evolving, hence the importance of learning more about it from accredited professionals who have the social responsibility to stay up-to-date on the latest scientific research. Based on extensive knowledge & research that combine chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology, psychology and even anthropology, nutrition helps us to better understand the common links between food, the human body and human behavior.
As these various fields of study are in constant development, with new theories being explored almost every other day, it’s normal for nutrition recommendations to change according to the most up-to-date scientific findings. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that there is a very clear vital link between humans and food.
Eating is an essential basic human need, whether it is used to satisfy our basic hunger, or to provide us with a sense of comfort. As a result, it is crucial that we learn more about how the body works, how it digests foods and how our bodies absorb or use food in order to better meet these needs ─ more specifically, on how it allows for optimal growth & development to ensure the proper functioning of all of our organs (e.g. how diet supports normal brain development in children and adolescents). Nutrition can therefore be boiled down to studying the composition of various foods and to understand their effects on the body.
Nutrition and its Importance
Now, why bother learning more about nutrition and paying closer attention to the foods that we eat every single day?
It is a well-known fact that our eating & lifestyle habits have a direct impact on our overall health. In truth, amongst the most common causes of death in the world, the majority can easily be prevented through a combination of factors such as following a balanced diet and maintaining proper lifestyle habits (i.e. daily physical activity, stress management, a good night’s sleep, etc.).
On the road to adopting these healthier eating habits however, it’s important for us to be curious, to have an open mind and to educate ourselves about foods and the impacts that they may have on our overall health. From understanding what is considered to be a “healthy” diet, to really knowing what are “good” food options, it gives us the ability to make more informed choices independently.
The importance of scientific research and using the right sources for information
But…where should we look for all of this information?
Healthcare professionals should always be considered as the go-to source of information when it comes to health & science related topics ─ whether it is done through private consultations, blog posts or podcasts. Among the vast array of professionals, dietitians are considered to be the food specialists.
In Quebec, the terms “nutritionist” and “dietitian” are the titles reserved for all persons with a university diploma in nutrition lasting three and a half years and supervised by the professional order of nutritionists. However, be careful, in other Canadian provinces only the title of dietitian is reserved. In such cases, a person with little knowledge about nutrition can acquire the title of nutritionist.
Throughout this series of blog posts, we hope to demystify common unfounded beliefs that you may be confronted with in your daily life, your entourage and/or other social networks and to help enrich your knowledge of food, nutrition and the human body as a means to help strengthen your ability to manage a lifetime of healthier habits.
Your dietetics team:
- Laura Nguyen, RD
- Manal Al Brahim, nutrition student