How do you find the best diet information?

Cynthia Bailey, MD|April 5, 2012

diet, health and skinDiet and lifestyle play a huge, but often misunderstood, role in your health and vitality. That means that they also play a big role in how you look, and I don't just mean your weight. Your skin reflects your overall health and vitality too, which is why I keep coming back to the topic with my patients and readers. I want you to have beautiful, healthy skin and we can't ignore the role of your diet and lifestyle in getting there. But, how do you sift through all the media health information, books and well meaning friend's advice and find solid, credible information - information you can trust and that's worth your effort? Do what I do, find experts that:

  • Keep up with real science as it breaks
  • Sift through it for you
  • Then present it in summaries that are actionable

There's new research coming out every day, but finding it and correctly interpreting it isn't easy. (Remember vitamin E supplements and heart disease?) 3 things about diet, nutrition and health information that make me crazy The following things explain why you need these experts:

First, there's no big pharmaceutical or industry budget out there to promote the new research. You'll see every study in the news that touts the benefits of drugs like statins, but don't expect to see studies on broccoli. You've got to go find them.

Second, when you do see reports about the benefits of nutrition research, it comes from the vitamin and supplement industry, which, in my opinion, will take the research, make a supplement out of it and claim the same benefits as the whole food. My bias is that nutrients are absorbed and used in the company of all the other stuff in that whole food in ways that we don't understand fully. Refining one nutritional element out of the food, processing the heck out of it and claiming benefit is misleading.

Third, we all want a magic bullet. It leaves us ready to fall for some new fad diet or dietary bypass trick like a supplement or protein shake. I just don't buy it!

Who do I recommend you follow and read for the real deal info on diet, nutrition and healthy lifestyle? Dr. Greger is an MD who will put the latest real scientific studies right in front of you. His videos and blogs are entertaining and I'd recommend you subscribe. You'll get a daily dose of information to keep you motivated not to eat that tempting processed food or fall for the latest diet fad or miracle supplement hype. I've already mentioned how much I love Debby's take on health and nutrition. She's a medical librarian at an academic medical center and we doctors know how key a medical librarian is for keeping up with the latest studies. She'll put the good science right in front of you. Let her. She also gets to interview the experts because they come to her institution. It makes for juicy insight that will deepen your understanding of why what they say works. Subscribe to her blog and she'll help keep you on a healthy path. A diet and skin health post of mine that I want to be sure you've seen: The Best Diet For Healthy Skin in 2012 In this post, I summarize what I think is important and link to my other posts where I discuss the points in greater detail. Great skin isn't just about what creams and cleansers you use. What goes into your mouth feeds your skin, so we have to address it in order to get your skin looking great.  The bottom line from my studies of diet is that the best diet for your body and skin:

  • Is a mostly plant based diet
  • Is filled with whole foods (more veggies than fruits or grains)
  • Includes almost no cow dairy (sorry dairy industry, but the evidence is mounting, especially with acne and inflammation)
  • Has mostly low glycemic foods
  • Includes flax seeds (not if you're pregnant) and some probiotic rich foods

The only vitamin I recommend taking is vitamin D (and maybe calcium) and I plan to write an update on that topic soon. Books and a video that are worth a read and look: The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD Foods That Fight Pain by Neal Barnard, MD Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD Forks over Knives, a 2011 documentary film by Lee Fulkerson (you can stream in on Netflix and I highly recommend it) Photo: Thanks and gratitude to Tommerton2012  

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