This nutrition quiz came through my feed this week. I’m a glutton for exercise and nutrition articles so I jumped right in. I find it fascinating to pick through health and fitness information on the internet. Every week someone is coming up with a new way to present information or a new argument for/against clean eating, paleo, IIFYM, ab curls, fat, sugar, calorie counting, portion control, etc. I find it helpful to look at all these different versions of often very similar information. It helps me frame information differently for different people.
A common theme in nutritional articles these days is that there is so much information coming at us that it’s hard to sort out what to buy into and what to leave alone. Often, the message is to cut out all the noise and follow some more general, simple advice. That’s why this article piqued my interest. It’s not advocating for simple. It’s saying that among the constant barrage of often conflicting diet advice, it can be hard to choose which dietary tweaks will give you the most benefit. Then it offers a quiz to help you assess your nutrition know-how and pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. I consider myself fairly well versed in nutrition know-how and figured I would ace this quiz.
So I did the quiz. I didn’t ace it. I found myself empathising with all the people I have ever talked to who were frustrated with said constant barrage of often conflicting diet advice. This quiz adds to the confusion and does little to make dietary choices more clear, intuitive, or simple for the average person. Thanks to question one, I now know that if I want to get more omega-3 alpha linolenic acid in my diet I can get three quarters of a day’s worth by consuming a half teaspoon of flax oil. I could get a third of that from an omega-3 egg that was laid by a hen fed a diet containing flaxseed. Salmon doesn’t contain any alpha linolenic acid, but it is a great source of omega-3 DHA. Great! I am on the road to diet and nutritional success!
I also now know that sunflower oil beats safflower, grapeseed, and olive oil when it comes to Vitamin E and that if I’m dining out and trying to keep my sodium intake down, I should choose Earl’s Lois Lake Steelhead Salmon over Kelsey’s Seafood Lover’s Pasta, The Keg’s Black Cod, and Milestone’s California Spring Salad with Shrimp Skewers.
I’m not saying that this information is not good or useful, but it wouldn’t be my first choice of information to share with people looking to improve their nutritional habits. Some of this is pretty advanced or finicky stuff that could be tinkered with once more general stuff is taken care of. In my experience most of this information is not even necessary once the more general stuff is taken care of. A lot of dietary details fall into place when the big picture is solid. How I tackle the big picture will vary from client to client, but for most, I can help them without ever conveying the sort of specifics found in this nutrition quiz.
Most of my clients are looking for help with nutrition in the context of fat loss/weight management or general health. They typically fall into two groups. Ones that like to follow specific rules and instructions and ones that like to free float within some general guidelines. The former tend to do well with calorie and macronutrient counting, the latter with portion sizing and food choice selection strategies. They can be further divided into those that do well with moderation and those that prefer extremes. The former can go from drinking two cans of pop a day to one, the latter must remove all pop from their life. They all benefit from becoming aware of their current nutritional choices and thinking about whether they help them achieve their goals or not. If you’re thinking about it, you’re already on the right track! If you need help taking it a step further, we can help with that.