How to Win an Argument With a Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian

For reasons I have disclosed before, I prefer not to get in to online arguments with nutritionists.

I used to enjoy it, but ended up becoming frustrated so I gave it up.

But… I often observe these arguments online.

It’s fun. Usually.

There’s an annoying pattern I’ve noticed though.

The people who are arguing with the nutritionists, who seem to have all the facts straight and are trying to make their point, don’t cite any studies.

This is a problem!

I get it…

Not everyone has a ton of studies bookmarked on their computer and it can be quite a hazzle to start looking them up at the time of need.

But citing studies is critical in an argument about science. Nutrition = science!

So, with this article I decided to collect studies for the main arguments against some of the more foolish claims made by nutritionists, vegans and know-it-all low-fat zealots.

All of them are in a copy-paste friendly format. Just highlight the URLs to the studies and Click Ctrl+C (Cmd+C on mac) or right click and select “Copy.”

If you tend to get in to these online arguments a lot, I suggest you bookmark this page!

Remember Kris’s Law:

“Whatever the nutrition authorities have to say… the exact opposite is likely to be the truth!”

(Disclaimer: Many nutritionist are good people and seem to know what they are talking about, but the ones that seem to be the most active in the mainstream media seem to do little other than spreading potentially dangerous misinformation.)

Nutritionist Says: Protein is Bad For Your Bones

Put on: this face.

There are some short-term studies showing that the increased acid load from a high protein intake can lead to increased calcium excretion. That is true, but this is only a short-term phenomenon.

The long-term epidemiological studies on protein intake and bone health shows the exact opposite. Increased protein intake correlates with improved bone health and a lowered risk of fractures.

Nutritionist Says: Protein is Bad For Your Kidneys

There is NO evidence that increased protein is harmful for people with healthy kidneys.

In fact, the studies show that increased protein can lower blood pressure:

…and improve blood sugar control in type II diabetics:

High blood pressure and diabetes are the key risk factors for kidney failure. Consequently, eating more protein, not less, should be good for the kidneys.

The advice to restrict protein intake for the bones and kidneys is likely to have the exact opposite effect.

Here are two review articles that show no harmful effect of protein consumption on kidney health:

Nutritionist Says: Whole Wheat is Good For You

Put on: this face.

Whole wheat raises the blood sugar faster than most other foods and its glycemic index isn’t much lower than refined wheat..

Additionally, gluten is likely to be harmful for people who don’t have celiac disease.

Whole wheat raises small, dense LDL, which is extremely atherogenic and can lead to heart disease:

Nutritionist Says: Low-Carb Diets Are Dangerous

Put on: this face.

This is simply not true. There are no documented severe reactions to low-carb diets and they tend to improve all the main biomarkers of disease, including HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, LDL particle size, blood pressure and body fat levels.

Low-carb diets have an outstanding safety profile and appear to be healthier, more effective and easier to follow than low-fat diets:

A lot more studies on this here.

Nutritionist Says: Eating Fat Makes You Fat

Put on: this face.

This seems logical enough, but doesn’t hold up in practice.

Diets that are high in fat, but low in carbs, and eaten without restricting calories are usually a lot more effective than low-fat, high-carb diets that are calorie restricted.

Again, more studies here.

Nutritionist Says: Saturated Fat is Unhealthy

Put on: this face.

Not true. Saturated fat raises HDL cholesterol and changes the LDL pattern from small, dense (bad) to large, fluffy (good).

This has been studied extensively and an association of saturated fat with heart disease has never been proven.

Nutritionist Says: Eggs Are Bad For You

Put on: this face.

Not true at all. Eggs, especially the yolks, are incredibly nutritious and highly satiating. There has never been any proven association between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease.

Nutritionist Says: Diet Soda Can Help You Lose Weight

Put on: this face.

This is true in the context of a controlled diet. However, most people don’t count calories and do not eat a controlled diet.

