Nutrition: Who’s the expert?

We all eat, so we’re all experts on nutrition…or are we? As Dr. David Katz points out in his most excellent Opinion Stew piece on The Huffington Post, on some level we have an intuitive sense on how to eat healthfully, but it gets lost among the competing voices yelling, “I have found the one perfect way to eat and everyone should eat this way.” In most cases, these voices have no basis in science or actual training, only in personal experience. Which is troubling, because there is no single, solitary way to eat healthfully.
This being a nutrition blog, and all, I do talk about how to eat healthfully. But I have the growing body of academic, scientific and supervised practice experience (a.k.a., the goods) to back it up. Even then, you’ll notice that I never say things like, “Eat exactly this, this, this and this.” 
While there are certain common themes among any healthful way of eating (namely, lots of veggies and a focus on unprocessed or minimally processed foods), there are many details to be worked out after that. That is why I am becoming a registered dietitian. I understand and respect individuality, and I’ll never foist a cookie-cutter diet on anyone. I care about what foods someone likes or dislikes. I’ll want to get a sense if someone is an adventurous eater or if they like to work within a limited roster of foods. I’ll learn how confident someone is in the kitchen. I’ll ask about daily routines, and how much time is available to plan or prepare meals. If you someone has a health condition that’s associated with diet, or a family history of one, I’ll factor that in, too. Together, we’ll build a healthy eating plan that’s just right for the person sitting in front of me.

With that in mind, I’m at the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics conference, and expect to have some good info to share!