Faddy Diet Cultures – Dr Kim Kardashian BSc MSc RNutr RD?
“COME GET YERRR APPETITE SUPPRESSING LOLLIPOPS, GUV’NOR! – They’ll make you skinny, rich, famous and devoid of all integrity…”
I’m paraphrasing Kim K here, but that was the essence of the message from the bootylicious one back in summer, when she was (most likely) paid millions of dollars to peddle some naff “diet” sweeties. She was quite rightly derided for this endorsement, as well as labelled “toxic” and “a bad influence”.
I have nothing against Kim K, btw. If she wants to get her bits and bobs out for attention and money, good for her! – However, profiting from disordered eating is grotesque and immoral in the extreme. Unfortunately, there are a proliferation of examples from the social media pages of reality “celebrities” – *detox teas, wonder pills, juice cleanses, meal replacements etc etc – and they’ll be many more in January 2019; when faddy diet culture reaches its annual peak.
*spoiler – none of these actually work and you’ll probably just end up on the toilet for the majority of January*
Now, some of these dodgy claims get removed or altered, but not before they reach thousands (if not millions) of impressionable young people. This isn’t only an issue in the celebrity social media realm; it permeates every town, city and western country. An online buy/sell site based in a town local to myself is besieged by crappy diets, detoxes and empty promises (all of these could be yours for only £200).
I should emphasise that I am NOT blaming the individuals unlucky enough to fall for these scams. However, I AM blaming those that choose to profit from the common misunderstandings pertaining to nutrition, healthy eating and dieting. It’s so incredibly easy to be misinformed in regards to what’s best. There’s so much nonsense floating about on the internet and then it inevitably reaches the playground, the uni, the staffroom, the office:
“cut out bread”,
“carbs make you fat”,
“oh my god, you can’t eat after 7pm”,
“you need to detox your body of sugar”
and so on and so on…
What do we do if Barry from the chippy offers us an eye test? We say, “Just the chips today, please Barry”. If Kerry Katona offers to perform a much needed tooth extraction, do we say “Oh, yes please, Kezza and whilst you’re here, please can you check the mole on my shoulder”, or do we say “On yer bike, Katona! I know better from the last time!”.
What do we do if Alan down the pub offers us a smear test? We slowly back away and call the police, thats what! We know where the line is for these issues, so why not nutrition? If we listened to these unsubstantiated claims, we might as well be wired up to a vitamin drip for the rest of our lives. Who wants to live on meal replacement shakes? Yes, you may lose weight initially, but are you planning on using them for the rest of your life? (Please don’t). Who wants to spend hundreds of pounds of weight loss products, when we could just eat a little bit less?
There are plenty of ways YOU can eat all of your favourite foods, drink your favourite drinks and enjoy life! How, you ask?? Well, we must all become a little better at sifting through the nonsense.
Just because someone has a lot of followers on social media, that does NOT make them qualified to give nutrition advice. Just because someone is a PT, that does NOT make them qualified to give nutrition advice. Just because someone did a 5 month nutritional therapy diploma, that does NOT make them qualified to give nutrition advice. Just because something apparently worked for Julie’s husband, that does NOT mean it will work for you.
We need to question things – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There is no magic ingredient in that Herbalife drink that will make the weight drop off. The only pounds you will be losing are from your wallet/purse. There are no magic pills, short cuts and potions in nutrition.
Where to turn? – Well, luckily there are thousands of QUALIFIED individuals out there just waiting to help you:
Registered Dietitians (RD) – they have at least a 3 years bachelor degree or 2 year postgraduate degree. You can find a RD near you at https://freelancedietitians.org/
Finding a qualified nutritionist is a little bit more of a minefield. This is because the term “nutritionist” is not protected. This means Aunty Susan is technically allowed to call herself a nutritionist. BUT, you can find good quality, well educated and evidenced based Registered Nutritionists (RNutr) or Registered Associate Nutritionists (ANutrs) at http://www.associationfornutrition.org/.
These nutritionists have at the very least a 3 year bachelor degree (and most have a MSc degree). Take any other person offering you nutrition advice with a pinch of salt.
I hope this was helpful.
If any angry Kim K fans want a chat, tweet me @samfornutrition
Eat lots of yummy food at Christmas/New Year!
Sam BSc (Hons) ANutr