Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Second guessing the second guessing the dietitian post



I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend among dietitians lately. It involves a certain division of RDs into two groups: “real” food RDs and all of the other RDs. Honestly, I’m not sure what the non-real food RDs are eating and advising others to eat. So far as I can tell, “real” food is the paleo diet and if you’re not paleo you’re not a “real” food RD. The implication being that dietitians advising you to consume anything other than paleo are inferior. I wrote a bit about this nutritional elitism last week. It offends me that, despite being an avid cook, some dietitians would suggest that I don’t eat “real” food because I don’t buy-in to a particular diet. I can assure you, I am not a machine (despite what some on fito have suggested), I do not run on diesel, electricity, nor hot air, I consume a variety of foods for fuel.

This “real” food RD group lead me to this post: Why you should second guess the dietitian. Now, I know that things are different in the US than they are in Canada so I’m trying not to take this too personally. However, it’s extremely frustrating to devote years of my life to a profession that I’m passionate about and to see others (including those within the profession) bashing it. It’s understandable that the author would have a hate-on for dietitians. She’s a holistic nutritionist, and as such, would be subject to much disdain on the part of dietitians due to the lack of evidence-based practice and of professional accountability in her chosen career. I don’t want to turn this into an “us versus them” diatribe though. I have no desire to get into a mud-slinging match. I know some reasonable and intelligent holistic nutritionists. No, my issue is the undermining of dietitians based on a couple of negative personal experiences the author had and based on the actions of the American governing organization (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – AND).

The gist of the article is that dietitians lack credibility because their governing organization is in cahoots with the food industry. There is no doubt about it; that’s a huge conflict of interest. It’s ludicrous that the food industry would be providing funding and education for dietitians via their professional organization. However, this does not mean that you can’t trust dietitians. It’s also important to note that there are a number of dietitians rallying against the relationship between the AND and the food industry, both through the group Dietitians for Professional Integrity, and through personal decisions. Despite what the author would have you believe, we dietitians are not all attending conferences and lapping up nutrition “education” provided by Hershey and Coke.

Sure, there are going to be some (as in any profession) who are going to unquestioningly accept any nutrition information provided to them in a conference or a webinar. However, from my experience, the vast majority of RDs are intelligent enough to question information presented to them (regardless of the source) and to filter out the wheat from the chaff.

Yes, as the author says, any reputable dietitian will also suggest that you should question any health information given to you. Doctors, dietitians, holistic nutritionists, none of us are infallible and the field of nutrition is constantly evolving. Dietitians are committed to life-long learning and to providing evidence-based advice. We are not droids for the food industry.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

6 thoughts on “Second guessing the second guessing the dietitian post

  1. Hey,

    I’m not sure if other subscribers are having this problem, but when your posts come to my email, the last couple sentences of every paragraph are cut off. It’s not really a big deal I just read them from your website anyways, just thought you might want to know!


    On Mon, May 5, 2014 at 8:01 AM, bite my words


  2. You didn’t really refute anything that she said, though. The core problem is an industry of supposed trusted professionals that get their legitimacy from a body that’s paid for by the junk food industry.

    Why would anybody take those people seriously?


    • I didn’t? I thought I said that many of us do not obtain our training feom the food industry. And even those who do attend industry supported events should have the ability to think critically about the information presented. Yes, the relationship between the food industry and dietetic organizations is troubling but it doesn’t mean that we dietitians lack credibility.


  3. Great post Diana! I think most RD’s dislike the fact there are governing bodies linked to the food industry. I would say that though this is a huge conflict of interest for SOME RDs, it doesn’t mean that those without RD qualifications are somehow completely without a conflict of interest – many nutrition professionals outside of dietetics have ‘relationships’ with supplement companies etc and receive financial incentives.

    Also! I have nominated you for a Liebster Award —–> http://foodandnonsense.com/liebster-award/ – feel free to participate, or not! :)


    • Thanks for the additional thoughts helen! I also forgot to point out that while much of the continuing “education” available to dietitians is industry sponsored. Our essential uni coursework is not.

      Thanks for the nomination!!


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