Eight Diet Trends that Drive Dietitians Bonkers

Diet trends that drive dietitians mad

Diet culture is so incredibly pervasive. We are constantly bombarded by countless diet trends and nutrition messages on staying healthy and lean; however many are so wacky that they drive dietitians like me up the flaming wall. Here are just a few.

Going Free

For those people with a genuine food intolerance or an allergy, then excluding gluten, dairy, wheat etc. from your diet is a good thing. For everyone else who claims the health benefits of going (insert food group here) free, simply ditch the junk food, eat a balanced diet and notice how well you’ll feel. And if you really want to free your diet from something harmful, free it from pseudoscience peddled by so-called experts.

Clean Eating

I hate this term! Who knowingly eats food that is unclean or unsafe for human consumption? Do you? Didn’t think so. Even not-so-healthy chocolate-coated donuts and the like cannot be called unclean food. Want to reap the benefits of eating a balanced and minimally processed diet? Great. Just don’t coin it ‘clean’ and imply that anything else is dirty. 

Food Shaming

Want to eat that slice of cheesecake at your local cafe? Go for it. Just make it a ‘sometimes food’. And if someone gives you flak for it, then put them in their place. Shaming someone for his or her food choices is appalling. Tell them to keep their questionable opinions to themselves.   

Food is Toxic

If you drank Chinese baby formula with melamine added to it in 2008 then yep, it was toxic. But it’s ludicrous to believe that eating bread or the humble spud will harm a child, cause autism, organ damage or goodness only know what else. Food is food. Some foods are more nutritious than others. And some foods should only be enjoyed occasionally. Let’s put this toxic debate to bed.   


No single food is going to give you all the nutrients you need to sustain you. Not even kale or goji berries. Eating a wide variety of foods from all the different food groups will maximise your chance of meeting your daily nutritional requirements. It mightn’t be sexy advice, but it sure is super.   

Nutrient Blaming

Not gluten, fat, or even sugar can be solely blamed for our collectively expanding waistlines. Sugar, fat and gluten-containing foods all have calories. Simply speaking, if you consume too many calories you will gain weight. It’s not rocket science.

Detox Diets

Our bodies are well equipped to deal with so-called toxins. Our liver, lungs and lymphatic system help to remove potentially harmful chemicals efficiently and successfully. Plus, our bowels are proficient at clearing waste. The notion that we can “cleanse” or “purify” our bodies with potions and herbal supplements is gobbledegook, and a waste of money too.   

Celebrities dispensing nutrition advice

Celebrities eat. No kidding! However, that doesn’t make them an authority on nutrition. Would you consult your mechanic for legal advice? Unlikely. Then why take nutrition advice from a movie star or other celebrity? The mind boggles.

Let’s give diet culture the boot! As a dietitian, I long for the day when the only diet trend will be healthy eating. That means following a wholesome, balanced diet, that incorporates foods from all the five food groups and, yes, even the occasional chocolate-coated doughnut. Here’s hoping. 


Also published in Mamamia.

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