There are so many misconceptions regarding what registered dietitians (RD's) do and what they believe regarding health and nutrition. Our culture has such a warped view of food and what constitutes healthy eating that they assume RD's share many of these beliefs. Here are 7 things we wish you knew:
- We're not judging you for what you are eating. Thus, no need for you to make self-depricating comments to justify your food choices. "I am going to be bad and order ____" or "You have so much self-control, I bet you don't eat ____." The truth is that we aren't monitoring what you are eating and don't plan to offer unsolicited advice.
- We eat everything too. Those foods that you're justifying or beating yourself up over – we eat those foods too. A normal diet is filled with the entire spectrum of food. We are not superhumans with a special superpower to avoid certain foods. We're just like you.
- There are no "good" or "bad" foods. All foods have value because they contain nutrients, which are by definition essential for our bodies. That's right, even things like carbs (including sugar) and fat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the RD's governing body) even came out with a position paper a few years ago supporting the no good/bad food approach.
- There are also no "superfoods." No food exists with magical powers. Sure, certain nutrients can have specific health benefits (think calcium for bone health), but labeling a food as a "superfood" suggests potency that just doesn't exist. Let's be less extreme.
- Diets don't work. In fact, 95% of people who go on a diet will regain the weigh they lost (if they lost any to begin with), often plus some extra pounds, resulting in a weight higher than before they started dieting. Sorry to tell you, but there's diet (or pill) that defies this statistic. Let's try normal eating instead, because normal eating = normal weight.
- BMI is crap. We don't subscribe to the notion that you can measure a person's weight against their height and draw any valid conclusions. Weight, health, and nutrition are much more complicated than that. If only the rest of the medical world (especially doctors) understood this.
- Stop measuring your self worth on the scale. Perhaps even consider not weighing yourself to begin with. For most people that number holds a lot of power over their self-esteem and mood. It can even dictate the tone of your entire day. You are SO much more than a number!