Quiet the diet: Nutrition sciences department addresses food myths – The Baylor Lariat

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Baylor students enjoy a nutritious meal at the Penland Crossroads dining hall. Mesha Mittanasala | Photographer

By Jacob Boone | Staff Writer

“There are no healthy foods; there are no unhealthy foods. There are healthy diets and unhealthy diets.”

Stanley Wilfong, senior lecturer and program coordinator for nutrition sciences, debunked some common nutrition myths and advised students on how to discover a healthy, individualized diet. While many advertise themselves as “better than the Western diet,” Wilfong said, “that doesn’t mean it is necessarily good.”

“I think students should get educated, but be careful on Google,” Wilfong said. “Most of the stuff on there is inaccurate.”

In recent years, Wilfong said there has been a growth of people with little health science education spreading misinformation online. This has led to the development of extreme diets that profit from nutritional imbalance.

Instead of taking advice from influencers, Wilfong said he encourages students to take at least one nutrition course. Georgetown sophomore and nutrition major Kaylee Pestow said there are many benefits to enrolling in a nutrition class.

“I don’t even know where to start,” Pestow said. “[It can give you] insight on foods you normally glance over and [help you] make changes in what you’re eating and what you’re cooking.”

While health goals vary from person to person, Wilfong said there are certain nutrients that most people are short on across the board.

“We’re not getting enough potassium, vitamin D, calcium, fiber,” Wilfong said.

However, instead of finding these nutrients in complete meals, Wilfong said many people often overprescribe protein and cut out carbohydrates.

“Nutrition is about moderation, balance and variety — making sure you’re getting enough of everything but not too much of anything,” Wilfong said. “You’ll lose weight on a keto diet. You will also lose weight by cutting your head off. I don’t recommend that either.”

Baylor’s support for student health doesn’t end in the classroom. In the field, Baylor’s Peer Nutrition Advisement Program offers students personalized counseling with experts.

“Some of the questions that students ask during these sessions are about how to navigate eating healthy on campus in the dining halls, how to eat healthy on a tight budget, how to shop for healthy foods that they can cook for themselves, as well as concerns about the right amount of caloric intake for either weight loss or gain,” program director Jared Gould said in a previous Lariat article. “More recently, students have also been asking about supplements and how to best gauge the quality of supplements.”

For those struggling with an eating disorder, Baylor’s Counseling Center is available for consultation, support and resources.

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