In the context of a western, ad libidum diet, epidemiological studies show that diet soda consumption is associated with severe weight gain, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

Nutritionist Says: Sugar is Just Empty Calories

Put on: this face.

It’s true that sugar is empty calories, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Sugar can also lead to fatty liver, insulin resistance and may be a significant contributor to the metabolic syndrome.


Kris’s law still holds.

It doesn’t seem like it is about to change in the next few decades. Modern nutrition keeps on clinging to the old ideas that brought us the obesity epidemic and for some reason they seem completely unwilling to change their minds.

Are there any other myths (lies?) you would like me to cover? Shoot me a comment below and I’ll see if I can add them to the list.

I’d love for this post to become a “weapon” for all of us to change the world, one nutritionist at a time.


  1. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

    • I’ll second that sentiment, Kris is a great blogger and does the field a great service. One of my goals is to get my blog to be as popular as his is!

      +1’d and shared on FB, as always Kris:)

      Keep up the good work,

  2. Great post. What about “salt is bad for you”?

    • I’m not too sure if this will answer your question, but I’ll try. When you’re on a low-carb diet you have no water retention. Similarly, your body exerts electrolytes in a similar way. Perhaps on a regular high-carb diet, excess sodium can hurt your body. On a low-carb diet, however, a high sodium intake is actually good for you.

      If the author has studies surrounding this issue, that’d be great. I don’t personally have studies about this on hand and so my word is to be taken with a … grain of salt. :P

  3. The faces are killing me! I’m at work looking at these and one is blocked! Can’t wait to see what that one is!! LOL

  4. Excellent post.

  5. This is an awesome resource, thanks. Some more sections to add:
    – cholesterol / high cholesterol is bad for you, causes heart disease, hardens arteries
    – eating a lot of red meat is linked to cancers

  6. Great article Kris. Perhaps you could tackle this definition of a balanced diet from the UK’s NHS website:

    ‘A diet based on starchy foods such as rice and pasta; with plenty of fruit and vegetables; some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and lentils; some milk and dairy foods; and not too much fat, salt or sugar, will give you all the nutrients you need.’

    • I can’t help but see this through my NLP’ers eyes…

      The question that pops out for me is; ‘need’ for what?

      Need to make yourself unhealthy?
      Need to avoid disease for the first few years of life?
      Need to be absolutely average?
      Need to avoid being at peak condition?

      I don’t think that’s what they mean, which is a shame. But then they’re in the belief grip of the food industry, which has little concern about the health of it’s buyers….

      Rant over…

  7. Ragnar Hafsteinsson says:

    How about the statement many nutritionists make staying that our bodies have evolved over the centuries so that we can effectively digest corn/Wheat foods? That geta thrown around a lot.
    Great article by the way

  8. Excellent article full of proven facts AND hilarious faces! Thank you so much for supplying all of these published articles from scholarly journals to back up your claims. Since I am now eating as you prescribe, it’s great to have these references to show to friends and family when I tell them about the diet plan and they give one of those incredulous faces!

  9. Just to throw a spanner into the works – why do we say ‘give us this day our daily bread’…………

  10. kriskrisfan says:

    Kris, can you talk about dark chocolate? Nutritionists claim it’s healthy. Thanks!

  11. I really enjoy your blog. It’s quite exciting. I wasn’t eating eggs for fear of weight gain and now I take 2 a day as breakfast and I feel full all morning through afternoon.

  12. Thanks Kris! I really love your articles! Finally, someone talking sense and de-bunking all the junk. I read lots of books/articles on health and nutrition, and I find your work clear, reliable, and refreshingly no-nonsense.

