Foods Nutritionists Never Eat

By Robin Hilmantel

Many nutritionists will tell you that they’re big advocates of the “all foods fit” approach to healthy eating—the idea that even things like cookies, cakes, and candies have a place (albeit in moderation) in an overall healthy diet. That said, there are still foods that they personally wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot-stick. Granted, they may be ones that you love and simply couldn’t eliminate from your diet altogether—and that’s OK. 

Still, it’s pretty fascinating to get a glimpse into the eating habits of people are who paid to help others eat nutritionally for a living. So we asked several nutritionists to share the foods that they would never, ever eat. Here’s what they had to say: 

1).  Processed and/or Canned Meat or Cheese “I particularly avoid those that are made with additional thickeners, preservatives, sugar, or a high content of preservatives. Animal products (and food products in general) that have to sit on a shelf inherently require a decent amount of processing to protect against microbial growth and contamination. I’d rather go for the fresh version than eat something high-sodium and preservative-rich (hence why some processed meats have earned their ‘mystery meat’ name).” —Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., senior clinical dietician at Mount Sinai Hospital

2).  Non-Dairy Creamer: “It’s completely without nutrient density of any kind, and it can increase your risk for heart disease.” —Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., a wellness manager at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute

3).  GMOs “If it’s controversial, I err on the side of caution. Plus, I prefer organic, high-quality foods that are clean and more environmentally sustainable.” —Katie Cavuto, M.S., R.D., the dietician for the Phillies and the Flyers

4).  Pepperoni “I personally don’t love the taste, but more importantly, I’d much rather top my pizza with nutritious veggies than overly processed meat.” —Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet

5).  Diet Soda “Those who are drinking diet sodas are most likely looking for that sweet taste without the extra sugar and calories. Unfortunately, that sweet taste comes with sugar cravings and increased caloric intake throughout the day. I’d recommend slowly removing diet soda from your diet. If you’re looking for an extra boost of caffeine, try green iced tea. Or if you’re a bubbly connoisseur, opt for a club soda with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Diet soda is all chemicals and won’t help you avoid extra calories in the long run anyway.” —Keri Glassman, R.D., Women’s Health contributor

6.  Maraschino Cherries “The added sugar, chemicals, and artificial dyes ruin the health benefits of the naturally delicious fruit.” —Michelle Davenport, Ph.D., R.D., a Silicon Valley nutritionist

7.  Cold Cereal and Fat-Free Dairy “Most cold cereals are loaded with added sugars and are missing protein and fiber. If I eat that to start, my entire day will be thrown off eating-wise, as I’ll be hungry and on a sugar crash within an hour or two. Fat-free dairy is something I avoid whenever possible. It certainly doesn’t taste as good as regular dairy products, but mainly because I think fat is a super important part of each meal. Having good-quality diary that’s full fat is delicious and nutritious.” —Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., founder of B Nutritious

8).  Soda “It’s literally liquid candy with absolutely no nutritional value. Why bother?” —Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., the nutrition and health expert for NBC’s TODAY Show and Founder of NourishSnacks  

9).  Fluorescent Orange Crunchy Snacks “Most chippy packaged foods are an absolute waste of calories and are loaded with chemicals. But any of them that are orange? Well, that pushes yuck over the edge. These are salt, chemical, and artificial color cocktails in a bag! Steer clear.” —Keri Glassman, R.D., Women’s Health contributor

10).  Artificial Sweeteners “I can’t bring myself to consume something I know is fake and void of nutrients. Plus, my body doesn’t like them.” —Katie Cavuto, M.S., R.D., the dietician for the Phillies and the Flyers

11).  Bacon “Unless it finds its way into my Brussels sprouts with my knowing when I’m dining out, bacon is a food that I haven’t eaten since I was a child. Its high saturated fat and sodium content has been a huge deterrent for me for years.” —Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet

12).  Hot Dogs “Processed meat loaded with preservatives and barely any protein? No thanks!” —Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., the nutrition and health expert for NBC’s TODAY Show and Founder of NourishSnacks  

13).  Sugary Beverages “For example: coffee, juice, and tea ‘drinks.’ I’d rather eat my calories (or save them for a glass of wine!) than drinking calorie-rich, nutrient-poor beverages that don’t fill you up.” —Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., senior clinical dietician at Mount Sinai Hospital

Comment Stream

3 years ago

Quite the sexist list of experts there

3 years ago

You have some really dumb nutritionists who recommend full fat dairy. Hope you realize palmitic acid (milk fat) has 1 and only 1 dietary consequence: Heart disease. No biological role other lining your belly and arteries.

Also the one who recommends not consuming diet drinks in place of sugary drinks is also devoid of any biochemical wisdom. The insulin rebounding effect (the thing that makes you hungry) is lower than actual sugary drinks.

If you have include a nutritionist that says 'because it's controversial' maybe you stop making scientific lists all together. Nutrition is a science, not Deepak Chopra like 'woo woo'.

3 years ago

Oh my gosh. You people EAT? You don't exist on good thoughts and bottled oxygen? Get with it. You're all so unhealthy

3 years ago

I would rather listen to some doctors than a load of "dieticians"