Week of the dietitian

There is no better time to reflect on the role of dietitians. You might have guessed it; it’s the week of the dietitian. During this week (14-20 March 2016), more than 200 dietitians in Belgium organize actions about a certain theme, to get to know how professional nutritionists work. This year’s theme is: myths around healthy food.

Why dietitians deserve to be in the spotlight

The recent trend in the media to focus on health, food and a healthy lifestyle makes people increasingly aware of their unhealthy lifestyle and diet. We’re being confronted with healthy cooking programs and programs about losing weight and achieving a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis. The obesity and diabetes rates however, prove that not everyone is acting on this trend of creating awareness for a healthy lifestyle (and living it).

If you have a BMI between 25 and 30, you’re considered overweight. The risk of cardiovascular diseases increases by 1.5 to 2 times. If you have a BMI that’s higher than 30 you are obese and the risk subsequently increases by 2.5 to 4 times. Globally, 1.9 billion people are overweight, of which 600 million are obese. These are definitely alarming numbers.

Get to know the obesity rate in your country: http://www.worldobesity.org/resources/world-map-obesity/?map=overview-women#country=USA

The numbers for diabetes aren’t any better. Globally, 382 million people suffer from diabetes or 8.3% of the world’s population. About 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year. If we take into account that type 2 diabetes is caused by bad eating habits, it’s clear to see that we definitely need to pay more attention to our eating pattern.

This is the point where the dietitian comes into play. Nowadays, we all know proper nutrition is essential in achieving a healthy lifestyle and overall well-being. A nutritionist can help get you that healthy lifestyle, through the offering of personal advice and evaluating your diet. Based on your health goals or medical needs, the nutritionist makes recommendations and puts together meal plans. Seeing as how a lot of myths are being spread around healthy eating –some of which you can read below- calling in a dietitian is a good idea, as he can help you in debunking or confirming these ‘facts’.

Healthy eating: the Myths 

Why do some nutrition myths die and others keep bouncing back, even when there seems to be incontrovertible evidence? Let’s face it: myths and misinformation are a lot more seductive to believe than the truth usually is. One of the probably most frustrating challenges about healthy eating, is all of the conflicting info you can find floating around. One study says that fats increase your disease risk; other studies say it reduces the risk. Social media, famous people and books all help in creating this contradiction in information. That’s why we’re going to bust some of these myths flying around.

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The first one we are going to bust is “chocolate causes acne”. Studies unequivocally show there isn’t a connection between chocolate and skin problems. In fact chocolate may even be good for you. It has positive effects on lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline and reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.

The second ‘fact’ that turns out to be a total myth, is that “eggs are supposedly bad for your heart”. Eggs indeed do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolks –211 milligrams in a large egg. And yes cholesterol is the fatty stuff in our blood that contributes to clogged arteries. Epidemiological studies however, show that healthy people can eat an egg a day without experiencing any problems. The cholesterol we eat, doesn’t have a huge impact on our blood cholesterol. So it’s safe to eat eggs, but eat them in moderation. Don’t exaggerate.

A third myth that definitely isn’t true, is that “calories eaten at night are more fattening than calories eaten in the morning”.  A calorie is a calorie and what truly matters, is how many calories you eat. The timing of those calories doesn’t really matter at all.

It’s important to fast periodically to cleanse toxins from your body”, is the last myth we’re going to debunk. The truth: your body has its own designed system to remove toxins. After all, that’s what your liver, kidneys and spleen are for. There is absolutely no evidence that not eating or drinking nothing but fruit juice, makes this detoxification process any easier.

More myths about food and eating healthy can be found  here.

How much do you know about Healthy Food? Do the test.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Fit, Feel, Food

Weight Watchers International Incorporated fully understands that a healthy diet is an important, yet not the only, piece of the puzzle in achieving a healthy lifestyle. They know that an active lifestyle, as well as being mentally sharp, are equally important as having healthy meal plans.

Weight Watchers requested our Hercules Projects team to develop a tailor made event that revolved around three basic modules: Fit, Feel and Food. In fact, both enterprises joined hands to create this event: Weight Watchers took care of the Food module, Hercules Projects delivered the Feel module and both companies were responsible for the Fit module, though each in its own way.

During the day, a mini Hercules Trophy was organized for the participants, as well as a personality test and some interesting lectures on food and physical exercise.

The event in its entirety fell under the framework of the newly employed strategy by Weight Watchers, that relies on the same three modules. It gave their employees a clear view of the new path the company was heading and prepared them for it, through experiencing it themselves.

It delights us to be able to say that the event was a success, both for us as for Weight Watchers. Creating tailor made events on your request, is one of our favorite things. There’s no limit to what you can ask us to arrange: Hercules Projects rises up to the challenge. Together, we’ll get it done. So if you’re interested in something similar (or something completely different) to the Weight Watchers’ Strategy Event, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sources:

http://www.vbvd.org/week_algemeen.php

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/healthy-eating-myths

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/the_13_biggest_nutrition_and_food_myths_busted

http://www.livestrong.com/article/284404-what-is-the-role-of-a-nutritionist/

http://www.who.int/diabetes/en/

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