    I have a question for you. Have you read the ‘China Study’? It is the analysis/findings from a huge nutrition study done in China by a team from Cornell University. The primary (and quite compelling) finding is the overwhelming link between animal-based protein consumption and cancer. The problem I have with this study is that it does not differentiate between natural/organic/free-range animal protein, and industrial/commercial/pharmaceutically raised animals. I suspect that the carcinogenic effects of a high animal protien diet are largely due to the concentration of herbicides/pesticides/growth hormones/antibiotics etc. We do know that many of these compounds are carcinogenic. So why can’t we call a spade a spade? Are there any studies out there, that you are aware of, that take on this issue of toxicity in food and it’s effects on human nutrition?

    By the way, have you read Michael Pollan’s work? Check out Omnivore’s Dilema, and In Defense of Food.

    Thanks Kris!

    Jon Wagner

  13. Great post! I love reading your posts. Great info. Many thanks!

  14. Eva LaRoche says:

    How about, “Soy is a healthy alternative to animal protein.” This is a biggie nowadays as more and more nutritionists are pushing the soy big time. Most people buy into the lie and don’t even know the difference between fermented organic and non-fermented GMO forms of soy. Which soy is really healthy to eat and in what quantities should be addressed, as well as what harm consuming the wrong kind of soy can cause to the human body.
    I, personally, do not eat soy (even if it is fermented, organic) at all as I had bought into the big lie when I was a vegan in the late 90’s and ate it like it was going out of style. Little did I know that it would consume the entire food market like a wildfire in a western state. It caused much damage to my health and my daughter’s health who I call my ‘soy baby’. She has irreparable damage to her health as well.
    BTW, thanks for all the great info you share regularly!

  15. I’m somewhat surprised you didn’t point out how diet soda is actually unhealthy because of Aspartame – that stuff’s pure poison, and sure it may not be too bad in low doses, but people who drink diet sodas ALL the time are slowly killing themselves – or quickly, depending on how your body reacts to the stuff.

  16. Love this Kris it’s exactly what I need. People ask me how I’ve lost weight (they always want to know and hope its something simple) and when I say ” low carb, no processed food, no wheat or sugar” then comes the “fad diet” comments. Here’s the one I’ve heard lately: ” carbs are good for you, it’s the energy our body lives on. If we don’t eat carbs you won’t have fuel to burn and will be listless and tired all the time.” It’s nice to have ammunition. Loridae

    • Yep, that’s the official line – you NEED carbs for energy.

      On the Diabetes UK website it says’ carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is essential fuel for the body – especially the brain.’

      Not true and seriously bad disinformation to be giving out to diabetics! Your body runs perfectly well using fat for energy and your brain can also use fat for the majority of it’s energy needs and any glucose needed by the brain can be made by your liver by the process of gluconeogenesis.

      And so the truth is, diabetics can safely restrict carbs in their diet and be able to reduce their medications for controlling blood sugar and reduce their risks of further health complications caused by diabetes.

  17. What to we say in rebuttal to Dr. Dean Ornish’s science-based study establishing that a low-fat diet is best for reversing coronary artery disease (CAD) and when he says a low carb diet is dangerous, and backs up his statements with extensive data from his studies.
    I am in a quandry with so much conflicting advice. But Ornish backs up his advice with a multitude of controlled studies. You cite one or two authorities. The weight seems to be on Ornish’s side of this issue. I would love it if you could respond with some facts that prove him wrong. I like your nutrition recommendations. I need to lose weight as fast as I can for reasons of health (CAD), but fear making unhealthy choices. I restrict my intake now – no sugar, no refined carbs, no packaged meals, no dairy, no alcohol, no coffee, no cigarettes, no red meats (just fish and skinless chicken white meat), with lots of raw or steamed green vegetables, and some fresh fruit (usually in a breakfast smoothie with kale, fresh lemon, ginger root, blueberries, spirolina, kelp, chlorella, cinnamon, and chia seeds. I use olive oil, flaxseed oil, and real butter. I eat walnuts, almonds, and brazil nuts, and a little very dark chocolate (85%). I do eat organic raw eggs occasionally. So I have adopted several components of your nutrition plan, and several of Ornish’s nutritional plan. My energy level and stamina continue to improve, but I am still not 100% normal as I want to be. I refuse to attribute this to “old age” which the doctors like to do. I exercise daily (brisk walk and some cardio, some isometric), and I lift weights (8 lb. bar bells for now.

