Q. In your article on lowering one's fat thermostat, you mentioned the value of consulting a nutrition specialist. Where do you find one? Where can a person find reliable nutrition information?
A. Your family physician may be able to recommend a nutrition specialist. Most colleges have a nutrition department and/or health clinic that provide nutritional counseling. Most hospitals also offer the same services.
The Consulting Nutritionists of the Chesapeake Bay Area will provide a list of registered dietitians in the metropolitan area if you send a self-addressed stamped envelope to 1848 Ingleside Terrace NW, Washington DC 20010.
In addition, the Virginia Dietetic Association has a brochure that lists a wide range of nutrition agencies, organizations and mateilable throughout the metro area. A copy can be obtained by writing to: Northern District, Virginia Dietetic Association, P.O. Box 5494, Springfield VA 22150.
Another excellent local source is the Dairy Council of Greater Metropolitan Washington, which has an abundant supply of resource materials. The council's "Food Power Guide" is an excellent reference for parents, coaches, teachers and fitness enthusiasts.
The council also provides audio- visual aids and up-to-date information on nutrition conferences and exhibits, and offers its own clinics and workshops. The national office is in Chicago. The address of the local chapter is: Dairy Council, 7315 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 812E, Bethesda MD 20814.
It's difficult to find sound and unbiased nutritional information. There are some scientific journals, but, like most research-oriented publications, they're written in a form that Al Einstein couldn't decipher.
There are some places to turn, however. The Tufts University Diet and Nutrition Letter is an easy-to- read, no-nonsense, reliable source. It provides scientific facts in a language that even Einstein's conditioning coach could understand. The toll-free number for information about the newsletter is 800/525- 0525.
A more in-depth yet fairly easy-to- read scientific journal is Nutrition Today, published in Baltimore. Subscriptions can be ordered by calling 301/528-4000.
Sound nutrition books will present the same basic concepts: Eat a balanced diet (which can be accomplished simply by eating the foods found on your grocery store shelves, and without using supplements); decrease fat consumption, increase carbohydrate and fiber consumption, drink plenty of water, avoid crash diets, eat three meals a day; don't lose more than two pounds of fat per week.
Be cautious about accepting the nutrition information provided in many of the magazines you buy off the grocery store racks. Some of that nutrition information is accurate; some isn't. The May/June 1984 issue of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) News and Views rated magazines on their accuracy in nutrition matters. And it was surprising how many of the more popular magazines were rated inconsistent and unreliable in that area.
Whenever you're in doubt about fitness facts, use the old rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.