Food Fight Struggles
Written by Elaine O'Connor, Senior Consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

This March for Nutrition Month, we’re asking two Fraser Health registered dietitians about the most common food issues they and their clients face – and how to overcome them.

Nourishing yourself should be simple, but we all know that’s not always the case. In fact, even nutrition professionals can struggle with food issues. In this week’s Nutrition Month article on our Newsroom, Dietitians can help you take the fight out of food, our experts share their struggles, and solutions.

For Devika Sharma, a registered dietitian who works in Surrey Memorial Hospital’s hemodialysis unit, stress eating is one of the most challenging food issues she faces – and treats in patients. In her own life, stress eating became an issue after the death of a loved one. She turned to over-filling her schedule and snacking on comfort foods to avoid confronting her grief. The result?

“I felt that I was not able to uphold the image of a healthy dietitian. In other words, I was not practicing what I preached,” Sharma said.

Her advice to others dealing with stress-eating:

  • Change requires work. Identify the issue, learn alternative ways to deal with it that are not related to eating, and seek support.
  • Make your health your priority. No one ever regrets fueling their body with healthy foods.

Whitney Hussain, a registered dietitian who works in Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s cardiac and youth clinics, said her most frustrating food issue – and one of the top issues for her clients – is trying to make sense of food fads to avoid getting caught up in unhealthy hype diets.

“As a dietitian working with patients and clients in the community, I come across so many different diets, new weight loss programs and a crazy number of supplements that can ‘improve your health’ or ‘cure your chronic disease,’” Hussain says.  “It can be very confusing reading and hearing the media, health professionals, friends and celebrities promoting these fads. Even with a degree in nutrition, I can sometimes be momentarily fooled.”

Here are some tips to tell if the new superfood advice you’re reading is real or a fad:

  • Ask yourself: is the website promising a quick fix or a miracle cure? If it has a list of “cures” for a number of different conditions, it’s likely false.
  • Does the product or diet involve a detox or cleanse? If you’re a healthy individual, you don’t need to do this: your body is “detoxing” itself all the time
  • Are the claims based on a single study or do they fail to cite any evidence or research?

Staff, patients and the public can ask our experts nutrition questions during our Ask a Fraser Health Dietitian Tweet Up on March 15th from 1-2 p.m. Join us on Twitter @Fraserhealth with the hashtag #FHnutritiontalk.

Read this full article on our Newsroom. Find more nutrition advice from Devika on her blog at, on Facebook at OneMoreBite, and on Twitter at @one_more_bite_. Check out Whitney’s food and health blog at, on Facebook at Whitney Hussain RD,  and on Twitter at @Whitneyhussain.

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