As a new Registered Dietitian, I’m debunking the top 5 myths I hear the most about our profession.
In case you haven’t heard, I’m now officially a Registered Dietitian (Or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist – they’re the same thing)!! After graduating from my master’s and internship program in August, I was finally eligible to take my registration exam. I took it Friday and passed, FINALLY making me an RDN after so many years of working toward my passion. It feels awesome (so long, studying). As a nod to all of my fellow dietitians, here are some of the top 5 myths surrounding nutrition professionals and the truths behind them.
We’re Not Judging What You Eat.
We are not the food police. Yes, we would like everyone to eat a generally healthful diet, but we also know people aren’t perfect and like to indulge every one in a while. Unless you are our client (or someone we love a lot), frankly, we don’t care what you eat and it isn’t our business. You can exhale.
We Eat Carbs. And Gluten. And Sugar.
For the most part, dietitians don’t cut out food groups unless it is medically necessary or morally inclined, and we wish you wouldn’t either. We know that all foods can fit within a balanced diet. But we also know that means eating mindfully and in moderation. And yes, we eat pizza and ice cream when we feel like it, so don’t look so surprised!
Not All of Us Cook. Or Even Care About Food That Much.
If you follow a lot of RD bloggers, you may think that dietitians are just the ‘food ladies’. But in reality, we are much more! Some RDs don’t even like to cook. Dietitians work in so many different realms, from taking care of patients in the hospital, to working in the community, to being in charge of your child’s school cafeteria, to helping corporations make their employees healthier. Each dietitian has their own niche, and not all of them are that involved with food.
We Don’t Want to Make You a Meal Plan.
If I had a dollar for every time somebody said “ooh, make me a meal plan!” I wouldn’t have any student loans. We can’t just tell you what to eat without knowing anything about you. Nutrition is very specific to each individual and we’d have to sit down with you for at least an hour to learn about you and your goals before we could even talk about what you should be eating. And even then, we probably wouldn’t want to make you a meal plan. We’d rather teach you how to make informed decisions about what you eat on your own. Unless you’re trying to pay me for said meal plan, then hit me up. Girlfriend has student debt.
We Are NOT the Same as “Nutritionists”.
This is perhaps the one that pains us the most. We go through years and years of vigorous education and training so that we are able to safely practice as dietitians. We know how the body works and how different nutrients and drugs affect it. We know how to spot BS research. And we’ve had 1200 + unpaid supervised practice hours under very smart dietitians before we we’re even allowed to think about taking that RD exam. And guess what? After the exam, dietitians keep on learning with required continuing education. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, and even certified nutritionists were only required to do an online course in most cases. So it really hurts our feelings when you tell us your nutritionist told you to cut out dairy and gluten to lose weight. And told you to take that supplement that might be giving you high blood pressure.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know fellow RDs! And I’m glad to be joining you in the profession!