Dieticians aren’t as healthy as you might think

Yesterday I noted how Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for millions of Americans.

However, for “food phobic” men and women, just enjoying a well-balanced meal with meat and fat can be the ultimate ordeal.  Not surprising given some of the ridiculous, finger-wagging advice given out by supposed experts.  In fact, in a new study I’ll tell you about in a moment, a staggering percentage of registered dieticians suffer from harmful eating disorders, and have unhealthy attitudes toward food.

In these cases, men and women can form unhealthy, emotional feelings about food.

Of course, these unhealthy feelings can eventually lead to long-term health problems. They can also lead to social embarrassment.

I recall going out to a wonderful seafood restaurant while on summer vacation with a colleague who was visiting us with his wife. My colleague’s wife was following some kind of strict, restricted diet.

You could not ask for a fresher, healthier menu than what was on display that evening. But instead of ordering something real, she had some kind of nondescript salad, with not an ounce of fat or protein.

Feeling naturally unsatisfied, I supposed, she kept childishly snatching portions of real food from her husband’s plate, then my plate, and even the children’s plates (which were not all filled with the healthiest of ingredients, by the way).

Some modernists say that people in China, France, and Italy seem “obsessed” with food. But in my view, these cultures embrace a healthy, positive, affirmative attitude about enjoying good, fresh food — from field to market to kitchen to table.

And I know many fine cooks and chefs who make a great living out of celebrating fresh, whole ingredients and foods.

But some misguided “health food experts” and “dieticians” wag their fingers at us about eating whole, natural foods that include fat and cholesterol. I frequently express concerns about their lack of knowledge on the real science regarding what humans need to eat to achieve optimal health.

I often wondered what drives these dieticians to jump to certain conclusions… since it’s obviously not the science.

Well, it turns out research even has an answer to that question… And I wasn’t a bit surprised

Dieticians have unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about food

Registered dietician nutritionists receive specialized training to learn how to develop optimal, healthy meal plans for clients. But a new study suggests they may not follow healthy diets themselves!

For this new study, researchers looked at the incidence of orthorexia nervosa (ON) and eating disorders in 2,500 registered dieticians. ON is a type of eating disorder that includes symptoms of obsessive behavior in the pursuit of a healthy diet.

The researchers gave the dieticians two standard eating disorder questionnaires. Then, they evaluated the presence of ON based on reported eating behaviors, concerns about body shape and weight, and dietary restraints and restrictions.

Overall, they found that a staggering 50 percent of dieticians were at risk for ON and 13 percent were at risk for a generalized eating disorder. And eight percent of the dieticians disclosed having an eating disorder.

Both those at risk for ON and those who received prior treatment for an eating disorder had lower BMI. And those with ON symptoms appeared to have disturbances in eating and increased concerns about body shape and weight.

You should remember this study when you consider where you get your dietary advice.

There is an old proverb in medicine, “Physician heal thyself.” Tragically, we can probably apply that saying to half the registered dieticians in the U.S.

There’s another old saying about what happens when “the lunatics are running the asylum.”

A little bit of knowledge — coupled with a lot of ignorance about nutritional science — can be dangerous, especially when motivated by unhealthy, obsessive attitudes about food and eating.

My advice?

Skip the complicated, restrictive diets. Instead, stick with a balanced diet of wholesome, fresh foods — including seafood, meats, dairy, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.  And ignore the advice of so-called dieticians and nutritionists.

To learn more about my simple, common-sense “Bear Diet,” subscribers to my newsletter can read my special report called The Top-of-the-Food Chain Cure for Obesity. (Simply log in to the “Subscribers” tab via and scroll down to the right-hand sidebar titled, “Library of Confidential Cures.”)



Orthorexia Nervosa and Eating Disorder Symptoms in Registered Dietitian Nutritionists in the United States,” J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Oct;117(10):1612-1617