08/05/2011 11:35 EDT | Updated 10/05/2011 05:12 EDT

Forget Diet Trends -- Do What's Right for You

Diet trends change with the wind and our entire population blows with them. When did we start trusting the "news" and "studies" more than our own instincts? As a nutritionist, I am asked to debunk food and diet myths all the time and am respectful that each person's belief system is a delicate, hard-earned matter. It is hard to change a person's opinion even when that opinion hasn't served them well at all.

It is hard to argue with the statement "vegetables are good for you" but it happens... "What about the pesticides?" The answers are often not black and white but somewhere in the middle ground. Some experts say that the benefits of eating vegetables far outweigh any negatives of consuming pesticide residues.

Remember the '80s, when all fat was bad for you? We now have a more discerning view of what fats are good and which are to be avoided. But still, I have known people who are afraid to eat a nut. (Gasp! But they will make me fat!) An avocado? Are you kidding? Isn't that verboten when I am on a diet?

No. What I think is verboten is pig-headedly clinging to some myth that said "fat-free" cookies were a better idea than a small amount of calorie dense, nutrient dense food. Especially when that food could keep you feeling fuller longer, help your body make hormones, keep your skin looking supple and younger and help your brain stay sharp!

The next argument is... "Oh, yes, well, you say that now, but in a year 'they' (meaning science, I guess) will change their minds." Maybe that's how the scientific method works. We know what we know for now and if there is a new discovery, you might have to change with it.

The trick is to take a step back, and critically assess the whole picture. Does the information you are hearing make more sense than the information that is already stuck in your head? Will it help you or hurt you to shift? What's the cost vs. the benefit of making the shift? Now you are better equipped. Hey, you can always go back to your old way if the new way isn't better. Convinced?

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