5 Things Everyone Should Know About Nutrition

We know that readers have lots of questions about what foods to eat, what types of diets to follow and what nutrients are responsible for what. 

Conversations about nutrition shouldn't feel so complicated. We're going to simplify it for you—here's what you need to know. 

Fad Diets Don't Work Long Term

Fad diets eliminate entire food groups or have extremely strict rules. They may result in some weight loss at the beginning (if you can stand it), but the vast majority of the time, people gain the weight back after they discontinue the diet. Eating a balanced diet with the right number of calories is the best way to manage your weight. 

You Probably Need More Fiber

According to the 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines, the average person doesn't get enough fiber. You need fiber for healthy digestive system function, and some types of fiber can help regulate cholesterol. Increase your fiber intake by eating whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. 

You Probably Need More Fruits and Vegetables

This one goes right along with fiber. Few people regularly eat a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables, which is sad because they're low in calories, high in fiber and very high in various vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet by eating more salads, snacking on fresh fruits, trying out different vegetable preparation methods, and nibbling on raw veggies instead of chips. 

Food Packaging Labels Can Be Misleading

All processed and packaged foods must have Nutrition Facts labels, which can help you decide if you want to buy the product. The labels describe the calorie count and nutritional content per serving of food, but you need to be careful to note the serving sizes—you may be consuming two or three servings in one sitting.

You also need to be cautious with the claims that may be on the front of the packaging. These claims are used to market the product, and while they're technically accurate, they can be deceiving. 

You Should Be Careful With Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements may seem harmless enough because you can buy them in almost any store. And generally, they are safe as long as you follow the label directions. But since they're not regulated tightly or standardized, you may not be getting the dosage you expect. And some supplements, like iron, vitamin A, and vitamin B-6 can cause problems if you take too much.

Play it safe and speak with your health care provider before taking any dietary supplements beyond simple multivitamins.

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Shereen Lehman, MS
Shereen Lehman, MS, is a former writer for Verywell Fit and Reuters Health. She's a healthcare journalist who writes about healthy eating and offers evidence-based advice for regular people.