T Nation

Criticism of Registered Dietitians


I have been a T-mag reader since 1999. As of late, I must say, I am starting to get somewhat insulted from the statements that have been given on this website about registered dietitians. I am currently a graduate student in exercise physiology and nutrition and a dietetic intern.

First there was the statement in an interview done with Dr. Berardi in which Chris Shugart and he stated that many dietitians come across as blooming idiots. And naturally, being the position I am in and my future profession, I posted with my feelings and grievances with these two men's statements and Dr. Berardi actually publicly corresponded with me on the forum and said some kind words about my intentions for my profession and what it is that I do.

After all, Dr. Berardi is one of my personal role models despite the fact that I do not know the man.

Then there was also the statements in that particular thread in which another T-Nation forum member stated, and I am going on memory here, something along the lines of us dietitians having to be "professionals" or something along the lines of them not being professionals. This was all very humorous to someone such as myself, considering that although dietitians are not the most valuable workers in hospital, compared to surgeons and even nurses per se, they are still valuable professionals.

Did anyone on this board ever accompany a registered dietitian throughout their work day in a hospital or better yet, a nursing home where they are actually of high value and get paid a decent salary. Or better yet, why don't you visit them where they are more valuable and get paid even larger salaries.

I am speaking of positions such as civilian dietitian for various military divisions (Marines, Army, Airforce), research and development for large corporations such as Kraft, Gatorade, Novartis, and Nestle, private practice, and media spokespeople. Some other dietitians choose to work in community nutrition programs, outpatient clinics, as foodservice managers and directors, and as salespeople for large companies selling nutritional supplements and enteral and parenteral nutrition forumlas for such Ross and Novartis.

Some choose to work for the government in departments such as the Center for Disease Control and the US Department of Agriculture, where in fact, they are highly valuable and get BIG salaries. And finally, SOME do venture into sports dietetics.

With that being said, I want to know why contributors to this forum would even bother discrediting RDs. Out of all the areas I mentioned, do any one of them have to do with the improvement of athletic performance? Only ONE, and this was sports dietitics. So, my question is, why would someone bother criticizing someone else in a field that person never even desired to get involved with or is not trained in it? Would I criticize a pulmonologist for his lack of understanding in some aspects of urology or endocrinology? No!

So far, I am nearly done with my grueling dietetic internship. And yes, I said it, dietetic internships are academically grueling. Why don't you ask an RD you know of how much work and study had to go into becoming a dietitian, not to mention these dietetic internships? Why don't you ask some of the contributors to this site who are in fact RDs?! Clearly they are not blooming idiots! I am speaking of RDs such as Lonnie Lowery, Thomas Incledon, Christopher Mohr, Eileen Bonci, and Douglas Kalman. I am sure that MOST of them, though I could be wrong, would state that they would not want to re-live some parts of their internship.

Here are the rotations I have been through: community, long term care foodservice, school foodservice, inpatient clinical, outpatient clinical, long term care clinical, and a two week elective of my CHOICE which was sports. Do any of these besides the voluntary two week sports rotation have to do with sports nutrition? No! So again, why would you criticize professionals who are not even trained in a certain field?! Very few dietitians even desire to get into sports dietetics and therefore do not put themselves in positions where they would be called upon to even comment on this field.

Any dietitian worth his or her salt that I have inquired to about sports nutrition has honestly stated something along the lines of "I do not know much about it and I do not deal with it!"
Which leads me to another point. If the average T-Nation smart alec thinks they can look at an RD in the face and question their skill, talent, or knowledge, why don't you take a look at some of the classes I had to go through to get where I want to be? Here is a nice, enjoyable list for you from undergraduate studies:
Anatomy and physiology
General chemistry I & II
Organic chemistry
Concepts in nutrition
contemporary nutrition
Food science
Food technology
Community nutrition
Cultural aspects of nutrition
Research methodology
Metabolism I & II
Medical Nutrition Therapy I & II
Preparatory math

And then there were the graduate classes that I have taken:
Research methodology
Advanced metabolism I & II
Nutritional aspects of exercise physiology
Weight control
Eating disorders
Problems, issues, and trends in nutrition
Community nutrition
Management in dietetics
Literature review thesis

And then there are the rotations I have just mentioned. Some RDs choose to go further and absorb themselves in their profession by earning the title of CDE (certified diabetic educator), CDN (certified dietitian-nutritionists, personal trainer, strength coach (yeah!), etc. Some have done unique reseach (Jeff Volek comes to mind) and become professors. Some have written books or for magazines.

