Category Archives: Nutrition

Protein Intake in Youth – A JAND Article Review

Watch this video to see a summary of the August 2017 JAND article: Early Life Protein Intake: Food Sources, Correlates, and Tracking across the First 5 Years of Life.

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How to Address Concerns About Dietary-Induced Cancer


If you are a nutrition professional, then you may often find yourself addressing the media-induced health concerns of patients and clients.  With the wealth of nutrition miscommunication out there, it is no wonder that many people are afraid of getting cancer from a variety of food products.

This happens often.  Concerns about qtq80-7YYXI8carcinogenic substances in our food and water are real and should not be trivialized.  However, how do we know if there is enough evidence to justify every concern?

How do we know if a food causes cancer or not?

What do we tell any patient or client who reads these scary claims?

As nutrition professionals, we can reference evidence-based recommendations and evaluate the available research.  But…

Do you ever find that you do not have time to complete a literature review on all the claims that are brought to you?


Rest assured…there are wonderful resources for you, the nutrition professional, to reference.  Other experts have done the leg work for you.  All you need to do is read then use your judgment and communication skills.

One great resource for the scientific literature on substances that are questioned to cause cancer is the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).  More specifically, their monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans.

iarclogo Take a moment to look at these two examples that are commonly claimed to be cancer causing:



Use your professional judgement to determine if there appears to be substantial evidence supporting the claims.  Remember to look at the populations studied, the doses, and duration of exposure, and the size of the effect.

Many people take the presence of evidence to be a cause for alarm.  They do not realize that a great deal of applicable evidence needs to be available before guidelines are developed and recommendations are provided.

For example, observations from studies evaluating effects of herbicides on agricultural workers should not be directly translated to the public.  Obviously, the agricultural workers would have greater exposure for a longer duration.

When warranted, use evidence from sources such as the IARC to deescalate an anxious situation and refocus a patient’s attention back to well-known, unrefuted healthy behaviors.

 The IARC is not the only credible resource, but it is a great place to start.  

To learn about other wonderful professional resources, sign up for Professional Insights newsletter and download a free guide to the ‘4 Areas of Focus to Enhance Your Nutrition Career’.


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Why Some People Choose Fad Diets Over Nutrition Counseling


 As nutrition professionals, we consistently learn and lecture that fad diets are not beneficial, could be detrimental, and should not be followed.  And research evidence supports these claims. 

However, the public is not listening.  

     Mainly because this is not what they want to hear.  Part of the reason that fad diets are always going to be so popular is because they provide an answer.  Not necessarily an easy, effective, or healthy answer, but an answer nonetheless.

So, if fad diets appear to provide an answer, then authorities opposing fad diets appear to provide the opposite of an answer…which is a problem. 

qtq80-3aWAurFor example, Suzie wants a weight loss solution.  She comes across the “no white foods” diet which is purported to help her lose weight and be less moody. She also finds a blog written by a dietitian that ripped the “no white foods” diet apart and recommends nutrition counseling for weight management. 

Which way do you think Suzie is going to go?

    Most nutrition professionals will tell you that Suzie picks the “no white foods” diet because she doesn’t care about research evidence and wants an easy fix.  This is true. 

  We are evidence-based practitioners working in a culture where empirical evidence is not prioritized above anecdotal evidence and promises.  The priority to nutrition professionals may be nutritional health while this is not the case for most people looking to fad diets for an answer. 

Although there is validity to this concern, this is only part of the problem…there is another aspect that is often overlooked by nutrition professionals. 


The main issue involves errors in professionalism and tone.  It’s all in the way in which the nutrition professional presented herself. 

Suzie would choose the fad diet over the dietitian’s sound advice because she does not perceive the dietitian to be the expert in this scenario.  Instead the dietitian that tore apart this fad diet comes off very negative. 

This emotional negativity overwhelmed the sound advice.  

So, how do we address fad diets without compromising our ethics?

  To be perceived as the primary experts, nutrition professionals need to maintain positive sentiments and remain empathetic.  We do not need to compromise our ethics in order to recognize the motives, skills, and preferences of our patients. 

   As opposed to discouraging the use of fad diets, find commonalities and encourage healthy behavior change.  Strong discouragement of fad diets should be reserved for times of nutritional risk.  Let’s face it…most people can maintain nutritional health and avoid white-colored foods. 

   In other words, we need to use fad diets as a tool.  The simplest way to make the best out of fad diets is to find common ground and work from there. 

