Where is your nutrition information really coming from? Have you ever thought about this?
The truth is - nutrition is a science; it is not an opinion or a trend. The science of nutrition involves numerous fields of study including human physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, molecular biology, and psychology. We know that each person has unique nutritional needs which are based not only on their physical needs, but also their psychological, lifestyle, and environmental needs as well.
The ability to take in these numerous factors that make each of us distinct, places a growing emphasis on diets that are customized, using science-based nutrition, to each individual versus a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Unfortunately, the internet is full of “nutrition” that is not backed by science. This requires the consumer (YOU) to be a detective and search out the nutrition information that is grounded in science and decipher this from the phony information.
GenoPalate wants to help you understand what science-based nutrition really looks like by taking a deeper look into what science-based, personalized nutrition really is and why it’s important to achieve your optimal health.
What Is Science-Based Nutrition?
Nutrition information comes from many sources. Whether you are receiving advice from social media, your favorite websites, a book, or a healthcare professional, it is important to distinguish between what is science-based nutrition and what is nutrition information that is not rooted in science. If you think about it, you wouldn’t want to take a medication that isn’t based in science, so why would you want to follow a diet that also is not based in science?
Science-based nutrition is rooted in empirical or scientific evidence that has been thoroughly peer-reviewed. Although a diet affects your friend, coworker, or neighbor a certain way, it does not mean it will have the same effect on your body or that it is scientifically backed. To say it simply, science-based nutrition is based in scientific research. To decipher between what is and is not science based, it helps to compare the two:
Science based nutrition is developed with a methodical approach. This approach helps to identify relevant evidence, as well as analyze and synthesize the data in a standardized way. Nutrition based on scientific evidence combines the best evidence available with that of experience from clinical professionals.
Non-science based nutrition does not have any of these requirements. The nutrition information could be as simple as an idea a friend had or something one individual experienced and observed. This does not mean the nutrition information is incorrect, but it cannot be assumed to be beneficial or even safe.
Another thing to distinguish between is subjective and objective data. Subjective data includes an individual’s perspectives, opinions, experiences, beliefs, etc. Objective data helps to eliminate personal biases. It is measurable and not influenced by the perspectives, opinions, or experiences of others. Although both forms of information are used in various forms in science, when receiving nutrition information from sources on the internet, try to ask yourself “is this subjective - specific to the person giving the information, or objective - free from personal biases?”.
You may be curious about what nonscience-based nutrition might look like. One example of nonscience-based nutrition, which has been disproven, is that consuming fat in your diet means you will gain bodily fat. Fat has many roles in the body, but consuming fat does not mean that you will gain body fat. An example of science backed nutrition is the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is explained later.
Why Is Science-Based Nutrition Important?
The more scientific research that is done on nutrition, the more important it is found to be for our health and wellness. It affects our energy levels, body composition, potential disease states, and overall mood. Like most things we put on or in our bodies, such as medications, vaccines, and supplements, we want them to be safe for ourselves and our families.
Many diets that are not based in science have not been studied for the long-term effects of practicing the diet. Fad diets often promote quick weight loss, but may not be the safest option. Putting the emphasis in quick weight loss does not necessarily mean you are doing what is best for optimal health. It is also very challenging to maintain diets that are strict or that we do not trust to be science-based. This can lead to your weight fluctuating and overtime you may bounce between various fad diets. When following science-based advice, you can be confident that the advice has been researched and is supported by nutrition professionals.
Benefits of science-based nutrition advice:
-Focus on optimal health
-Maintain weight or have steady weight loss, rather than weight fluctuations with fad diets
-Trust in the information
-Limited concern for negative long term effects
Possible negatives of science-based advice:
-May be a large volume of evidence, making it challenging to manage
-If results are significant in a controlled setting, they may not be significant in actual practice
-Results may differ for people with varying comorbidities
How Does Science-Based Nutrition Impact the Individual?
The internet and social media are inundated with nonscience-based nutrition information and diets that promise weight loss and health outcomes. It’s estimated that 45 million Americans start a diet and spend $33 billion on weight loss products each year. Yet, the CDC reports that about 72% of Americans are overweight or obese. Why is there such a disconnect?
The truth is, most fad diets and mainstream nutrition information is not backed by science or personalized to the individual. A lot of the diets, supplements, and nutrition products sold do not have the hard science to back up their health-related claims. These products and diet plans are often marketed well and draw you in with unrealistic expectations.
An example of good, science-based nutrition for the general public is the USDA dietary guidelines, which tells everyone to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and lean proteins. This information in general is a great place to start eating healthy and will often lead to better health outcomes. However, even if every single American ate this way, people would likely still have some nutritional gaps to fill. There would still be room to improve the diet to achieve optimal health.
