Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo.  Today we are debunking some of the Nutritionism claims.  Keep in mind Nurtitionism and Nutrition are two very different fields.  If you’d like help better understanding your Nutrition and not falling into the -ism category, give us a call: 806-322-3188. We have certified Nutrition experts on staff ready to help you get a handle on what your body needs.

Have you heard the word Nutritionism floating around in social circles lately?  It is a view that the value of food is only that of its nutritional parts, not the food as a whole. In other words, an apple is not healthy; it is merely a vehicle for the healthy Vitamins A, C, B2….

I disagree with this approach founded by America’s food companies and advertisers.  I believe that an apple, soup, or dinner can be healthy due to the sum of its parts.  Also, tallying macros (carbs, protein, veggies, etc.) throughout the day is easier for most people to remember (myself included) than trying to count vitamins and minerals.

Unfortunately our society is easily swayed by the whims of the food industry.  As a personal trainer in Amarillo I have a tough time walking the aisles of the grocery store being bombarded by the Buzzwords of marketers.  It is hard for people not to buy into what they show us as “important”. Have you ever noticed the advertising strategy on cereals? “Now with more Calcium”, “whole grain cookies”, “probiotic yogurt” or “A good source of Vitamin D”.  We’ve heard these elements eons ago in a Chemistry or Biology class somewhere. People have a funny way of associating scientific jargon with something important.  “If they wrote it on the box, then it’s definitely something I need more of…”  By and large, the general population is willing to spend money on things they believe to be healthy without ever looking at the nutrition label or ingredients list on the back of the product.  This puts money in the pockets of advertisers and marketers.

For example, take a Kellogg Granola Bar.  Seems innocent enough. Front of the box is plain. $3.00 will buy you 8 bars. The ingredients list seems a mile long and the first 8 ingredients are forms of processed sugar.  Hmm.   The next shelf up is Kellogg’s Fiber Plus Antioxidant 5 count for $2.50.  What are you paying more for? Consult the ingredients list:

Chicory Root Fiber, Rolled Oats, Crisp Rice Cereal (Rice Flour, Sugar, Malt Extract, Salt, Caramel Color, Mixed Tocopherols for Freshness), Sugar, Semisweet Chocolate Drops (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Dextrose, Milk Fat, Soy Lecithin, Confectioner’s Glaze [Shellac, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil]), Inulin from Chicory Root, Vegetable Oil (Hydrogenated Palm Kernel, Coconut and Palm Oil), Canola Oil, Fructose, Contains Two Percent or Less of Honey, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Glycerin, Tricalcium Phosphate, Whey, Chocolate, Salt, Gum Arabic, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Sorbitan Monostearate, Polysorbate 60, Vitamin E Acetate, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Zinc Oxide, Almond Flour, Nonfat Dry Milk, Whole Wheat Flour, Partially Defatted Peanut Flour, Soy Protein Isolate, BHT (for Freshness)

Defatted Peanut flour, you say?! Mmm! Unfortunately the 33% more the average consumer is paying the food industry for “healthier” products is not translating into actual healthier foods.Readers, you are not gullible like that. You won’t fall prey to this sort of thinking, right?  

If you take anything away from this blog, please remember this: Nutritionism is not a good thing – especially when it comes to eating well and losing weight.  If you want to succeed in your physical and nutritional transformation, you need the food as a whole to interact within your system, not reduce it to mere elements (that may or may not actually be in the food). Cherry picking nutrients to include or exclude from the diet is going to do nothing more than cause you a headache.

 Nutritional researchers have found time and time again that extracting elements from food such as Vitamin C or A and ingesting it in an isolated or “enriched” form is still not as effective as just eating the food it came from.  Why do you think that is?  The compound of nutrients in one food interacting with other grains, proteins, and carbohydrates is where our bodies find health.  

Don’t Make these 4 “Nutritionism” Mistakes

Here are the 4 main premises and MISTAKES that make up Nutritionism and my take on why we should avoid them:

Nutritionism #1: Foods are just a combination of nutrients.

What’s wrong with that:

Nutritional researchers have found time and time again that extracting elements from food such as Vitamin C or A and ingesting it in an isolated or “enriched” form is still not as effective as just eating the food it came from.  Why do you think that is?  The compound of nutrients in one food interacting with other grains, proteins, and carbohydrates is where our bodies find health.  

Nutritionism #2: Scientists as Experts

Food manufacturers have been looking to “scientists” for how best to extract nutrients and market their foods.

What’s wrong with that:

Since around the 1970’s, food companies have been paying microbiologists to examine the effects of elements on a person’s Biology.  Sounds fancy, yes.  Unfortunately this is a mistake since we’ve now become overly focused on eating a particular antioxidant or element of a food rather than relying on sound eating principles that have supported us for tens of  thousands of years.

Nutritionism #3. Good vs. Bad Foods

As scientists tell us what the good part of a food is we are becoming overly focused on staying clear of “bad foods” that contain saturated fat and consuming “good foods” that contain a

beneficial vitamin or mineral.

What’s wrong with that:

Instead of concentrating on a eating a variety of foods we are told to focus on certain foods that contain a particular “good substance” while completely writing off the others as “bad.”

An example of this type of thinking gone bad is when butter was thrown out in favor of margarine or whole eggs being pushed aside for egg substitutes, which we now know were major health mistakes…

Nutritionism #4. Stressing Out Over Eating

Now that we’ve been bombarded with needing to get in enough fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, omega-3’s, etc., etc., etc., we’ve lost sight of how we should really be viewing food and the act of eating.

What’s wrong with that:

Eating food used to be about sharing a meal, bringing family together, community, and pleasure. However, now that we have so many harmful sugars, salt, and unhealthy fat in our diets we’ve

lost track what eating used to be about.

It still is possible to focus on cooking a delicious and healthy meal and not having to worry over whether you got enough antioxidants in it.

The bottom line is that when you focus on eating a wide variety of whole foods (the kind that come without a label and contain ONE ingredient) you won’t have to worry so much about how many calories you’re consuming or whether you got enough vitamin B3 that day.  Look at the ingredients list. Read the nutrition labels.  Do your research on name brand labels.

Eating healthy and enjoying the way you eat is not a paradox.  Once you immerse yourself in a lifestyle that supports health, losing body fat, and being active it will all come together naturally.

Did we overwhelm you? Are you ready to start fighting back against the food industry by becoming a more knowledgeable buyer, but don’t know where to start? Touch base with our team at 806-322-3188 or info@customfitness.biz.  We have a plethora of resources that will help you become healthier without the sayso of Advertisers. We also offer many great programs such as nutrition counseling, personal training, group fitness and more. We are ready to get you on your way to your goals. At Custom Fitness we are YOUR personal trainer in Amarillo.  Have a great day.