Quinn columnn: Seek right advice on nutrition


I’ve been called a lot of names in my day. “Nutri-bird” “The Diet lady” “Dr. Quinn, Nutrition woman” (I’m not a doctor but that didn’t matter to one of my clients.)

Nutrition professionals identify themselves with credentials. RD or RDN (Registered Dietitian or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist ) both designate experts who have earned degrees in nutrition or a related field from accredited colleges and universities.

Why is this important? Because nutrition is a science. And if we’re going to trust information about how substances in food influence our health, we need to hear it from someone who understands the complexities of this process and can translate it into personal advice.

Nutrition is also a practical science. And here’s what’s interesting: All the intricacies we’ve discovered about how the human body uses nutrients often point to simple, basic truths.

Reminds me of a patient I had several years ago. He listened thoughtfully as we spent a lengthy amount of time on ways he could improve his diet.

Finally, he said, ”I think I get it. It’s all about moderation.”

I heard that thought echoed in a recent letter from Marty, a reader in Oregon who tells me he worked in the produce and grocery business for 45 years.

“I saw a lot of what people put in their shopping baskets,” he writes. “Especially the 80-plus shoppers. Nutrition is not rocket science, they inform me,” he continued. “It’s — drum roll, please — everything in moderation. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Like an apple a day or a little glass of wine. Or what great grandma knew best … roughage keeps things moving.”

Indeed, it’s fascinating how research can often confirm what our mothers told us all along.

Another reader, Ruth E., asks for clarification on the “certified Angus beef” label.

Dear Ruth: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, all meat is inspected for wholesomeness. But the assignment of a grade (prime, choice or select) — which is a determination of the product’s tenderness — is voluntary.

Meat that carries the “certified Angus beef” label must be graded, however, because only beef that grades Choice or Prime (and comes from black-hided cattle typical of the Angus breed) can qualify as “Certified Angus beef.” Select grades don’t make the cut for this particular label.

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at barbara@quinnessentialnutrition.com.)


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