The Dietitian Dirty Dozen: Worst Nutrition Trends of 2017

Nutrition and Diet

Have you heard of the EWG’s Dirty Dozen List? It’s the Environmental Working Group’s yearly publication of which fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of pesticide residues on them. Their goal is to encourage consumers to purchase more organic produce vs conventionally grown. The trouble is, organic certainly DOES NOT mean chemical-free like you might assume. The higher prices combined with confusion and conflict between purchasing organic or not actually influences lower-income families to buy fewer fruits and vegetables overall. The exact opposite of what should be happening!

SO I’ve created a Dirty Dozen list of my own- The 12 WORST Nutrition Trends of 2017. These are trends (and I’m naming names people!) that despite promising us better health and wellness by buying into their garbage, have actually made things worse. Not unlike the EWG’s list.

Thank you to everyone who contributed their ideas for this list. I love to see so many of my facebook and twitter followers spotting nutrition BS!

So without further adieu, here is the Dietitian Dirty Dozen for 2017!

12. “Periods are unhealthy”

We have a young lady named Freelee the Banana Girl to thank for this one (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was naming names). Like young women  everywhere don’t have enough crap to deal with, we have idiots like her posting Youtube videos claiming that if you menstruate it’s a sign that you’re unhealthy and your body is trying to get rid of ‘toxins’ (refer to #4 on this list for more about toxins…). These videos promote a strict raw vegan diet for optimal health and no more nasty, toxic periods. Now, obviously a normal menstrual cycle is important for fertility and definitely not a sign of anything being wrong with you. But, did you know that at very low body weights, girls often stop menstruating due to hormone disruptions related to being undernourished. SO, the diet changes Freelee wants us to make aren’t making periods stop because we’re SOOO healthy, quite the opposite actually. The loss of a menstrual cycle due to low body weight is a huge red flag, and can have lasting effects on not only fertility, but other aspects of health like bone density.

A huge trend of this list is these whack-jobs who think they’re saving the world with their ridiculous nutrition advice. I hope in 2018 fewer of these scammy folks make the list!

11. Ketone Supplements

This one looked like it was on it’s way to becoming the next big thing….until science got involved that is. A company (Pruvit) began marketing a drink powder mix containing ketone bodies that promised to get you into a state of ketosis within 30 minutes! Taking all the challenge out of following a Ketogenic diet while still reaping the UNBELIEVABLE benefits (the clincher though, was that for best results they still recommended you follow a Ketogenic diet, which would make it virtually impossible to prove that their supplement did anything at all). The first time I heard of this company they had ZERO human trials to back their product, it was all based on theories. This year though, they did manage to have a few studies conducted on whether or not their supplement would lead to the superhuman performance they were promising.

Guess what? They SUCKED

Not only did the trial show zero benefit to athletic performance when taking the supplement, but actually caused severe digestive upset in many of the participants. One subject was so sick he couldn’t even complete the trial. It was technically a blind study, but due to the side effects the participants easily guessed which product was the real one and which was the placebo. Some thought they had improved their performance when taking the ketones, but in actuality they did worse…the effort just felt harder. That’s like, the opposite of what you want. (you can read more about the study details here)

I have to admit this made me feel rather smug. I got into a bit of a heated debate with a sales person from this company about their lack of evidence earlier in the year, so to have it be such a disaster in trial was just icing on the cake for me 😉

If you want to read more about my thoughts on the The Ketogenic Diet click here!

10. Gwyneth Paltrow (GOOP), Food Babe, David Wolfe, The Snake Diet Guy, and all those other ‘health guru’s’ who use fear-mongering to try and convince consumers that real science cannot be trusted. 

They’re full of shit and I’m getting real sick of it. 

Some people just love a good conspiracy theory, and it certainly draws attention to go against the grain. Creating drama to sell more books or get more traffic on your website is just a marketing ploy, and should always be looked at with skepticism. Especially when the information is coming from someone like Gwyneth who openly admits to having no idea what they’re talking about on her website.

In reality, nothing is as bad for you as the headlines claim. On the flip side nothing is as good for you as the headlines claim either. Good nutrition comes from that middle ground, which may not get people very excited, but it’s the truth.

9. Putting Children on Diets

This one kills me. I understand that parents want the absolute best for their children, but unfortunately are putting their trust in the wrong people when it comes to deciding what to feed them. Parents go to websites like GOOP, read about the horrors of gluten, dairy, pesticides, etc, etc, etc, and next thing you know their children are living on almond milk and kale. There have been too many stories in the news this year of children suffering from malnutrition and even dying because their parents were not providing them with a balanced, nourishing diet. The parents thought they were doing what was best for their kids, but in reality were doing serious harm. In less extreme cases, restricting a kid’s food intake or the type of foods they’re allowed to have can alter their relationship with food as they get older, and not in a good way.

The lesson here is don’t buy into fear mongering tactics and nutrition BS. If you have child feeding questions ask a Registered Dietitian!

8. Breathatarianism

It’s a mouthful to say, but these guys are just full of hot air (see what I did there?) Ok, so these guys think we don’t need to eat food at all, we can get all the nutrients we need by absorbing energy from the earth. So all this hunting, gathering, and farming that humans have been doing for millenia was for naught because we actually can just get our nutrients from the air. Aside from being possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, it’s actually pretty offensive when you think about the millions of children who starve to death on this planet every year.  Like they’re just not doing it right.

