There’s been a lot of talk recently about people giving unqualified nutritional advice, particularly online. Unfortunately, the term ‘Nutritionist’ isn’t a legally protected title at the moment so anybody can use it, regardless of whether they have completed a 3 year BSc degree or a three-week course online. As you can imagine, the knowledge given in each of these two courses is completely different.
Another warning sign is if someone is suggesting that a healthy eating solution will work the same for everyone. A properly qualified dietitian or nutritionist has spent years studying biochemistry and physiology and knows that nutrition is actually very personal when applied to real people. That’s why they can’t just give you a one-answer-fits-all response when you ask them a question. They will spend time asking you about your other illness/conditions and about your life at the moment to make nutritional strategies personal to you that are based on good scientific evidence.
On the bright side, you can be sure that you are reading good advice by checking that the person is a registered nutritionist with the Association for Nutritionists or a registered dietitian (they will have ‘RD’ after their name). My course mates, Fight the Fads, are also petitioning for the title ‘Nutritionist’ to become a legally protected title so that not just anyone can use it.
However, I am not saying that you should completely avoid anyone else who is blogging or writing about having a healthy lifestyle. Suggesting that we eat more fruit and veg, lean protein and complex carbohydrates, and move a little more is not a bad thing! And those who are making it fashionable to be healthy have a lot to be thanked for. They are making a healthy lifestyle feel more accessible to thousands of people and giving us tips on workouts and new ways to use veggies.
An observation I have made, though, is that lots of health and wellness bloggers give the impression that you must spend a lot of money on special products or expensive gym memberships to be healthy. You don’t! Laura Thomas recently addressed this, and the fact that we need more diversity in the wellness and blogging sphere, on her podcast Don’t Salt My Game. All her podcasts are excellently engaging and funny, but this one was particularly topical.
What I’m trying to say is to have your sensible hat on when deciding whether to take somebody’s nutritional advice (be particularly careful if they are advocating cutting out a whole food group). Take inspiration from these guys and implement small realistic healthy habits into your own lifestyle but don’t ever let it make you feel guilty that you can’t keep up with their ‘lifestyle’ – remember that they are:
- Often endorsed by various companies
- Only showing the highlight reel of their life on social media.