As I stated before on this forum, YES, many RDs, like in all professions, are conventional, conformist, boring, uninnovative, uncreative, and comfortable. That is why these type of people thrive in a hospital and why someone such as myself wants to work in a hospital for knowledge and work experience and so that I can actually say I have come across all or MOST medical conditions that warrant nutrition intervention.
Speaking of body composition and dietitians not knowing about it, this is certainly true. But did anyone stop to think that RDs do know a thing (or in fact, MANY things) about the treatment of disease or health related conditions though nutrition, foodservice management, and community nutrition. Are you T-readers skilled in this? I am going to break out the infamous "Krause book" and will look through the table of contents to see if you people are in fact skilled in the following areas:

The gastrointestinal tract: absorption and digestion, the small and large intestine
Nutrition during pregnancy and lactation
Dietary planning
Nutritional genomics
Lab date in nutrition assessment
Food drug interactions
Integrative medicine and phytotherapy
Nutrition care process
Weight control (no, not athletes)
Eating disorders
Bone health
GI tract disorders
Liver, biliary, pancreas disorders
Food allergy and intolerance
Cardiovascular disease
Heart failure and transplant
Pulmonary disease
Sepsis, trauma, and burns
Neurologic disorders
Metabolic disorders

Well, well, well. I guess reading bodybuilding and powerlifting magazines, including T-mag, did not give the T-mag smart alecs here the education in these matters despite the fct that they might know a thing or two about body composition manipulation or sports nutrition. From my observation, the RDs that did CHOOSE to learn about these areas, do in fact know their stuff. Why don't you take a look at the physiques or clientele of RDs such as Colette Nelson (who can probably throw a good whipping on some males even), Lonnie Lowery, Thomas Incledon, and Christopher Mohr. It was in fact, an RD, Douglas Kalman, who founded the International Society of Sports Nutrition. SCAN is a subdivision within the American Dietetics Association.

I happen to not be a couch potato future RD myself. So far, in the past year, I have attended seminars by Elite Fitness Systems, Sebastian Burns of Metal Militia, and Joe DeFranco. I also plan on competing in powerlifting after I am through with all schooling.

Wow! I feel a lot better now! Why don't you critics of dietetics look into matters before you criticize them?!


Oh boo f'ing hoo!

Maybe, instead of having a huge chip on your shoulder, you should just realize that most every profession get's ripped a new one around here -- from personal trainers to MD's.

Anyway, you are now my hero. Congrats! Happy now?

By the way, my mother went back to school and become a dietitian just before she retired, not that anyone should care.



I don't know how many times I've made similar points on these boards.

The field of nutrition is not a walk in the park, partly because it entails so many aspects of feeding and health. Sports nutrition is merely a drop in the bucket of nutrition information, and in my opinion, not even the most interesting.

We should really look beyond your own values when making value judgments.


How do I have a chip on my shoulder? I am simply a professional in a field that gets largely discredited on this forum. I have been a regular reader for 7 years. You do not think I am going to take SOME offense to this?!

In all honesty, I do not know if I want to be one's hero, but I sure want to make my chosen career something special. This will not depend on you.


I also forgot to mention parenteral and enteral tube feedings and their respective formulas.


I'm glad you feel better. I hope it was worth your time to write all that out.

Look, every profession has its good and bad, and unfortunately, it is human nature to focus on the bad. As a lawyer, I've helped elderly clients and their families, and they were all grateful for my help. I have represented people for free. Unfortunately, I never made the news. It's the lawyers who represent the idiots who do stupid stuff and then want to blame someone else who stand out. So what do I do about it? I strive to be as ethical and up front as possible. I've also managed to grow a thick skin and just deal with the criticims. I don't post some long-winded whiny school-boy rant on a forum.

Welcome to the real world, where people are going to criticise and disparage. Now go put your panties back on, Nancy, grow a thicker skin, and deal with it.


Some of the most bullshit "info" I have been given came from a dietician with a Phd. She was also VERY overweight. I think, like many professional in the health field, if they have no exposure to exercise, weight lifting or the nutrition surrounding it from PERSONAL experience, you can't expect them to know a thing about it.


Did you even read my post with any concentration and in full to see where I was even going with it and what my general point was?


Care to share what this BS info was and what area of nutrition it addressed? I agree with the rest of your post but it did just so happen that the healthcare professional who did give you such BS advice was an RD. Are you criticizing this person as an individual or RDs collectively, which I do see is common on this website.


You can very much so make a special career. But, you don't need our approval for your actions. If you find people who disagree with your thoughts on the matter, try to persuade them with your evidence except WITHOUT the attitude.

You mispelled the word 'fact' . . . (COUGH) proofread (COUGH)


Thin skin? Gee, I really wonder if people even read posts and see where the reader is coming from. Also, what is meant by a school-boy rant. And yes, I do know about the real world. Some people, or in fact a lot of people are not too friendly. I have gotten tons of criticism throughout my entire life, mostly due to my fitness and powerlifting hobby and my healthy lifestyle (ie: not a drinker, party maniac, or over spontaneous or wreckless). Not to disclose personal information too much, but I also come from a hostile background. So again, why don't you watch your negative criticism.