Unsurprisingly, many of the major “breathatarian” advocates have been caught eating on numerous occasions. Because absorbing nutrients and energy from the air and earth isn’t really a thing….

7. Intermittent Fasting

I don’t know how this became a thing. Just go as long as you can without eating, then eat a bunch all at once? Seriously. 

6. The “Every Diet At Once” Diet

Some people can’t seem to just choose ONE fad diet, so they try do it all. At the same damn time. Eventually they’re on some kind of insane Ketogenic, Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free, Paleo, 21-day Fix, Whole 30 thing where they fast for 16 hours a day, put coconut oil in their coffee, and are literally surviving on protein shakes and kale. Except for the weekends when all that goes to hell and they’re cheat-mealing the FUCK out of Saturday night. Most of these diets completely contradict each other not only in ideologies but in food choices as well, which means there isn’t much left to eat. Sure you might lose some weight, but it’s just because a person can only eat so many almonds.

At the end of the day all this is a recipe for disaster, not good health.

5. Healthwashing

This is when a company creates a food product (like cookies let’s say), but makes them vegan, with organic gluten-free flours, coconut oil, and ‘natural’ sugar instead of all that “poison” they use to make Oreos. They give their product a super healthy sounding name, place it in the natural section of the grocery store and boom! Profit. Consumers mistakenly think that gluten-free, or vegan automatically mean healthy, or calorie-free, when that actually couldn’t be further from the truth. 500 calories of organic vegan all-natural cookies are no different than 500 calories of Oreos, except for the unfortunate hit to your wallet.

4. Detoxing

Let me be crystal clear about this because it’s a trend that has been hanging around for FAR TOO LONG. We do not need to detox. Our bodies have systems in place to remove unwanted substances and waste (the liver, kidneys, and intestines in particular). All the detox pills, teas, and cleanses can never do what our bodies are made to do themselves. What’s even more concerning is how often these detox supplements end up causing serious damage to our organs (like the liver and kidneys!)

Another important thing to note is that the “toxins” that people think we need to rid ourselves of actually don’t often exist in the first place….

So don’t waste your hard- earned money on teas and supplements that claim to do this job for you.  Spend that money on healthy food instead! 

3. “Biohacking”

Listen, the human body is a machine with millions of years of adaptations to help us survive just about every scenario life can throw at us. You can’t trick nature, and you certainly can’t outwit it either. All these diets that claim you can “hack” your biology and change the way your body functions is an utter load of BS. Instead of trying to “hack the system”, why not treat your body like a partner, and work with it instead of against it?

Biohacking is just another diet industry buzzword and I’m definitely ready for it to be a thing of the past!

2. Food-shaming 

Seriously, mind your own plate people! When did choosing to eat meat or dairy or grains become so controversial? We’ve begun to treat dietary choices like a religious war and it is getting HEATED. Read the comments section underneath any popular nutrition article and you’ll see how crazy some people can get. There is no one-size fits all diet, and how does my choosing to eat pasta or cheese affect your life at all?!  Like, Chill out guys.

Imagine the world we could live in if everyone put that amount of energy and passion into real issues, not worrying about what someone else decided to have for dinner….

aaaaaand drumroll please!…….

My #1 WORST Nutrition Trend of 2017 is…….

1. Your Chiropractor, Personal Trainer, Neighbour, or kid’s elementary school Teacher thinking they’re a Dietitian

I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but Nutrition is a science. This means that for someone to be an expert in the field of nutrition they probably should have spent some time studying the science  of nutrition.


Instead, EVERYONE thinks they’re a nutrition pro and it’s their duty to make their ‘expert’ opinions known, aggressively I might add. You wouldn’t hire me to do your taxes or fix your car, so why take nutrition advice from an unqualified person?

So stay in your lane guys and I’ll stay in mine! 

Read More: 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take Nutrition Advice From Just Anyone

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10 thoughts on “The Dietitian Dirty Dozen: Worst Nutrition Trends of 2017

  1. Yeah, in regards to your #1 trend I just want to point out I watch the Food Network like always and I know everything now. Just saying!

  2. Your article is fantastic Steph! It’s amazing to see how diets and “healthy” eating has become trendy and endorsed in the most asinine ways by celebrities. All of these fad diets/pills/teas etc are believed to be the real deal because a Kardashian posed in a picture on Instagram holding it. And everyone thinking they are qualified to talk about health and nutrition because they read a blog and watched a YouTube video on working out and the Paleo diet, it’s just mind boggling. I appreciate having well informed and educated people like yourself out there calling out all these people who are polluting our feeds with bullsh*t information! 🙂

  3. Along with all your other blog posts, I could not agree more with everything you wrote in this blog post specifically! As I am currently a 3rd year Human Nutritional Sciences student at the U of M, I learned so much from this post (and so many of your other posts like I said) and found that it aligned so well with the education I am receiving:) Just goes to prove your point that registered dietitians ARE the real go-to experts on nutrition advice and counselling!! Keep up the great work, and as a new subscriber, I just love your blog!

    Ps. I was actually at the “Meet the Dietitian Event” that was held at U of M about a month ago and really enjoyed your talk! You are a great role model for an aspiring Dietitian like myself:)

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