Ask Leyla: What should I eat and what supplements should I take?

| By Leyla Muedin MS, RD, CDN

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What do I eat and what supplements should I take?

Q: The more I read and listen, the more confused I get about what to eat!  I feel like I need a PhD when I go to the grocery store and supplement aisle.  I don’t know if I’m getting enough of this or too much of that.  What are your thoughts?

A: To answer this question, ask yourself: What health goals do I want to achieve? Weight loss? Blood pressure normalization? Resolution of a nagging symptom(s)? Increased energy? Remission of a medical condition(s)? Or are you already healthy and want to optimize your current regimen?

Remember, there’s no such thing as one diet fits all. That’s because each individual has a unique biochemistry and different health issues, objectives, and/or medical conditions. All of this must be taken into consideration. That’s why I believe a nutrition consult should be mandated as part of a doctor’s visit. This brings to mind a very astute Chinese proverb:

The patient who doesn’t pay attention to diet is wasting the physician’s time. 

This is spot on!

When we use the term ‘diet’, it isn’t always about weight loss. There is the therapeutic diet, which is known as Medical Nutrition Therapy. You may not know that qualified nutritionists are indeed medical nutrition therapists.

Consider that most of our chronic diseases are caused by poor nutrition status and habits. Aside from obesity, type two diabetes is defined as a condition of carbohydrate intolerance. Heart disease, with its origins in inflammation, is propagated by high blood sugar, insulin, triglycerides, and small dense LDL cholesterol particles—all influenced by diet choices.

Greater than 50 percent of all cancers may be prevented by diet alone. A comprehensive nutrition assessment and plan are critical to ensuring the successful outcome of your health objectives.

So if you want to know what to eat and what supplements to take, and are concerned about deficiencies or overdosing on certain nutrients, a consultation with a qualified nutritionist would be to your benefit. It’s also worth noting that nutritionists often consult with other nutritionists— if only for some objectivity—when it comes to their own health in the setting of medical conditions.

To your health!

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