When It Comes To Nutrition, Trust Your Gut

There is still so little we know about nutrition. And the scientific data that is out there is weak and divisive. Scientists are just beginning to scratch the surface on how food affects our body, and I think that’s because the interplay between our brain, genes, gut microbiome, and the foods we eat is subjective, complicated, and mutable.

You must be careful not to fall prey to fad diets. Anyone preaching that they know what diet will cure you is undoubtedly not offering a treatment that is supported by reliable scientific evidence. That’s why nutrition and supplements are a billion dollar industry. There is not enough known about nutrition that can either support or refute such claims, and that leaves room for opportunists. Also, the industry is unregulated, so hyperbolic promises abound.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. At best, buying into a fad diet is a waste of money. At worst, it can be harmful and dangerous. I know you’ve all read stories about how somebody was cured by this amazing [fill in the blank] diet. And when you’re struggling with an illness with no obvious cure or treatment, you can feel desperate. I know I did. I was willing to try anything, and I wasted a lot of money and time on bogus and ineffective treatments.

I’m not discouraging you from trying things. I’m just saying to make good decisions. Be open to experimenting, but use your judgment. And I would suggest starting with western medicine first. Medical doctors have extensive training and (hopefully) make decisions based on research, evidence, and experience. Alternative medicine has no rigor, no scientific evidence, no regulation, and alternative medicine “doctors” often make decisions based on magical thinking and erroneous reasoning.

You may be enticed by anecdotal evidence, which does have its merit. Learning what has worked for others can sometimes lead you in the right direction. But be wary of the “success stories” you read online. You don’t know the source, and even if you did hear it directly from the source, there is always the placebo effect that might be at play.

What really matters is what is true for you based on personal experience and self-experimentation. You know your body, and if you are self-aware, your body will guide you. But even then, don’t assume that you have all the answers, because these things are complex, your body is always in flux, and even doctors that spend years studying this don’t have all the answers.

So when it comes to choosing the diet that’s best for you, it’s a balance of intuition and reason. Trust your gut, but maintain a healthy skepticism. Try things out, but don’t expect to find all the answers. And most importantly, take ownership of your health, be your own advocate, and don’t hand over the reins to others who may only be taking advantage of your vulnerability.

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