Paulina Korol is frank about diets. You can buy healthy products from any store

Carolina Ianek, Interia.pl: More than 220,000 people follow you on TikTok and around 26,000 users on Instagram. This is a large group of recipients. How did you become so popular by spreading knowledge about a healthy lifestyle?

Paulina Korol: It all started when the first wave of the epidemic occurred. Like many people, I became more interested in TikTok, looked at other people’s videos, and eventually started posting them myself. Back then, in the first week of posting content, I had 50,000 followers in such a short time. At first it looked a little different from the current content, but soon I found out that I wanted to turn it into a more scientific and educational profile.

Will this change bring more followers?

People are more and more eager to learn about diet, weight loss and healthy eating, because there is a lot of information on the web and it is difficult to filter which of them are true and which are myths related to the topic of dietetics.

In recent years, people have become more concerned with their health and diet, and a kind of good and healthy fashion has come. Unfortunately, this is also the other side of the coin – searching for information among many false statements can lead to unhappiness. People inadvertently harm themselves by taking the advice of someone who is not a professional in this field. You have graduated from Medical University of Warsaw in the field of Dietetics and you have this knowledge. Why did you just want to educate yourself and then work as a nutritionist?

I used to have eating problems myself – I had an eating disorder early in middle school and high school. Then I decided that this was a good direction to take care of and grow my knowledge of healthy eating. After I finished nutrition science and felt that’s what I wanted to do with my life, I also decided to go into psychology, as I’m currently in my third year. These two trends are closely related. A healthy lifestyle and healthy eating start in our head.

So you are educated in a comprehensive way, and thanks to that you have a broader view of the problems of people with eating disorders. The word “diet” is still often associated with negative connotations, for many it means austerity and torment. So what does this concept mean to you?

Diet is really a complete lifestyle, not just what ends up on our plate. Everyone really is on a diet. It is the current pattern of eating, the food we give our bodies every day. I also add to my diet what we drink. It all comes with taking care of yourself too, so I also mean physical activity here.

On your social media profile, you show that diet is a complete lifestyle, encourage followers to be physically active, and show how to exercise yourself. You combine diet and exercise. When do you think the boom began among Polish society to show this lifestyle in the media?

I think it started a few years ago, but few developers have shown it in such a great and easy to use way. It is also known that the pandemic has pushed social media activities in this direction. The coronavirus period has made people want to take care of themselves a little more. There was more of this free time, especially among the youth. The observers are mostly teenagers, so even with them, when distance learning took place, communication with peers was radically limited, and therefore their physical activity was much less.

It seems to me that because of this limitation, young people are beginning to pay attention to the fact that due to a lack of physical effort, we feel worse – both physically and mentally. So the boom in physical activity started a few years ago, but the epidemic has now worsened. Therefore, more and more profiles are being created on social media that are similar to mine, but there are still those where, unfortunately, we find misinformation about a healthy lifestyle and diet.

You have a great influence in shaping attitudes towards a healthy lifestyle in young people and you are aware of this. However, you are still surprised by some questions, such as whether a netizen asks if lemon water is included in the calorie balance.

Exactly, the level of knowledge among the younger generation about healthy eating is still worrying. That’s why I’m surprised when I read some of the questions, but I know I have to answer them, even in a funny way, to continue educating people and, most of all, making them wrong. I know that when I even help one or two people, that’s really a success for me.

Only by raising awareness, continuing to educate, and answering such questions can you prevent at least one person from having an eating disorder, and actually have a moment in your career to comment on, say, harmful words about the Blanca Lipinska Diet. You weren’t afraid to criticize such a famous person in public?

no. I think these people don’t have any privileges that someone else should be afraid to talk to. Every human being is equal to me, no matter what he has achieved and who he is. If it’s Blanca Lipinska, who at that moment had 800,000 followers and has some influence through what she says to these people, let’s face it, such things need to be straightened out. I found that I had to correct this because talking about a 1,000 calorie diet is harmful. 1000 calories is too little, especially for guys and girls who probably watch Blanka Lipińska.