I thought your name looked familiar, now I know - you're the same dude who always criticizes Chad Waterbury's programs as being "too complicated." Hmmm, seems you can dish out the criticism, but when it comes to taking it, you get all whiny and defensive.

Don't dish it out if you can't take it.


Dude, nobody gives a shit about your problems or the fact you don't want to hear about criticism of your chosen profession.

I too have a profession. You won't see me pulling out my educational Internet penis to declare to everybody how hard I fucking had to work at my career because some people decide to insult the losers that also work in my field.

There are more losers than capable and conscientious people in most fields, including yours.

Now, don't you have some terribly complex textbook you have to read or something so you can save the world?

Again, on a personal note, my mother learned a newfound respect for my brother and I, as she learned what was involved in a university degree.

Surprise, surprise, it's not all partying and screwing the cheerleaders.


Well, Mr. Dietary Salvation, go save America from it's dietary travesties with your newfound expertise. If you are worth your clout, you'll go out and do some real good shit for some good people. Or maybe you'll be the guy making sure kids get veggies with their bologne sandwiches at some piece of shit juvenile detention facility.

Every dietition I've been made to go to isn't worth the fucking fat around her tubby thighs and hips. The last one was a skinny piece of shit vegetarian who tried telling me that I only need 20 grams of protein to maintain a fit body. SOund right for a guy who was judged by his neck to waist ratio and not his ability to run 2 mi. in 13 minutes?

See most dieticians ARE bullshit. As always, there will be exceptions to every norm. Stop complaining just because there are many who fuck it up for the few. Whiner!


Some of the BS that pops immediately to mind was, "No one should need more protein than 10% of total daily intake". There was quite a bit more as sitting in her class involved me biting my lip on ba daily basis, but that was one gem I will never forget. Also, yes, it is even more hilarious when the person giving you this wonderful info could be classified as "obese" and thinks, "those bodybuilders will have kidney problems". I fail to see how my life is missing something by NOT giving a damn about what skilled nutritionists think. In fact, could you even point out how my life is lacking without forcing me to giggle?


Gotten criticisms for having a healthy lifestyle? Take pride in knowing that you understand what it takes to do such a thing and laugh at those who are not interested in learning what it takes. More importantly, you love what you're doing so take pride also in knowing that you found what makes you happy. You come from a hostile background? Your point here with that remark is that you have gotten crap ever since you were a child and you're tired of it. This does not support your point so the smart decision would have been to have left it out of the discussion entirely.


Bradley, it seems you're being a little sensitive given that you so freely criticize the writers on this site;

Waterbury's Locker : Your'e making this too complicated dude!

Waterbury's Bodybuilding's Next Frontier: Looks too complicated. Make life easy. follow Dave Tate's advice for bodybuilding.

Cosgrove's Holiday Program: As always, too complicated. I will stick with 2 to 10 sets of anywhere from 1 to 15 reps.

Thibaudeau's 12 Weeks to War-Ready Guns: Too complicated. I am sticking with all basic compount pushing and pressing exercises, curls, and extensions, 3 to 5 sets, 8 to 15 reps.

As such.....I think your curriculum sounds too complicated.


What fuckin right does a dietician have to think they know about food science because it was a module in their course ?

That's like me spending a few hours watching the new yankee workshop and thinking I could now make all my own furniture.


Furthermore if we were all to follow the strange elitism young Brad is suggesting, then the MD's who post here will ban people from mentioning steroids, the exercise scientists will ban the 'Nutritionists' from getting in on any exercise threads and I'll kick the ass of anyone mentioning food as I have a food science doctorate.

Then I won't take weather advice off anybody on the tv without a degree in metereology, won't watch any cooking shows unless the chef has a food processing degree and ignore all nurses and just speak to the docs and surgeons when I'm in hospital next. Like WTF ?


Lexie - Thanks for citing additional sources to prove my point.

I admit my knowledge of what a registered dietician is not vast, but I just ran a quick Google search to see what it is that RDs actually do. As I understand the role of a dietician, as opposed to a nutritionist or someone into the science of nutrition such as Drs. Berardi or Lowery, their main function is to plan meals for institutions. Economic factors play into this. So, while a John Berardi will help you design the optimal for sports performance, fat loss, whatever, a registered dietician's main concern is how to feed a group of nursing home residents/prisoners/hospital patients/other institutionalized persons at the lowest cost possible while making sure these persons get the minimum amount of nutrition so they don't suffer from malnutrition. That's probably why dieticians think that protein should only compose 10% of total intake. Protein sources are pretty expensive compared to most carb sources, so minimizing this macronutrient will help lower food costs. Ever eat hospital food? They give you lots of carbs, but a teeny piece of meat.

Looking at acceptable degrees in order to be able to sit for the RD exam, food service management was listed as one of them. Sounds like the lunch lady who turned in her hair net and moved up to management. It doesn't sound like the type of person that you would hire to design a plan for optimum sports performance/athletic goals and effective, permanent fat loss.

This is why we criticize dieticians.