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My General Philosophy

You wouldn't think of ruining your car by running it on fuel that isn't suitable. However, many people seem to feel that it is acceptable to give themselves the wrong type of fuel and wonder why they dont seem to feel as well or energised as they should! 

Nutrition and dietetic advice aims to fit into the bigger, holistic picture of how we look after our bodies, and is intended to guide you back to the best fuel for the type of model you possess!

The fuel I am talking about is your overall diet. It is wrong to think of individual foods as 'good', or 'bad'. There are too many negative messages about food and diet, and this is unhelpful. The advice about diet is also consistent if you listen to the right people, and properly trained professionals, like myself, don't  keep changing their mind or jumping on some fashionable bandwaggon.

Don't forget it takes a whole body of robust trials to establish new evidence about diet, not the odd bit of research which you might read about in a popular newspaper,  magazineor quoted by some celeb!. 

There is room for all sorts of food in your diet, and the wider your dietary repertoire the more likely you are to be eating a diet which provides you with all the nutrients your body needs. Food is after all meant to be an enjoyable experience, and it is OK to have chocolate, cream or even a burger and fries now and then.

What is important is that your overall diet is good, so that if you do like the odd cake or biscuit, you are not eating them to excess and are also having lots of nutrient dense foods.


Fad Diets

Unfortunately there is a plethora of fad weight loss diets [e.g. detox, food combining, blood group diet etc.] that are not supported by scientific evidence in terms of their efficacy and/or safety but which make enticing promises about the speed and ease of weight loss and may advocate dietary and lifestyle approaches out of line with current scientific thinking They may detract from the important long term means of managing weight and confuse people on what are helpful approaches. It can be useful to guide patients to recognise fad diets and resist their quick fix solutions where possible.  The American Heart Association [] suggests the following points may guide people in being able to identify, and therefore avoid, fad diets.  
  • Magic or miracle foods that burn fat.
  • Bizarre quantities of only one food or type of food, such as eating only tomatoes or beef one day or unlimited bowls of cabbage soup or grapefruit.  
  • Rigid menus. Many diets set out a very limited selection of foods to be eaten at a specific time and day, exactly as written.
  • Specific food combinations. There is no scientific evidence that eating foods in certain sequences or combinations has any medical benefit.
  • Rapid weight loss of more than two pounds a week.
  • No warning given to people with diabetes or high blood pressure to seek advice from their physician or healthcare provider.
  • No increased physical activity. Simple physical activities, like walking or riding a bike, are one of the most important ways to lose weight and maintain weight loss. Yet many "fad" diets don't emphasize these easy changes.

Taken from BDA’s  Diabetes in Obesity Management UK publication (2010): The Dietetic Weight Management Intervention for Adults in the One to One Setting: Is it Time for a Radical Rethink? 



Those that promise a quick fix and require very little effort on your part



How to tell what to believe and what not believe as health recommendations in the news/press

Recommendations you probably can believe

Recommendations that may be questionable

Those which require a bit of effort on your part

Those that fall within the realms of reality and sensibility

Those that seem too good to be true (like magic!)and beyond the realm of reality

Those made by pooling together all the reputable studies on the subject

Those based on a single study


The number of people in the study was more than a handful and sufficient in number to be able to carry out proper statistical analysis

Those made from individual case studies only, or only a handful of people


Those based on research that have been ‘placebo-controlled’ i.e. an effect is claimed over and above the placebo effect

Those that are based on research where a placebo was not used may be less reliable: the placebo effect can be 50% in some cases.


Those that are backed by reputable scientific organisations

Those made from non-scientific and non-reputable scientific organisations


Those which back up recognised healthy eating guidelines, e.g. from government or official public health bodies.

Those that do not come from recognised official health bodies


Those that come from recognised health professionals such as dietitians or registered nutritionists

Those that come from non-registered nutritionists or non-health professionals


Those that encourage you to eat a wide range of normal sounding food.

Those that suggest your diet includes food or supplements that don’t normally feature in a diet


Those that encourage the eating a wide range of foods and do not restrict certain food groups

Those which suggest you cut out certain food groups such as dairy or carbs and leave your diet restricted


Those based on independent, unbiased scientific research

Those made to help sell a product or a non-science based organisation


Those based on peer reviewed studies (i.e. those which have had the approval of renowned experts in the field)

Those based on studies published without peer review


Those based on human studies, not just animal ones (known as ‘in-vivo’)

Those based on animal studies or those conducted in petri-dishes only (known as ‘in-vitro’)


Those based on the gold standard of research: Randomised Controlled Trials (also known as RCTs)

Those which are based on studies of what happens to a group of people; these are fine as a research starting point but need to be more vigorously followed up.

Where no-one gains financial bonuses from the product or set-up

Where someone or some organisation gains financially from the product or set-up


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