Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Comparing apples to oranges

9 Comments

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Image by Timothy Neesam on Flickr used under a Creative Commons Licence

A couple of weeks ago I saw someone with “an interest in nutrition” (this according to their bio) attempting to argue with a dietitian on twitter about nutrition. She had posted something about whole grains (I can’t remember exactly what) and he had asserted that vegetables are a better source of fibre than grains and are therefore nutritionally superior. I bit my tongue and restrained my texting fingers as I didn’t want to get into a circular 140 character argument on twitter when I should have been going to bed. Instead I saved my ranting for you. You’re welcome.

I see the argument that vegetables are superior to grains as disingenuous. You remember the saying about comparing apples to oranges, right? Well, there’s a reason for that saying. It makes no sense to compare two things that are very different. Just like comparing apples to oranges is nonsensical, so is comparing vegetables to grains. Sure, some vegetables might have more fibre than some grains. But other vegetables have very little, and other grains have lots. We also don’t eat foods for single nutrients. There are different nutritional benefits to both grains and vegetables.

People often ask me if X vegetable is better than Y. The answer is pretty much always that they’re both good for different reasons. It’s like asking a parent which child they love more. I love all vegetables equally, but differently. Just because one vegetable has more vitamin C in it doesn’t make it better than another vegetable that may have more potassium.

We also don’t eat foods solely for their nutritional composition. Sometimes we actually eat them because they taste good! Eating doesn’t have to only be about what nutrients we can obtain from the food.

Eating isn’t a competition (unless you’re in an eating competition). It’s not an either or proposition. Foods work together to provide us with all of the nutrients we need. That can include both grains and vegetables.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

9 thoughts on “Comparing apples to oranges

  1. Excellent read and just how confusing nutrition has become to those that are not experts.

    Like

  2. Pingback: The Whole 30: A Dietitian Review

  3. I know how hard it is to stay out of an argument when one has so much to say ;)

    But thank you for keeping it for the blog. loved it! :)

    Like

  4. I kind of would have loved to read this twitter argument, and you zooming on in and settling it :)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Top 16 of 2016 |

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