Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Are You a Nutritional Hippocrite?

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The idea for this post came yesterday as I was eating yogurt for a snack. I was enjoying a Stoneyfield Farms organic vanilla fat free yogurt but decided that I wanted a little bit of crunch with it. Looking at the cereals open in the pantry, I decided on a handful of Fruity Pebbles. I will wait just a moment for you to get over the shock that I actually had Fruity Pebbles in my house. My husband has an affinity for sugary cereals and I oblige him for his sweet breakfast and occassionally some lands in my bowl as well. While some dietitians bash sugary cereals, I actually think cereal is a great breakfast for kids and adults, even if there is a bit of sugar added (Fruity Pebbles actually has 3 grams of fiber, too). Rest assured, I typically eat cereals with more fiber and less sugar. However, what made this particular scenario so funny was the fact that the yogurt I was eating was organic and as I poured my Fruity Pebbles on top I thought, "I think the Stoneyfield people who probably cringe if they saw me pouring this cereal with lots of sugar and artificial colors and flavors on top."

Am I a nutritional hippocrite because I am eating artificial color on my organic yogurt? Should I not bother with the organic yogurt and get another brand with artificial stuff???

This snack brought up the question about what other ways we might be nutritional hippocrites. My brother Troy Timpel, a tattoo artist in Philadelphia, told me a long time ago about one of his favorite meals at one of his favorite bar/restaurant called Tattooed Moms on South Street in Philly. The manager, Chubs, told him one time to get the Hippocrite Burger, which is a veggie burger with cheese and bacon on top. Do the cheese and bacon cancel out the benefits of the veggie burger?

Another common one I hear is drinking a diet soda with a high calorie meal or snack. As long as you are going to blow it and have a hot fudge sundae, why not just get a regular soda with it? Haven't you already blown it? Cheese sauce on broccoli? Does the cheese ruin the good nutrition of the broccoli?

Not so fast. My brother and I both agree on this point. At least he is not getting the greasy regular hamburger and is saving some calories and fat by getting the veggie burger. It is funny to think about eating vegetarian with the burger and then getting the anti-vegetarian food of bacon on top, but who cares? If that is what you like, get it! And, if you get the diet soda instead of the regular, you are still saving yourself a lot of sugary calories by getting the diet instead.

Remember that there is no such thing as a perfect eater or a perfect diet. We cut calories some places and not in others sometimes. Even if you add "unhealthy" foods to an otherwise healthy food does not detract from the health benefits of the good foods you are eating.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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