Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why Is Everyone a Nutrition Expert?

If you're recovering from an eating disorder, sometimes scrolling through social media can be a recipe for disaster.

I've noticed recently that my Facebook feed is filled with women advertising (on groups I've joined) their multi-level marketing businesses. They're selling shakes, body wraps, and beach body programs, touting their own success and before-and-after pictures as proof.

When I joined a group of local vegetarians, it wasn't long before the posts devolved from restaurant recommendations and meetup opportunities to members' advertisements for boot camps and diet shakes. Why must we conflate a lifestyle choice with a drive to lose weight?

Health and nutrition coaches abound. Pilates instructors are offering pre- and post-natal nutrition coaching. Personal trainers are serving up meal plans and chefs are counseling people on the "psychology of eating."

For those in recovery, the barrage of weight-loss/thin-ideal material is triggering and hard to ignore. For the general population, this practice turns out potentially dangerous misinformation. The fact that nutritional counseling is largely unregulated creates a bunch of pseudo-experts advising on a topic that can have significant negative consequences. Diets don't cause eating disorders, but they can trigger someone who is susceptible. I've had a number of patients through the years report that their symptoms began - or intensified - when they sought out the services of a personal trainer who prescribed them a rigid meal plan.

We need to leave nutrition to the experts, the registered dietitians who have the education, training, and certification to stand behind their recommendations. Even within this group, there can be great variability regarding an understanding of disordered eating, the emotional connection to food, and sensitivity to weight stigma.

Let's educate the public to seek out properly trained individuals on matters of physical and mental health. Nutrition is a science, and while it might be a hobby for some, imposing this hobby on others can have often harmful effects.

You can find Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight on Amazon (as a paperback and Kindle) and at BarnesandNoble.com


Designpluz Coimbatore said...
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Katie said...

Yes! This is spot on! Huge thanks for writing this from an RD with a PhD in Nutrition who studies eating behavior!

elittle131 said...
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