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20 Ways To Identify a Bad Nutritionist

In my previous life,  I worked with sports nutritionists who spoke at conventions and clinics for high school coaches. The advice that was given out at these clinics was enough to give you involuntary eye twitches, I still wake up dripping sweat after a nightmare about whole grains for heart health.
It was very obvious that these nutritionists were having their salaries spoon-fed to them by the USDA and its subsidiaries. I can easily remember the most ridiculous statements they made when giving out nutritional advice to coaches who would then pass it on to young people.  
Here is a list of things that will help you identify a bad nutrition “expert”.
1. “Aim for a carbohydrate intake of 3-5 grams per pound/per day. Your carb intake should come from things like pastas, cereals, energy bars, and skim milk.”
2. “Athletes only need about 0.3 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.”
3. Any nutritionist that operates under the mindset that everyone is a marathon runner and should replenish glycogen stores every 60 minutes.
4. A nutritionist that always lumps ” salts, sugars, and saturated fats” in the same speech about what makes us fat.
5. “Eat at least 5 small meals a day to continuously stoke the metabolic fires.
6. “Avoid butter or other creamy sauces, as these have been linked to diabetes and heart attacks.”
7. “Soy is an excellent form of protein that has all the characteristics of animal protein, without the unhealthy saturated fats.”
8. “Keep your protein servings at about the same size as a deck of cards.”
9. “Low carb diets do not work!”
10. “Diets that contain more than 20% of the calories from protein are not advisable for performance enhancement.”
11. A nutritionist that lumps olive oil and canola oil together under the healthy list.
12. “Eat the bread crust, it contains the most vitamins and minerals.”
13. “Corn syrup is fine in moderation, it’s just like sugar.”
14. “Cholesterol is like plaque that clogs your arteries.”
15. “Always choose low-fat or fat-free milk.”
16. “Juicing vegetables is bad because you may drink too much of it.”
17. “If you are feeling drowsy halfway through the day, reach for a granola bar or muffin!”
18. “Eat these foods, they burn belly fat!”
19. “To lose weight, eat less calories than you burn. It’s that simple!”
20. “Meat rots in your colon”

By the way, these are actual pieces of advice given to high school coaches and to gullible individuals everywhere.

48 thoughts on “20 Ways To Identify a Bad Nutritionist

  1. 19 is the only one that is correct. It’s simple science.

  2. Was told just last week to lose more fat to keep meals to 6 small ones spread out 2-3 hours apart and measure portions by the palm of your hand or deck of cards and use 123 nutrition ratio approach of 1 part fat, 2 parts protein and 3 parts carbs. Is this wrong?

  3. No Dan, it’s not. Its not as simple as calories in, calories out.

  4. 19 is unequivocally wrong. Anyone who says that “Its thermodynamics it has to be true!” Is an idiot that doesn’t actually understand thermodynamics. The composition of your diet modulates the way in which your body uses the energy.

    So while it is absolutely true that weight gained or lost = calories in – calories burned, most people ignore the fact that the last 2 terms are dependent variables, ie the type of calories in directly affects how your body utilizes energy. if you expend a lot of energy exercising your body will tell your brain that you need more energy as calories.

  5. I work with a lot of nutritionists. Luckily I’ve never heard any of them mention any of the above comments.

  6. I chuckle at the yahoos who say “avoid diets with fats in them. Fats have the most calories and therefore will make you store and not burn fat.Don’t eat red meat or you’ll have a heart attack.” – all i can think is, but… cholesterol based fats boost testosterone and are the chief resource for forming Acetyl CoA which is needed to use fat…
    they look at me funny…

  7. what do you think of coffee? our first child is 9 months old and I basically live on the stuff during the day because he’s teething and we don’t get a lot of restful sleep.

  8. Thank you for posting this! I hate all the misinformation that is given to gullible coaches and uninformed kids/parents. LBEB is doing shit right.

  9. In reference to #8, I use decks of cards that are the size of cereal boxes… So you can suck it mainstream nutritionists!

  10. I ordered about 45 lbs of frozen dead animals today. Take that saturated fat.

    And the canola oil thing drives me nuts

  11. What’s wrong with Canola Oil? That’s something I hadn’t heard before….

  12. #19 is technically correct. For WEIGHT loss, it is as simple as calories in vs. calories out. If you eat 2000 calories worth of sugar and your maintenance is 2500, you’ll lose weight. For limiting lean mass losses while losing fat, obviously protein is important.