To learn about the positive aspects of fad diets, read: Why Some Nutrition Professionals Do Not Discourage Fad Diets.



For more professional strategies, sign up for Professional Insights newsletter and download a free guide to the ‘4 Areas of Focus to Enhance Your Nutrition Career’.



The Author: Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD

DSC_2591-Edit Dr. Golem earned a PhD in Nutritional Science with an emphasis in Exercise Science from Rutgers University.  As the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals, she is dedicated to helping nutrition professionals become their best.

Connect with Devon on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Why Some Nutrition Professionals Do NOT Discourage Fad Diets


There are over 6000 fad diets published online and a review of these has revealed some themes that nutrition professionals would appreciate:

  1. The Importance of Dietimportant

Fad diets have done our field a favor by supporting the notion that diet influences many aspects of life.  Compared to those who would never think of changing their diet to feel better, people who reach to fad diets are contemplating the connection between diet and body.  The authors of fad diets undeniably connect dietary intake with physiology…although the devil is in the details.  Be aware of this broad perspective and use this connection to help your patients.

  1. Dietary Awarenessqtq80-b4zoEq

All fad diets require that followers be aware of the food they are consuming.  Many who try fad diets become aware of their previous eating patterns, their specific food choices, and alternative choices available to them.  This is a great opportunity for nutrition professionals to encourage further awareness and increase dietary knowledge.

  1. Behavior Changeqtq80-9fcHdT

In one way or another, fad diets have dietary limitations and allowances.  Whether it be specific foods that need to be avoided or times in which consumption can occur, followers are learning skills related to dietary behavior change.  Some of these diets are extremely difficult to follow, but aside from the specific details, followers are gaining experience with behavior change, even if it is only temporary.

  1. Dietary Planningqtq80-ErzHLs

Many fad diets require a lot of planning to maintain compliance.  This provides the followers with practice developing grocery lists, looking up menus before eating out, and planning alternatives when eating away from home.  Fad diet followers often learn to use planning as a technique to overcome barriers to behavior change.  Again, these are all desirable skills that will come in handy when working to make dietary changes for life.

It is time to eliminate the notion that nutrition professionals are negative nay-sayers that will not work around the preferences of their patients.  Progressive nutrition professionals recognize that not everything is in black or white.  Do not choose righteousness over relationships.  Try to see things from the perspective of fad diet followers and help them build on the skills that they have already acquired.


For more professional strategies, sign up for Professional Insights newsletter and download a free guide to the ‘4 Areas of Focus to Enhance Your Nutrition Career’.



The Author: Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD

DSC_2591-Edit Dr. Golem earned a PhD in Nutritional Science with an emphasis in Exercise Science from Rutgers University.  As the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals, she is dedicated to helping nutrition professionals become their best.

Connect with Devon on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Request to Join one of her LinkedIn Groups:

Advising Parents About Grocery Shopping With A Child With ADHD


The trip to the grocery store is one of the biggest challenges faced by parents of children with ADHD.  Applying behavioral strategies and involving children in the food selection process can be extremely valuable in setting them up for a lifetime of healthy choices.  They can learn about planning ahead, organizing lists of needs, and selecting foods based on budget, preference, and nutritive value.

Here are 3 effective strategies to teach parents of children with ADHD when it comes to grocery shopping.

qtq80-aZxg1BMake a list and stick to it.

Involve the child in the planning process by having them help make the grocery list at home.  Children learn from example and need to see the thought process that goes behind making a grocery list.

  1. Determine the period that this grocery trip is going to cover: 1 week, 2 weeks, a special occasion.
  2. Staples: Which foods are staples that always need to be purchased? What is the rate of consumption of these foods?  How much will be purchased?
  3. Meals: What will the breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals consist of for this period?  Which foods are needed for those meals?  Have the child/children help with food inventory…”how much cereal do we have left?” Involve the children in food selection for the meals.
  4. Coupons/Discounts: Children can also learn about budget by finding coupons for items on the list.

qtq80-pSsj8FDiscuss healthy food choices.

All parents and children know that fruits and vegetables are healthy.  Yet, they rarely talk about it.  One strategy to get children with ADHD focused on healthy eating is to talk to them before and during the grocery store trip.  Peruse the grocery list and count the number of fruits and vegetables.  Older children can rate the healthiness of each.  Allow the child to select fruits and vegetables that are appealing to them.  Incorporate one at each meal.  Explain the need to eat more than 5 per day.  Set expectations for your child.

qtq80-UGqotOMake grocery shopping fun!