These teens are the most vulnerable to the harm of these words. They are watching their idol and they want to be like that person. For a teen, 1,000 calories, when she’s mature, starts menstruating and also has a lot of energy to study, is really too little. I had a great response to my comments from girls who thanked me for posting it at all, because they thought 1,000 calories was a sufficient calorie requirement for them. If Blanca Lipinska eats 1,000 calories a day, why not?

Did Mrs. Blanca Lipinska refer directly to you and your statement?

no. She only later posted instastories saying that some dietitian commented on her diet but had no contact with her. Then there were malicious comments from other people on the Internet, because this is a show business and celebrities have to support each other.

It is also fashionable among celebrities to advertise various diets. In return, in addition to offering this possibility, you also assure that we are able to create a balanced and healthy diet in our kitchen. You show in your recordings how to cook yourself, using inexpensive and generally available products. Where did the idea to show this type of nutrition come from?

I lead my pupils individually and typically arrange meals for a particular person. I know how important time is these days, and many people want that cooking for less than half the day. I’ve spent a good few years creating recipes that don’t take much time to prepare, but that are delicious and above all healthy. I love quick recipes myself, so I know that if something takes 10 minutes to prepare, almost everyone can do it in their kitchen. By posting videos of my cooking, it shows people that diet is not a sacrifice and they spend 2-3 hours a day in the kitchen. This encourages people to pay attention to what we eat and what affects our health.

On the occasion of such registrations, you display a very large number of supermarket products, which you recommend without having any contracts with the producers. So what should you pay attention to in the store when shopping, and whether you want to eat healthy food?

First of all, the diet should contain a lot of vegetables and fruits, which are available in every store, and at every vegetable seller. So a lot of shopping is not a problem for us. When it comes to other products, try to choose unprocessed ones. If we had a choice of a prepackaged burger in the store fridge, let’s experiment a bit and take a piece of bun, minced meat and separate veggies and make that burger ourselves at home. We also always look at the composition of the products. The composition should be as short as possible and if there is sugar somewhere in the first or second position in the composition, let’s look for alternatives.

Sugar appears in products we wouldn’t even expect. Let us consume it consciously – of course, if we want a bar, eat it, but be careful if it is in the products, where it does not necessarily appear. Avoid all additives that start with the letter “E”, such as E120, E414. Let’s just be aware of what we’re eating. I am of the opinion that you can eat literally anything on a diet, but you need to learn how to choose products. The first months of mindful eating can be difficult because we read literally every label, but after some time we know what products are right for us and what they contain.

What else should we be careful about?

Soft drinks can be disastrous and I encourage you to totally eat them, but also…juices. They contain a lot of sugar and people, unfortunately, forget about it. It is enough to buy our favorite juice and … dilute with water. This actually means we have less sugar in the drink we want.

Due to the fact that the public’s interest in nutrition has increased, so has the number of nutritionists themselves. Many people have seen this way of life, and work, but not all of them want to educate themselves the way you see it – through long-term studies. There are people who have completed several days of feeding courses. You raised this topic yourself and pleaded not to trust these people after several days of training. So how do you find the right dietitian for you?

We should always try to ask this person to provide his education, a diploma related to nutrition science. This is the basis. In addition, if a person graduates from nutritional studies, he often learns in the course of additional work, without staying at the level of knowledge from studies. Knowledge and research are constantly updated and you must be up to date with the news. In order not to harm your customers, you need to do your work with full commitment, that is, have appropriate and up-to-date knowledge. After the 3 day courses, I can’t imagine what I will discover. Perhaps there are good nutritionists who follow such courses, but only if they themselves put a lot of work into training or reading the scientific literature. It is also a good idea to check reviews about the dietitian we would like to collaborate with.

When should we see a dietitian?

Literally everyone can benefit from the advice of a nutritionist. However, if we have a problem with obesity or underweight, or we suffer from eating disorders, the work of a dietitian will be invaluable in this regard. Cooperation with a psychologist is also important here.

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