    Irregardless of whether certain macronutrients reduce your caloric expenditure or have a higher thermic effect (or get crapped out), those are both covered in “calories out” and “calories in” respectively.

    So… 19 is technically correct, only because it’s worded “weight” loss, with no mention of fat or lean tissue.

  13. No Jess, it’s not. If you would follow the links you would understand why. Read some books by Gary Taubes.

  14. Oh my god…. Really?? Gary Taubes?? Taubes is a joke! He has a completely outdated understanding of insulin, carbs, and metabolism in general. His “theories” or “ideas” have been disproved over and over. Might need to do a lil research on your boy Taubes. Or maybe you have and you just buy into all his ignorant b.s.

    Oh I like the article by the way! haha I just hope you’re not a TRUE Taubes follower… 😛

  15. Taubes? Really LBEB, really?? I love the list, except for 19. Maybe you should take your own advice, and read a book (a book not written by Taubes). If someone with a 3,000 maintenance ate a balanced diet of 3,500 cals/day for 2 months, he would gain WEIGHT. If he ate 2,500 cals/day of the exact same food for 2 months, he would lose WEIGHT. It’s a very simple concept. Now if you want to make an argument for losing FAT, things get more complicated.

  16. Oh boy… Here we go
    Based on y’alls theories, you must define “balanced diet”
    Carb calories are treated differently than fat calories and different than protein calories.
    If my maintenance level is 2500 calories, eating 2000 calories of sugar per day will not result in 1lb/week of fat loss.
    please cite references to your calories in/out theories if you believe they are true.

  17. You should say why underneath each point why it’s incorrect. A problem is only good as it’s solution!

  18. Hey guys, Im not totally un informed when it comes to nutrition but would be cool to read up in the whole cal in – cal out situation – any good references you could link to?? 😀

  19. Actually any advice from a nutritionist is a waste. Anyone can claim to be a nutritionist. Go to a sports dietitian, the only person that can legelly Give sports diet advice

  20. #19 did not specify “fat loss”. It said weight loss. If you are burning more calories than you take in, you have to lose weight. Yes, the amount of calories burned can be influenced by the type of calories you take in. But, that doesn’t make the equation in #19 wrong, it just expands on it. There are a lot of different ways to consume these calories. If you want to understand #19, pick a diet, whatever combination of fat/carb/meat/organic/whatever, that is working for you and then either double or half the calories and see what happens.

  21. Canola oil is for steam engines not people. I personally don’t like the taste of sump oil.

  22. Not true at all. All actual nutritionists have to qualify and get certify to be a nutritionist. Dietetics, while possibly more educated and paid more, just have a different route and taken on different jobs.

  23. Actually I am a sports rd. Nutrition is a science that involves biochemistry, human physiology, and research. Not a certification test you take through the mail. That’s why most states require you be licensed to give diet advice and if you are not you can get a fine. Must be rd to be licensed

  24. He isn’t a researcher himself, he is a journalist who compiles research. His theories are based off of the research of others such as Harvard Medical School…so you’re saying Harvard Medical School is wrong?

    Also, good luck counting all of your calories in and out because it is basically impossible, and being off even a little will mess you up in the long run, if you rely on that.

  25. #19-Taubes is not wrong, but he is not right either. He goes to the extreme to make a point. On calories, sure starving the body will eventually lead to weight loss (combined fat, water, and muscle). But it will lead to gaining the weight back as well. The longer and more severe you starve the body, the faster you will regain the body. Calories don’t matter in fat loss. Calories don’t matter in real life. Food matters, its the only thing that is real in life. Calories were made up in order to satisfy our human obsession with counting shit.

  26. #19 is correct and it isn’t. If you had 2000 calories of candy, your insulin would be so high you would be storing fat, not burning it. 2000 calories with 40-60g of carbs and 10-15g of sugar max with the rest coming from fat and mainly protein….well then that would be a whole different story.

  27. ^Matt, exactly. It’s all about insulin. My maintenance was 2100 calories but I counted exactly 1400 calories per day and I was actually gaining weight because my health teacher told me to get 50% of my calories from carbohydrates. That’s 175g of carbs. My family is not good with insulin and I ended up getting fatter. I switched to a ketogenic diet and lost 40 lbs in 2 months, I’m now 155 with a higher bench and squat, and I ran my first 10k last week. 2 months ago I couldn’t finish a mile.

  28. Argue all you want about #19…it was #12 that made me laugh out loud.

  29. Dan, sorry, you’re wrong there. You have to look at the metabolic response to carbohydrates to understand how carbs increase insulin levels, which in turn cause the fat cells to store more fat. No so with calories derived from protein and fat sources.