    I am 81 and continue to gain weight on this diet regimen. I have gained 16 pounds in two years of this diet I’m following. Low Testosterone? Thyroid issues? Metabolism?
    Your advice? Citations to controlled studies? Thanks for being there!

    • The Dr Ornish issue was dealt with in an article on the Ancestral Weight Loss Register – you might want to have a look:

      Your diet sounds pretty good. You might also want to look at this post on Marks Daily Apple all about the different types of fat as your difficulty with weight gain could be related to having the wrong balance of fats in your diet.

    • I am going to have to spend a few posts on the vegan issue. I’m in the middle of exams right now though so I can’t write any posts that require a lot of research.

      I’ll get to this when my exams are over.

      I seriously doubt that Dr. Ornish has any human studies that show that a low-carb diet is unhealthy.

      Here are 20 randomized controlled trials on low-carb vs. low-fat diets:

      The only study I know of that compares a low-carb to a low-fat vegetarian diet head to head shows the low-carb diet coming out ahead on every single marker measured:

      This study is comparing the Atkins to the Ornish diet. Just take a look at the results, they are pretty clear. You might want to watch the youtube video in the article too, where the lead researcher presents the result. It is pretty enlightening.

      I don’t believe vegan diets have any sort of evidence behind them. The china study is an observational study (not real science) and doesn’t even prove anything about animal foods, the main indicator of the china study, when analyzed by independent parties, is that wheat is associated with death and disease.

      But this is an important matter and I need some time to delve into it before I can do it justice. But so far I am not impressed with the vegan diets and haven’t seen ANY evidence why they might be better than a low-carb, paleo diet. It just doesn’t make sense from a biological perspective to stop eating the foods we’ve been eating for millions of years and that contain vital nutrients that are unavailable in plant foods.

  18. I had been wondering why taking a meal replacement shake twice a day was not helping me to lose weight. The main ingredient is Frustose plus I was blending in frozen fruit as well. $80 a tub for sugar! Then there is all the extra vitamins etc they tell you you need to go with it. I believe this company grows because of its direct selling methods. People do lose weight but I suggest that is because their diet was likely very poor to start with and so their calorie intake is less. I do believe there are some healthy minerals and vitamins included but the main ingredient still appears to be Fructose. I won’t be wasting my money any more.

  19. Totally bookmarking these. Most of my family and friends think I need psychiatric help whenever I talk about any of these things. It’s good to know there are studies to back this wonderful info up.

  20. About the diet soda and weight gain connection: That would be because people who are overweight and staring diabetes in the face tend to turn to diet soda as a way to cut calories. You said it yourself: epidemiological study. They were counting how many diet-soda drinkers were fat and sick. They did not establish cause and effect.

    I would argue that if you’re otherwise following a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet, and you want to have a diet soda now and again, or even a couple a day, it’s probably not going to kill you. Especially if you stick with the varieties that don’t have aspartame in them, and prefer stevia over sucralose as your sweetener.

    This is something they need to investigate further. Counting heads isn’t really investigating–they need to go over this with a fine-toothed comb. I hate to see people get all riled up over something that probably isn’t actually an issue.

    • “In the context of a western, ad libidum diet, epidemiological studies show that…” is what I said.

      All I’m saying is that the evidence doesn’t show diet soda being a healthy alternative to soda, if anything it seems to be worse. Could be for the reason you suggested, could be something else, impossible to tell.

      And they did more than just count heads, some of these studies were prospective and did correct for confounding factors.

  21. A few of the studies you posted about fat are conflicting with your statement about saturated fat supposedly being healthy. Excessive saturated fat intake has been documented to increase LDL concentrations which can lead to atherosclerosis.
    I’ll take olive oil over lard any day.

