Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Sorry, dietitians just aren’t sexy

80 Comments

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Something that’s been weighing on my mind a bit lately is the disappointment that many people seem to have with dietitians and the reasons for this. Basically, it boils down to the fact that we’re not sexy. Nope, we can’t tell you the next great superfood you must buy daily (spoiler: there is no such thing as a “superfood”). We won’t recommend any breakthrough weight loss supplement; sorry, whatever Dr. Oz is selling we’re not buying. We won’t tell you “never eat these five foods“. And we won’t tell you that paleo, Atkins, low-carb, low-fat, gluten-free, vegan, <insert any trendy diet here>, is the best diet.

There are no shortcuts to health. There are no foods that you should never ever eat (I mean, obviously, there are some foods that should be consumed on an occasional basis, such as candy, and others on a regular one, such as vegetables). But we’re never going to tell you not to eat something. We’re also never going to tell you what diet to follow. Our job is to help you figure out the diet that works best for you and how to optimize it to make it as enjoyable and healthy as possible.

Yes, I know that there are loads of other people out there who are more than happy to tell you that their diet is the best, the only, the diet to end all diets. I know that, that level of certainty can be alluring. It’s much more appealing to have someone tell you exactly what you may and may not eat when you’re struggling on your own. It’s not easy to hear that no foods are off the table and that no superfood is going to swoop in to the rescue. However, let’s not confuse confidence with competence. Dietitians are here to help you make the best choices for you, not to impose our own dietary regimes on you. Maybe we’re not sexy or fun or exciting but we’ll be here for you when all of those other diets let you down.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

80 thoughts on “Sorry, dietitians just aren’t sexy

  1. I love this!

    The only other thing I’d add to this is we only use science to treat people and we constantly read the actual scientific studies to make sure we are across any scientific developments as they happen.

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    • I actually meant to write about that and then got all caught up and forgot. Thanks for adding, Karen!

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    • Not all studies are equal. most of what I have come across that drives headlines are observational studies which only show correlation and not addressing the fact that correlation doesn’t prove causation. That is an important distinction to keep in mind when you are relaying the information from studies to laymen, such as me.

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  2. Great post Diana! I’ll definitely be sharing!!

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  3. I am a Dietitian, and could’nt agree more Diana. Well written.

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  4. Hey not true! Intelligence IS sexy!!

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    • And all of us other dietitians groaned.

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      • Ha!! I agree with her list because I’d never eat those things….EVER. But still, she shouldn’t make those claims. There are several other blog posts where she lists things like that too.

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    • I’m actually a dietitian and I couldn’t agree more with everything she said! And any dietitian who thinks otherwise is clearly just repeating what the learned in school and not keeping up with the research that has totally debunked the saturated fat argument. And I say that because I was guilty of the same thing, until I actually researched it myself and came to the conclusions she makes. I don’t understand how any dietitian can cringe at what she’s saying. What RD would recommend any of the fake processed foods she says to stay away from?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have no issue with saturated fat. If you were to search my blog you would see that I’ve written about the subject previously. My response was not related to the link, it was related to my concern with a dietitian who peddles supplements; a significant conflict of interest.

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    • Wow, not sure what else to say. I would never put butter in my coffee – yuck and I would want to save all those calories for other delicious foods (i.e. steamed green beans with a touch of butter, squirt of fresh lemon juice, dash of pepper and garlic powder). Real food is the answer :)

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  5. And eating healthy…and teaching people to eat healthy…IS SEXY!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a dietitian, I promote a REAL FOOD diet- whatever that may look like to individuals- could mean low carb, high carb, paleo, vegetarian, etc. I do agree there’s definitely no “one size fits all”- it depends on the person and how they feel best. But I think what Cassie is doing is very needed- it’s a way to guide the public towards making better choices instead of so many processed foods that are tearing down the health of Americans. By choosing whole, natural foods first over fake foods, you can’t go wrong! I want individuals to make a conscious, educated decision about the food they eat and I appreciate Cassie for stepping out and shedding light on some commonly consumed foods.

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    • I don’t want to turn this into a personal discussion. I firmly believe that it is unethical for dietitians to sell supplements. Let’s just leave it at that.

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      • Creating a list of “foods” that are not truly food is not selling supplements. The ADA is constantly accused of being bought by the multiple food councils and marketing ploys of companies like McDonalds and Coca Cola. Perhaps we need more dietitians standing up and saying artificial foods should not be consumed.

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      • She does sell supplements. Just look at her website.

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  7. Reblogged this on by God's grace.

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  8. This is the best thing I have read all day! Thank you for putting my exact thoughts into words. It made my day.
    Cathy Shaw, RD, LD

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  9. Pingback: I Respectfully Disagree: Some of Us Dietitians Are Sexy, And That’s Okay. | abbylanger | Nutrition Communications and Consulting

    • I love that my post has sparked so much discussion and interest. I do think that you rather missed my point though Abby. I was being rather tongue in cheek when in saying that we’re not fun or sexy. Many of us are, literally. My point was that many people think our advice is boring because it’s grounded in scientific evidence and best practice unlike some less reputable people who make headlines and catch attention through unrealistic promises and products.

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  10. Loved this Diana, well said, made me smile,
    thank you :). Elizabeth RD, Scotland

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  11. Will be looking forward for more write ups from you Diana! Good work keep it up :)

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  12. Great article, and so true!
    So many people come to us wanting to here about the newest quick fix, unfortunately the truth just isn’t all that sexy ;)

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  13. Great way to explain what we do! There is no quick fix to anything however we can dispel myths and encourage healthy habits!