  30. ha ha.. awesome comment! Couldn’t agree more.

  31. Jess: “Irregardless” isn’t a word, dummy.

  32. So Steve what you’re saying is, that the insulin spike causes you not to burn the energy, but store it as fat instead… And if you were to eat less of those things that spike insulin, then you’d burn more for energy and store less as fat? Hmm…

  33. For the love of all that is good… Irregardless is not a fucking word!!!!!! It’s a gorram double negative, as such cancels itself out. *sigh*

  34. No, he’s right; the body can’t store fat out of something that isn’t there. Insulin is a transport hormone; it’s central function is to remove glucose from the bloodstream and into skeletal muscle and liver tissue via GLUT-4 protein. It is a simple fact of thermodynamics that you have to eat less calories than you burn to lose weight.

  35. Well, in fact, some protein sources spike insulin as much or more than carbs (whey protein is a good example but meat too).

    More accurately, one should consider an individual’s response to both carbs and fats to see if one is sensitive to one of them and, in that case, may need to stick to a lower carb or lower fat macro proportion to get better results (ie to be leaner).

    But generally, a calorie deficit, surplus or maintenance will be the key thing. An individual’s response to carb levels etc and macro ratios will then finesse and improve results overall.

  36. Yes it is; if you actually understand what the ‘calories out’ variable means.

  37. This video explains what he’s talking about.
    There are plenty others on the Tube, I suggest you look around, using the list provided above as a guide to what information is correct or incorrect.

  38. Taubes has stated and I quote “you literally cannot gain fat without carbs”. This is false on several levels; firstly, it is based on the belief that insulin is required for fat storage; when fat storage can occur in the complete absence of insulin, via ASP. Additionally, all macronutrients cause some insulin secretion, and protein is very insulinogenic. Calories are essential in fat loss; you must create a caloric deficit if you want to lose fat.

  39. I (finally) started burning fat and losing weight when I started eating as many calories (and in some cases more) than I have burned. I eat 2,000 a day and burn 1200 four times a week (swimming, lifting, and walking home after). I recently finished reading “The New Rules Of Lifting For Women”. The way they explained cutting calories less than what you burn is like telling your employees that they get to work a full 8 hour shift on Saturdays, and as a treat, you will not pay them. Same goes with your body. If your body is used to a certain about a food and you cut it, say by 500 calories, and then adding another day of work out… you are demanding your body work harder with less pay. I was doing that same work out and was eating 1500 calories a day. Not only was I hungry, I was tired ALL the time. That was a result from not eating enough.

  40. To loose weight, eat/drink less mass than you sweat, pee, and poop.

  41. You could fill up the Internet just debating this topic.

    1. Fuck sugar. Its useless. (If you have to, make sure it’s all natural.)
    2. Train hard. If you haven’t blown a blood vessel you aren’t working hard enough.
    3. Sleep

    Anything else?

  42. Let’s not get too confused on the difference between losing fat and losing weight. They are two completely different things, which happen to be related, and are often confused as the same thing. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.

  43. Unless you are a sub 10% bf performance athlete, fat loss is as simple as calories in<calories out. You could literally eat protein shakes and peanut butter to hit your macros and still lose fat.

  44. This wasn’t because of insulin sensitivity but because your body was going into starvation mode at 1400 calories….

  45. Why are we debating weight loss…

    Lift Big + Eat Big (i.e. eat plenty of calories from carbs, protein and fat) = Get big

    I want to be bigger than Gary Taubes.

  46. How to identify a poor nutritionist? I think number one on this list should be never take advice from someone without any formal qualification. It never fails to surprise me that people will take nutritional advice from a ‘personal trainer’ rather than someone who has a recognised qualification. You wouldn’t let someone come up to you in the gym and tell you how to work out without proof they had previous experience so why not do the same when it comes to your diet. Anyone who takes pride in giving proper nutritional advice will do so using up to date scientific research. Also keep in mind nutrition messages for the general public are very different to those that would be advised for athletes so it really isn’t helpful to write off healthy lifestyle messages just because it doesn’t work for your training regime! Stop giving good nutritionists a bad name, those of us who take our jobs seriously have been campaigning for the term to be protected meaning not every other person walking down the street can claim they are a nutritionist!!! Just because you are a personal trainer or have big muscles does NOT give you the right to go on google type in something vaguely related to nutrition and then come up with a diet plan to hand out round your gym

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