    “These data indicate that a high saturated fat intake (especially 14:0 and 16:0) is associated with increased concentrations of larger, cholesterol-enriched LDL and this occurs in association with decreased HL activity.”

    “By that standard, risk is reduced most effectively when trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids are replaced with cis unsaturated fatty acids.”

    “The LC diet may offer clinical benefits to obese persons with insulin resistance. However, the increase in LDL cholesterol with the LC diet suggests that this measure should be monitored.”

    • For an excellent in depth look at the issues around cholesterol, Zoe Harcombe’s website is highly recommended. Here is a couple of links:

    • I don’t feel like getting into an argument here, but according to my research you are wrong.

      Saturated fat raises large LDL particles which are benign. It’s the small, dense LDL that causes heart disease, and this is mainly caused by a high carbohydrate intake.

      On a low-carb diet, HDL goes up, LDL particles increase in size and triglycerides go way down. This is consistent with a reduced risk of heart disease.

      Here’s a pretty thorough analysis I did of low-carb diets and their effects on cardiac risk factors (20 randomized controlled trials):

      Here’s a large meta-analysis from the american journal of clinical nutrition:

      “A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.”

      Your link doesn’t cite any references either. Looks like vegan propaganda (lies) to me.

      • The references and journal articles for the link are displayed in the video.

        Most nutritional studies are based on epidemiology or observation and don’t always give the whole picture. Because of this the science often contradicts itself and people do what they can to translate it to live a healthy life. I don’t see anything wrong with having a plant based diet. Research has shown that plant based diets can have many health benefits. Maybe the meat isn’t so bad, but most research has shown meat to be pro-inflammatory, which is usually the underlying factor in many chronic health conditions.

        There is a fairly new nutritional science called nutrigenomics that will hopefully one day answer all of these questions once and for all.

        And speaking of propaganda, seems like the purpose of this article is to demonize dietitians, and you’ve selectively cherry picked your articles and facts. So does that make this article propaganda?

        • Take a good look at this study here. It will teach you everything you need to know about vegan/vegetarian vs. low-carb diets (Ornish vs. Atkins):

          You might also want to check out this video here, where the lead author of the study (a vegetarian) presents the results:

          There can be several valid reasons to prefer a plant based diet, health isn’t one of them (although I’m sure they work well for some people).

          • Diets high in animal fat have been shown to cause inflammation leading to atherosclerosis, one of the primary causes of cardiovascular disease. Looking at lab panels and weight loss or gain doesn’t present the full picture. Chronic inflammation has been shown to be the cause of most degenerative diseases.

            A high-fat meal induces low-grade endotoxemia: evidence of a novel mechanism of postprandial inflammation

            Effect of a single high-fat meal on endothelial function in healthy subjects.

            Dietary saturated and unsaturated fats as determinants of blood pressure and vascular function.

            Anti-inflammatory effects of plant-based foods and of their constituents.

            Blocking the First Step of Heart Disease
            (sources are cited under the video)

          • Did you look at my links?

            What were the people eating in those high-fat MEAL studies? Probably not natural, healthy animal foods like those I recommend.

            Plus a single MEAL doesn’t prove anything. I showed you a link with 20 randomized controlled trials in humans that went on for as long as 1 year and ALL of them showed the low-carb diet to be superior.

            The other two links are review articles citing epidemiological studies. If you were familiar with epidemiology, you would know that controlled trials vastly trump such studies.

            Sorry buddy but you have been misinformed by the vegan lies. Western diets are unhealthy, but that’s because of the sugar and refined carbs, NOT the animal foods although I will agree that processed meat is bad.

            Healthy animal foods… grass-fed meat, wild fish, omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs… these are healthy foods that humans have been eating throughout evolution.

