Although nutrition has still essential to our well-being, it has been elevated to cool as well-being has become more mainstream over the years. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Pro: More and more people are learning about the subject. Disadvantage: There is an abundance of good and not so good nutrition advice available everywhere (online, books, podcasts, social media), which is why knowing the basics of nutrition is essential to be able to differentiate what is best. fashion and what is actually good advice. .
To assess your level of nutrition, consult the nutritional IQ test, which assesses your nutritional knowledge. Spoiler alert: the quiz is hardand this is from someone who makes a living interviewing nutrition experts and writing about it.
The good news is that no matter how high you score, there’s always room for improvement. Once you take the short 10 minute nutritional IQ test (it’s free!), keep reading a dietitian’s advice on how to increase your nutritional IQ and, most importantly, how to implement those learnings to reap the benefits.
Tips from a dietitian to improve your nutritional IQ test score
Choose your sources wisely
From influencers to trainers to health and wellness professionals, there are a lot noise in the nutrition space, especially online. For this reason, Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, Founder and Director of real nutritionstrongly advises looking for sources that are backed by evidence-based research, which means that when sharing nutrition information, they reference or link to studies that back up their comments.
If reading is your learning style, Shapiro suggests reading scientific books and articles from reputable online resources such as Healthline, Pubmed, or Well + Good (shameless take). Podcasts are another great way to digest (no pun intended) nutritional knowledge while doing other things, and the same advice applies here. “Listen to those who interview credentialed people who work with evidence and facts rather than theories,” Shapiro says.
And on the whole, “avoid [sources] that sell a product and promise quick results/fixes,” Shapiro says, which usually doesn’t work in the long run.
Know your goals
Everyone’s body is different and not all nutritional advice is one size fits all. For example, a gluten-free diet may be beneficial for people with gluten allergies, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. That’s why Shapiro stresses the importance of knowing your body, your symptoms, and your goals. Don’t feel like you have to jump on the latest nutrition trend or hot topic just because everyone else is doing it. As a general rule, Shapiro says advice that asks you to cut out an entire food group or drink/consume their specific product every day is unlikely to be best for you.
Work with a professional
When in doubt, it’s always best to get personalized nutritional advice from a professional based on your specific symptoms and goals. While anyone online can call themselves a nutritionist, Shapiro notes that dietitians go through years of training, help with your nutrition based on evidence and science, are licensed, and must undergo ongoing education to maintain their license. “They can interpret your labs, sift through your symptoms, and help you build a program that supports your goals in a healthy way, making sure you stay well and feel your best throughout the process,” says she about dietitians. So be sure to do your research to find a qualified professional.
Shapiro also recommends having your blood work taken, which can help guide your nutritional needs. “Ask your doctor for all labs, including hormone panel, thyroid panel, inflammation markers, blood sugar, cholesterol, [and] triglycerides,” she says. Again, it’s about finding the nutritional information that will be beneficial to you More precisely.
How to implement nutritional knowledge
Nutrition IQ aside, implementing nutritional learnings to improve your overall well-being is what matters. As with any kind of change, it’s not always easy. The solution: implement one change at a time. “Don’t try to change your whole life, diet, and habits all at once,” Shapiro says. “Start something, let it last, and build on it. Healthy habits often breed other healthy habits.”
Another pro tip: pair the new habit you want to incorporate with the one you’re already using, i.e. habit stacking. For example, Shapiro says, if your goal is to start taking vitamins, putting your vitamins next to your toothbrush will serve as a reminder. Or, if you want to drink more water before your morning coffee, place a water bottle or glass next to your coffee maker. These minor tweaks can set you up for success.
And above all, be consistent. “You won’t see any results, even for the most promising articles [or] programs unless you’re consistent,” Shapiro says. His advice? Commit to three months to implement the changes and re-evaluate at the end. Remember that change takes time, she adds, and consistency is what moves the needle.
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