by Aimee Wojtowecz
You probably follow some social media influencers. On Facebook, Instagram or Tik Tok, there are countless people out there providing massive amounts of information; more information than any generation has ever had instant access to. Sometimes they’re flashy and loud, sometimes they present their information simply and clearly. Regardless of presentation, how do you weed through the countless nutrition tips all over the internet?
First, listen to your gut. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s probably also not safe or sustainable. Safe and sustainable weight loss is a slow process, much slower than weight gain (yes, bodies are weird like that!). We talk about an average of between half a pound and two pounds lost per week as a sustainable goal. And when we’re talking weight loss, we really should be talking fat loss. Losing weight is simple, but losing fat while maintaining or even increasing muscle is an art form. And on the other side of the coin, anything promising to add 10 pounds of muscle in 20 days is also probably not going to work. The average rate of muscle growth for males is 1-2 pounds per month and for females around 1 pound per month. This is with consistent weight training and an intentional nutrition plan.
Second, do your research. By research I don’t mean typing into google “How to lose 20 pounds in 10 days” and reading whatever comes up. This is called confirmation bias, or looking for articles that already support the position you’re trying to research. If you’re into evaluating scholarly articles, you want to be using google scholar. It’s free just like google and not limited to only people doing academic research. You also want to be asking a more neutral question, for example, “What is a safe rate of weight loss”. Rapid weight loss can even trigger disease conditions such as stress-related hypothyroidism. Extreme calorie cutting and stressful conditions that result in rapid weight loss can impact thyroid hormone levels and how those hormones are converted into their usable forms. Sustainable and slow also equals safe here.
You also want to be researching the credentials of the person presenting the information. Do they hold a professional certification? What’s their academic background? In the United States professional nutrition regulation is not universal between states. There are some states where it is a heavily regulated profession and there are other states such as New York, that are considered green states, meaning there are almost no regulations. This is where things get a little tricky with language. In NY anyone can call themselves a nutritionist and give out nutrition information with zero training or education in nutrition, but to be called a “certified” nutritionist they must be licensed through the state and have gone through extensive educational and professional training. Make sure you’re looking for someone who has some kind of professional nutrition certification and training.
Lastly, use the resources around you and talk to a trusted professional. We have nutrition coaches here at the gym that you can talk to anytime, even if you’re not a nutrition client! If you have a question about some information you’ve heard, please ask. We would be happy to help you evaluate that information and have had extensive training to be able to do so. Better yet, sign up for a 15 minute FREE intro and ask us all the questions you want, EVEN if you never sign up for nutrition coaching! We can even refer you to Registered Dietitians if you have more complex health issues that need special concideration.
All this said, there are reputable information sources out there on social media if you can sift through the noise to find them. Some of the top nutrition influencers that we recommend are:
Check them out for some quality nutrition information and let us know what you think!