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Nutrition claims require examination

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DECATUR – “You'll lose 10 pounds in a week.”

That nutritional claim caught the attention of everyone in the audience at the Decatur Family YMCA, but only because they knew it was a red flag.

The Y hosted the first of four free Workplace Wellness Series classes on Monday. The class, “Be Your Own Diet Detective,” focused on the reliability of nutritional information. It was led by dietitian Caitlin Huth,

Huth proposed a simple game to test the nutritional knowledge of the audience. Scientific jargon, lists of “good” and “bad” foods or diets requiring or limiting one type of food were flagged as unreliable.

“Quick fixes are typically never long term,” Huth said.

Angela Foulke, director of health and wellness at the Y, said many members ask nutritional questions as part of their fitness regimen.

“Hopefully, we can continue to offer it because I know it's something the members want,” Foulke said.

The Y paid for the University of Illinois Extension Office program and also provided a healthy lunch.

“I want them to come because I want them to learn,” Foulke said.

Huth discussed ways to find credible information. The title “nutritionist” doesn't mean the person is a registered dietitian and most health professionals do not have extensive training in nutrition.

A point made clear when Y member Janice Long brought up the Dr. OZ show.

“How do you find out what’s real?” Long said.

“It's tricky,” said Huth, a nutrition and wellness educator with the extension office. “That’s why we have diet-related disease problems in this country.”

Long, a diabetic, said she stopped watching the show because of all the conflicting information.

“I was getting so confused,” Long said.

She's already registered for the remaining three classes and is hoping to learn more.

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