This is because there are a multitude of factors playing into how our bodies metabolize (digest) and absorb essential nutrients. Understanding the complexity of how efficiently (or inefficiently) one’s body processes food requires further assessment, such as testing “biomarkers” in the blood or DNA in saliva.
How to Evaluate What Personalized Nutrition Advice is Based in Science
Once you are able to identify the areas of inefficiencies in your body, you are able to start taking action with natural health solutions, such as food! For instance, if you learn from a nutrition assessment that you have low levels of vitamin D or that you have a hard time metabolizing vitamin D, this may mean you need more vitamin D than the average person. Even though the national health institute says the dietary reference intake is 15-20 mcg of vitamin D per day, you personally may need more than this. A natural way to increase your vitamin D can be through foods. You may need to incorporate more foods rich in vitamin D, such as fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, sardines), mushrooms, yogurt, milk or fortified non-dairy milks.
Now, some people may think, “why don’t I just supplement all these nutrients with a pill?”. Although this may seem more convenient to some people, vitamin and mineral supplements are not always going to help you achieve the health benefits like real foods will. Scientific studies have shown that providing certain vitamins and antioxidants in a supplement form did not yield the same health outcomes as consuming those vitamins and antioxidants in real foods. Discovering which foods have the nutrients you need more of is the best way to ensure you achieve optimal health.
How Does GenoPalate Take a Science-Based Approach to
We used the example of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a science-based source of nutrition information. This is correct, but the recommendations are for the general population. When based in scientific research, general nutrition advice can be very beneficial. As technology continues to advance, we have the opportunity to become more precise and to understand more about the individual. GenoPalate goes a step further by providing recommendations based on your specific genetic code.
Unlike a lot of nutrition advice you may encounter, science is at the core of GenoPalate’s approach to nutrition. GenoPalate utilizes evidenced-based research on nutrigenomics to make personalized nutrition recommendations. Some of GenoPalate’s scientific standards include:
-Only utilizing research from high-impact clinical trials and population studies in which the results demonstrate direct links between positive health outcomes and nutritional genomics.
-Utilizing a CLIA certified lab - ensuring quality DNA testing.
In addition to being rooted in science, GenoPalate tailors nutrition advice to the individual. This is crucial because we all are different to some degree. GenoPalate has found that based on genetics, foods and nutrients are processed differently from individual to individual. We analyze over 100 genetic markers that impact how you process different nutrients.
Utilizing scientific research on nutrigenomics and your specific genotype, we are able to provide recommendations for macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. These recommendations are then applied to the nutrient profiles of foods in 16 different categories, providing you with a list of foods that best meet your needs based on your genetic results.
Discover What Science-Based Nutrition Could Look Like
If you’re interested in taking a science-based approach to your health, a good place to start could be looking at how your DNA affects your metabolism (digesting of nutrients in food). Download this FREE sample report to see the kind of information your DNA can tell you about the nutrition you need for optimal health. This report explains in a user-friendly way how DNA results impact one’s individualized food recommendations.
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1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2020, September 24). Development of evidence-based nutrition practice guidelines. https://www.eatrightpro.org/research/applied-practice/evidence-analysis-library/development-of-evidence-based-nutrition-practice-guidelines
2. Johnston, B. C., et.al. (2019). The philosophy of evidence-based principles and practice in nutrition. Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, 3(2), 189-199.
3. Schneeman, B. (2015). Science-based regulatory and policy considerations in nutrition. Advances in Nutrition, 6(3), 361S-367S.
4. Greenhalgh, T., Howick, J., & Maskrey, N. (2014). Evidence based medicine: a movement in crisis?. Bmj, 348.
5. Conway, J. (2020, June 25). U.S. diets and weight loss - Statistics and facts. https://www.statista.com/topics/4392/diets-and-weight-loss-in-the-us/
6. Boston Medical Center. (2020, September 24). Nutrition and weight management. https://www.bmc.org/nutrition-and-weight-management/weight-management#:~:text=An%20estimated%2045%20million%20Americans,year%20on%20weight%20loss%20products.
7. Center for Disease Control. (2020, February 28). Obesity and overweight. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm
8. National Institutes of Health. (2020, September 11). Vitamin D. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
9. Burton-Freeman, B. M., & Sesso, H. D. (2014). Whole food versus supplement: comparing the clinical evidence of tomato intake and lycopene supplementation on cardiovascular risk factors. Advances in Nutrition, 5(5), 457-485.
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