Do You Have Too Many Nutrition Facts in Your Diet? | By Marc David

Magnifying glass on Nutrition Facts on plate with doughnut

And now for something a little different! With many of us and our clients trying to eat more healthily I thought this made interesting reading. In particular, I love the parallels in this article between nutrition facts and self-help facts.

I'm sure you've seen these situations with your clients:

  1. A wish to believe the 'facts' that suit them, and ignore the facts that don't.
  2. How easily people can get stuck 'collecting' facts and end up in 'analysis paralysis'
  3. People dig in and "refuse to believe the hype!"
  4. That 'facts' can be a moving target...

Nutrition facts are easy to come by, yet many of us believe that if we somehow knew all the nutrition information there is to know, then we'd have access to eternal life, perfect health, and a really hot body.

Now I love nutrition facts. I'm quite a nutrition junkie when it comes to learning about the latest info, the current research, the hot supplements or the newest diets. I could probably have a great second career selling all the nutrition books I've accumulated over the decades.

Where do nutritional facts come from?

But at some point, being a bit of a realist, I started to question the nature of nutritional facts. Where do they come from? Who certifies them? And do they pass by a committee of really smart guys with white beards and white coats?

I also started to question the interesting phenomenon of intelligent and charismatic nutrition experts—be they a Harvard doctor, a super smart dietitian, a raw food guru, or a scientifically sophisticated vegan—all touting the right way to eat, all hitting us hard with research and facts to back up their diet, and all saying something very different from one another.

Blueberries on a spoonHow is this possible?

Surely, there must be one expert who is ultimately the smartest and the 'rightist'. If only we could determine which person that is...

Facts are funny things. When they prove our beliefs, we love them. But when they go counter to our most sacred commandments, we tend to become cranky and combative and ready for a moral crusade.

So if you work in the nutrition or health or food fields, or if you simply have an interest in these, it's time to get real about 'facts'. Indeed, it's time to grapple with this one very important and perhaps immutable nutrition fact:

Most nutrition facts have a very short shelf life. We need to simply get over it.

I believe that collectively, it's time to stop the nutrition wars that experts and laypeople alike are participating in.

There are very few tried and true and eternal nutrition facts. Science is a moving target. It always has been and always will be.

We are still growing and evolving in our knowledge of the world. Probability-wise, it’s a bad bet and surely a bit arrogant to think we have found the one correct way to eat, or a nutrition fact that is bullet-proof.

Some examples of nutrition facts that have changed over the years:

  • In the old days of clinical nutrition, meat was considered the king of foods. Not any more.
  • Vegetables were once considered food for paupers and nutritionally bankrupt.
  • Fat was once seen as good for you, then we decided it was bad, and now it’s making a comeback.
  • Oats were once seen as fit for animals alone. Now we put them in energy bars.
  • Supplements, vitamins and herbs were thought of as suitable only for hippies, or yuppies who used to be hippies. Now we have mountains of research on the proven clinical value of so many different nutrients and herbs.

So check in with yourself and ask:

  • How attached am I to the facts about food that I believe so dearly?
  • Do I tend to get overly moralistic?
  • Are there other points of view to consider?
  • Does a nutrition guru who has "the answer" easily sway me?

Yes, facts are important. But like anything else in life, too much is too much.

Of course, I am not anti-science or anti-facts. In fact, I am pro-fact. I'm simply calling attention to what I believe is a very important and necessary nutritional requirement—the need to not overdose on information to the point where it clutters our intelligent decision-making process.

What to do if you recognize yourself?

So if you're suffering from a "high fact diet," then it may be time to let go a bit and breathe. Notice others around you. Does the certainty they carry around their nutrition philosophy truly serve them? Does it serve others?

And crucially, do the facts you hold dear ultimately free you, or limit you?

Apple on top of booksIt may also be helpful to consider where your nutrition knowledge actually comes from.

Knowledge can come to us from so many different sources. And book knowledge in this realm is surely helpful and necessary. But I would suggest that a list of equally compelling sources of nutrition "facts" should include:

  • Body wisdom
  • Intuition
  • Personal experience
  • Trial and error and experimentation
  • Your grandma and the collective wisdom of our stories and traditions


Nutrition facts are like food. Choose wisely, ruminate over it slowly, and constantly check to see that it's fresh and not outdated.

We'd love to hear what parallels you noticed or what you loved about this article. Just comment below.

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Contributing Author:

Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating (IPE), a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Eating Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. IPE is the world's first and only teaching organization dedicated to a forward-thinking, positive, holistic approach to eating psychology. IPE is unique and revolutionary in its approach - teaching students and professionals how to effectively work with the most common eating challenges of our times. For a free ebook series and to learn more, go to

Learn more about Marc & see all their articles here >>

Image of Magnifying glass on Nutrition Facts on plate with doughnut by asiandelight via Shutterstock

Image of Blueberries on a spoon by Kranich17 via Pixabay

Image of Apple on books by Jarmoluk via Pixabay


  1. Hortensia Pineda

    I agree that there is an overload of information on diets. Bottom line is ,I think it's a very profitable business. It is addressing the concerns of over weight people that are willing to try anything in order to fit in. Who decides what is beautiful? What is in? Or what someone should look like? Facts are good but we need to realize that we are all different. What works for someone else might not work for us. Therefore we need to find what is good on an individual basis and not take all that information to heart and try everything out as it will be a miracle cure. We should try what is within our reach and not over extend ourselves trying to buy everything we see when the solution might be simpler than we think.On another note I think it would be beneficial to work on ourselves within and realize that there is much beauty in all of us. For who has the equation for measuring beauty?

    • Emma-Louise

      Dear Hortensia! You raise some excellent points. Yes, the diet (and self-help) industry is overloaded with info. and very profitable - for some at least. I love your point about deciding for ourselves what works for us. AND about working on what is in our reach and not overextending ourselves. In fact I often say the simplest solutions are usually best - but sometimes they are the hardest too (no-one said simple was easy). Beauty is indeed individual - and IN us as well as 'ON' us - like our bodies and faces...
      Great comments Hortensia. Warmly, EL


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