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  14. Yes, YES YES!!! So much this. As a trainer and fitness instructor, I am always asked what diet is best. People get very disappointed when they are told that there is no one best answer, but that eating a variety of whole foods, watching portions/calories/macros, and limiting treats is the way to go. It may not be the easy or sexy answer, but it is the REAL one. Thank you!

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  15. This is great!!! I love your honesty and I hate all of the “quick fix” nonsense that is shoved in our faces on a daily basis. As you said….there is no shortcut to health and there is also no substitute for the thorough training and education that dietitians have which most of these fad diet/exercise plan promoters do not have!!!

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  17. Fugu is one of my never eat foods (since it will kill you if improperly prepared). Never say never! :)

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  18. I am Dua Aldasouqi, MA, RD and I endorse this message.

    I am not sure if this is directly related to your topic but dietitians have got to be the number one most stereotyped persons of all time. I am also a Muslim and Arab and although it is a difficult time for that, the amount of comments I have gotten when people find out I’m a dietitian and eat that or just assume my opinion drives me crazy.

    /end rant

    It did make for a fun poem tho – http://poetry.duawrites.com/2010/12/08/rd-me/

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  19. I F*ucking love this.
    And I don’t mean to offend anyone from my use of the socially unacceptable F bomb. But really, this is EXACTLY what I have been saying to people when they tell me about their new diet or if they should eat . I must take a moment to remind myself not to roll my eyes when I hear or read about all these new diets and “good/bad” foods.
    thank you thank you thank you! For sharing this article I hope this spread like wildfire.
    Sincerely,
    Monica Salafia
    Dietetics Undergrad Class 2015
    Dietetic Intern Class of 2016

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  20. I’m a nutritionist and just loved the post! Had to share it!

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  21. I respectfully disagree with you. What I see are dietitians collectively becoming more and more defensive and dismissive to those outside of our profession. Open minded professionals who are interpreting the science different than us and communicating it in a fun, relatable way are literally lapping us while we spend our time dispelling myths. The public is not responding to our tired argument that it’s “not science based” so don’t do it. I’m ready to bury that phrase and instead contribute by offering science based info. in a fun and sexy way. My masters is in health communications and yeah, you will see me use top 5 lists and refer to a nutrient dense, functional food as a superfood because it is an effective communication strategy (our minds like to get complicated information in lists and categories). One last thought on this is the concept of science based advice; we are all interpreting and communicating the science in our own way. There isn’t always a hard line between right and wrong when it comes to the science.

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    • I agree that there is a lot of vitriole between professions. However, in my experience, most who tout themselves as nutrition coaches (or what have you) without the credentials to support them, don’t employ scientific evidence based best practices. Many dietitians have great messaging, unfortunately, the public wants trendy black and white advice. Hence, the perception that we’re not “sexy”.

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  22. Thanks for the post! I’m a RD as well. I totally get your point. we might not make headlines but our advices are reliable and people can never say it didn’t work or so. It never disappoint ppl if they follow through the recommendations. You can be sexy and fun and be professional.

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  23. Pingback: In Other’s Words | xoPrincessTina

  24. Reblogged this on diet-chat online and commented:
    wise words fresh from a dietitians mouth

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  25. Thank you for your inspiring words, that remind me about the beauty of my future job.
    Future RD from Portugal,
    Rita Candeias

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  26. I’m a dietitian in Portugal and I agree with what you write.
    Can I “steal” parts of your post for my blog? I will refere your blog..

    kiss

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  27. Great post! Sometimes you need someone to help you figure it out yourself and be honest with you. I don’t want someone to tell me what to eat or not eat so why would I do it to someone else? Eating in the real world is all about moderation, variety, balance & fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Great article Diana .. Thank you

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  29. Pingback: Food Frustration | Indulgent Wellness

  30. No trick foolery. No magic, smoke or mirrors. I love science. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to blog truth without being too preachy! Worth my time…

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  31. Pingback: 7 reasons why Dietitians are sexier than you think - Diet Duchess

  32. Beautifully written Diana! Dietitians the world over seem to be faced with the same gruesome truth…that we have to put ourselves up against all the sexy fad diets out there. I guess that’s what makes us resilient ;)

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  33. Absolutely love this.

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  34. I came across this post a few weeks ago and saved the page on my phone to read later, I was at work at the time. To fast forward for you, I forgot to read it until today. This subject is something I feel passionate about as a fellow dietitian. I could not agree more with everything you said. I say similar rants all the time to close friends and family because the general public, or should I say “health experts” will just never understand. Bottom line, great job at bringing this subject into words. If your interested I would love for you to check out and follow my blog! I think you would enjoy it.

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  35. This might be the best blog i’ve come across.
    As a fellow RD who is so sick of trying to explain what i’m not going to do for people – this is such a refreshing voice to know there is at least one other RD who refuses to give in to the hype for instant gratification health.
    I now feel like there is a sane place to direct people online to sort out the mess of nutrition and health myths. Thanks for clearing through the clutter!

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  36. Pingback: More Veggies Isn’t Sexy?!? | Dietitian Drive

  37. Pingback: Top 5 Posts of 2015 | bite my words

  38. I agree about not confusing confidence with competence but there certainly are foods I advise my clients to never eat. And I also advise ( with great success ) most of my patients to go on a low fat, low protein, plant based diet. Not a fad, but centuries of sound science.

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  39. Pingback: Frequently visited… – Peaches and Pies

  40. Pingback: Sexy just as we are – Dietitian Connection

  41. Pingback: Are dietitians worth the cost? – West Island Nutritionist The Foodie RD

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