            When people eat low-carb in the long-term, their health IMPROVES. They lose weight and improve their biomarkers for disease, more so than on a low-fat vegan/vegetarian diet.

            It’s right there in the Atkins vs. Ornish randomized controlled trial. This is the best comparison there is on the health effects of such diets. Period.

          • Btw I’m going to be writing a few posts on the vegan issue when I’m finished with my exams next week.

            I’m going to delve in to the matter. These awful lies that people all over the world seem to be falling for seriously need some debunking.

          • Yes I looked at the links, and the study doesn’t prove the ornish diet to be unhealthy. You must be assuming that I am vegan or follow a high carb diet, which I don’t. In fact you mentioned that grass fed meat, omega-3, eggs to healthy, I agree. But this is not what the vast majority of people consume. The marketplace is flooded with animal products that are highly processed and very unhealthy. While you are trying to debunk the fact that vegetables are healthy, maybe you should look into mass agriculture production and look at what animal products most people have available, can afford, and do eat mostly. And how do you account for the fact that animal fats have been shown conclusively to promote chronic inflammation? I agree that wheat and processed foods contribute to a unhealthy diet. We actually agree on more that not. It’s obvious though that you’ve made up your mind and you’ll bash anyone who might disagree with you. I’m done, ok buddy.

  22. Here’s another excellent article about the saturated fat/cholesterol debate:

  23. Comparing the effect of one low fat or high fat meal is not the same as looking at the long term effect of a low carb high fat diet. A sustained low carb high fat lifestyle has been shown in studies to reduce many of the markers for heart disease.

  24. OMG! This post almost gave me an orgasm! All this priceless information all in one place. It’s like knowledge nirvana! I’m so glad I found this!

  25. I can’t seem to reply directly to Brad Smith’s post, but, you should read the links you post more carefully. E.g. “A high-fat meal induces endotoxemia.” Right in the abstract the author says “are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis.” First, atherosclerotic plaques and lesions are naturally occurring in the animal kingdom. So are endotoxins. Atherosclerosis is a term used to describe an unnatural hardening of the arteries, which science, at the moment, can in no way relate to diet or cholesterol. See the American Heart Association’s own 15-page published report in 1957 which states, “There is not enough evidence available to permit a rigid stand on what the relationship is between nutrition, particularly the fat content of the diet, and atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.”

    • Brad Smith says:

      In 1957 there were doctors who said smoking cigarettes doesn’t cause lung cancer. Atherosclerosis is a primary cause of cardiovascular disease.

      There is a direct link between atherosclerosis and excessive saturated fat intake. The endotoxins promote inflammation which then induces lipid oxidation leading to buildup of plaques in the arteries.

      Interrelation of saturated fat, trans fat, alcohol intake, and subclinical atherosclerosis

      • Regarding your link – a food consumption questionnaire is not anywhere near a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, and is therefore not science.

        Roberto Masironi, a cardiologist and president of the European Medical Association states, “Although there is strong evidence that dietary fats, particularly the saturated ones, play an important role in the etiology of [coronary heart disease], there is no proof that they are the only or the main culprit.” He goes on to indicate that sugars, which have common metabolic pathways with fats, play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis and coronary disease.

        Thus, low-carb, high-fat diet = no atherosclerosis.
        High-carb, high-fat diet = atherosclerosis.

        If you can find a study that shows otherwise, I’d love to see it.

  26. Abby Flat-coat says:

    Hi, Kris — you have a fascinating blog on nutrition. It is frustrating that so many studies become “The answer” so quickly, and it’s great that you and your group are tacking the myths head on. I don’t have time to read everything carefully.
    So, I’d prefer that the photo of my dog in a silly graduation cap isn’t there. I’ve worked in public health and don’t want the photo associated with something I haven’t participated in.

    • Hello Abby. I’m pretty new to Flickr images and thought it was okay for use as long as an attribution link was provided.

      I’ve removed it now, sorry for the trouble.

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