Children with ADHD can easily become distracted, irritated, or unsettled when they are not engaged.  Engage the child with small tasks such as a scavenger hunt for the cheapest Greek yogurt, allowing them to select one new fruit or vegetable for the whole family to try, or encouraging them to select all the items for one meal that they want to help prepare.  This kind of engagement ensures that they are involved in the process, that their opinion matters, and prevents them from being entertained by the food marketing that is directed to them.  This strategy increases the amount of fun that they associate with grocery shopping.

When kids are having fun, parents are having fun!

Most parents who approach nutrition professionals with questions about nutrition and ADHD are expecting information on nutrient therapies and advice on elimination diets.  They are elated to learn that nutrition counseling spans to include dietary behaviors and food environments.

Behavioral modification strategies for both parents and children are needed to ensure nutritional health for the whole family. So, parents need to learn these strategies.  Nutrition professionals can not only discuss this with parents, but can demonstrate on a grocery store trip.

To learn more about nutrition interventions (nutritive and behavioral) for children with ADHD, take the Nutrition & ADHD course (2 CPEUs)  or the Nutrition & ADHD course bundle (10 CPEUs) at the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals.  These courses provide a background on ADHD, a review of the evidence behind specific nutrients and ADHD, as well as a discussion on several nutrition behavioral strategies to implement in nutrition interventions.  The bundle also provides experience with real-life ADHD nutrition interventions.

Great nutrition professionals include nutritional considerations into their nutrition interventions.  Do not be left out, learn how to help families eat better today.

Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals
Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals

© NOVEDGO 2016

5 Myths Uncovered About Nutrition and ADHD


Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) has been in and out of the media for more than two decades.  There is a lot of information out there and some of it is…false.  To help clarify fact from fiction, here are 5 myths about nutrition and ADHD uncovered.

  1. ADHD is caused by food intolerance.


Search online and you will find that many people believe that ADHD symptoms are caused by food intolerance.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Although there may be overlapping symptoms, this neurological condition is not caused by food intolerance or sensitivity to foods.   There is no evidence to support that food is anyway involved in the cause of ADHD.

  1. Hyperactivity in ADHD leads to underweight status.qtq80-WXBOdw

There are a couple issues with statement.  One, the hyperactive symptom does not always manifest in gross motor movements.  Sometimes it is manifested in fine motor movements such as tics, blinking, or other minor movements.  These could not possibly lead to a considerable energy deficit.  Secondly, most children with untreated ADHD are at risk for being overweight due to their impulsive eating behaviors.  

  1. Food additives worsen ADHD symptoms.qtq80-4GhLxS

There is a paucity of research when it comes to the effect of food additives, such as BHT or BHA, on ADHD symptoms.  Anecdotal evidence reveals that some children benefit from eliminating these and other food additives from the diet.  So, many parents of children with ADHD want to try elimination diets despite the lack of sufficient evidence to support them. 

  1. The content of the diet is more important than dietary behaviors.qtq80-l3rPkI

There are a few nutrients that have been linked to ADHD, but these do not take center stage in the nutrition care plan.  Many of the nutrition issues that a patient with ADHD encounters are related to dietary behaviors.  The nutrition professional will often focus on eating behaviors, food environments, and creating food boundaries.  Whether an adult or a child, the patient with ADHD needs assistance learning specific routines that help them coordinate healthy eating with ADHD behavior management.

  1. Nutrition professionals will never help clients with an ADHD Elimination diet.qtq80-DkPjEL

Nutrition professionals have a bad rep as being dictators who are unwavering in their fight to get people to eat tasteless diets.  Truth is, they are looking to involve patients in their own health by providing them the tools and support necessary to succeed.  Almost all nutrition professionals are open to incorporating the preferences of the patient into the nutrition care plan, even if these preferences are not supported by a lot of research.  They are more concerned about their patients being nutritionally healthy.

nutr-and-adhd-cover planning-an-elimination-diet-for-patients-with-adhd

To learn more about Nutrition and ADHD, go to and search the catalog for the Nutrition and ADHD bundle.  This includes a lecture-based module and an opportunity to gain experience with a popular elimination diet used to treat ADHD.  Altogether, this is worth 10 CPEUs for RDNs and NDTRs.  You can also opt just to learn more information through the Nutrition & ADHD lecture-based module alone (worth 2 CPEUs). 


© 2016 NOVEDGO