Who are these magical people who are trained to navigate the world of food and nutrition without freaking out and help others do the same? And do they, like, never eat carbs? To answer these questions and others, BuzzFeed Health reached out to four registered dietitians.
And by the way, even though we use the word "nutritionist" throughout this post to describe experts who provide guidance and expertise on diet, for this post we talked to registered dietitians, professionals who earned a degree from an accredited program and have registered with a board that licenses dietitians.
We talked to Abby Langer, RD, owner of Abby Langer Nutrition; Jessica Jones, RD, community health clinic outpatient dietitian and co-creator of Food Heaven Made Easy; Shelly Redmond, RD, founder of Skinny Louisiana; and Ben Sit, RD, president of Evolved Sport and Nutrition. Here's what they had to say:
1. They aren't interested in judging your diet or lifestyle.
2. There's no one diet they think is superior.
3. They won't tell you to say goodbye to all the things you love in this world.
4. And, yes, they do want to help you start to enjoy healthier foods, too.
5. They got into nutrition because they love food, not food rules.
6. And they don't eat super healthy 100% of the time.
7. Clients who are mega self-educated about nutrition are kinda hard to deal with.
8. They basically have a sixth sense for when clients aren't being totally forthcoming.
Langer says after 17 years as a dietitian, she can usually tell when someone is trying to find a way not to mention the major sugar bender they just went on or that they had a less than ideal weekend in terms of eating or drinking.
Another telltale sign: when a client isn't making progress toward their goal and there doesn't seem to be any reason why.
9. They don't want to talk nutrition while they're socializing.
10. And they definitely don't want to debate which diet is "best."
11. Nutritionists can also help with some of your ~feelings~ about food and eating.
12. They're not super into how other health care professionals deal with food and nutrition.
13. And, yes, they know exactly how to lose 10 pounds super fast.
This story has been updated to clarify the distinction between nutritionists and dietitians.