8 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Dietitian-Nutritionist!

Intuitive eating
woman cooking in a modern kitchen

Dietitians meet a wide range of clients who have varied health goals. It’s during these sessions that we realize how many food myths and dietitian stereotypes remain. In this article, I’ve gathered questions and comments that dietitians hear often and most of the time, cringe a little at. While reading this humorous article, you will learn more about our vision of healthy eating, as dietitians-nutritionists, through this decade (and century!) and you’ll be able to save time on your next visit with your nutritionist! 

Here's a collection of my favorite '' problematic '' themes:

1. “ You can’t get it, you don’t eat (or don’t like) this. ”

There’s a misconception that dietitians-nutritionists eat perfectly and do not like “ junk food ”. To this I reply : “ What! Your dietitian-nutritionist is a human! ” Actually, we eat everything, even poutine and cake! And we love them! Conclusion : We definitely get it !

2. Lies ! False-ish claims !

I often hear things like : “ I shouldn’t say this but I ate poutine yesterday. ” In what world is it a good idea to lie to the expert you’re paying for? Seriously! It’s possible that you feel shy or guilty or disappointed with what you ate, but never at all should you lie to your professional! Saying the truth is actually a great way to explore actions that we’re less proud of, to be reassured and possibly to find solutions for next time. Truth is worth it, at all times!

3. “ What are the foods I can’t eat? ”

Sometimes I’d like to humorously answer : “Rotten food, food with a questionable color or food that shouldn’t be hairy, but is. ” In truth, there are no forbidden foods, especially not in weight management! Sometimes, for health reasons, it’s advised to reduce or limit your intake of certain foods. But then again, we’re not talking forbidden.

4. “ Tell me, what’s THE superfood? ”

If there was any, we’d tell you! You just need to keep in mind that the elixir for one is the poison of another. In truth, there is no superfood, but there is a “ better way of eating ” : the one that’s varied and colorful, that keeps you healthy, that responds to your food preferences and financial reality.

5. “ Is the Canadian Food Guide what we’ll discuss in our sessions? ”

The Canadian Food Guide is addressed to the healthy population in general ! With your dietitian-nutritionist, you’ll receive personalized advice according to your current health and goals. So, no, our sessions are not going to be about the Canadian Food Guide, unless you made a special request for it, which would be a surprise! ;)

6. “ How many calories should I eat? ” or “ How many calories are there in this? ”

Do you know many toddlers or elderly people who eat according to the calorie content of food? I don’t. Often, certain individuals pay too much attention to calories and not enough to their eating experience. It’s as if we were preoccupied by the price of gas instead of the fact that our car is full or not. If we fill our tank in excess and decide to fill it extra because “ it’s worth it ” or “ it’s so fun filling the tank tonight! ”, will the car remain functional? Just like too much gas, too much food causes damage that takes a long time to repair. If weight and health management were as simple as “ calorie accounting ”, the worldwide weight problems would be solved!

7. “ All I want is a nutrition plan. ” or “ I just wanna know what to eat to reach x goal.”

It would be so simple if it worked that way. When we’re asked this, it’s a bit as if we were asked for a specific diet. Even if our title is “ dietitian ”, doesn’t mean we’re “ serial-diet-creators ” ! With experience, we learned that applying a plan or rigid diet, like commercial diets, truthfully lead to weight regain in the next 2 to 5 years after stopping follow-ups. The reason is simple : when we follow a diet, we don’t learn to eat better. We learn to follow a plan and when we’re done, we go back to our old habits. The best bet for success is to make small, durable changes. Several small changes will become big changes in no time. Trust me !

8. “ Am I allowed to eat this? ” or “ Can I have a cheat day? ”

Are we implying that we restrict ourselves on the other days? It reminds me of something… Oh, yeah! A diet! You must suspect it now : No cheat days, because nothing is forbidden! In the end, the question to ask yourself is : if you eat this “ cheat ” food, are you truly savouring it? 100%? Are you enjoying it? Otherwise, why did you eat it? It’s an unmeasurable loss of happiness and gustative pleasure that you’ll never see again!

Conclusion : Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your dietitian-nutritionist, but give them the chance to prove you that all of these myths and stereotypes are behind us!

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist