The Feeding Doctor on Pinterest

Marie Claire promotes disordered eating

Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Blog Posts | 50 comments

What “nutritionists” really eat?

Click on this piece of garbage from if you fell like some good old-fashioned outrage… (warning, triggering)

Hint: 5 edamame is one of the more filling items mentioned….

Since when is a lunch of “nothing” and a breakfast of “tea” sound nutritional advice.

This article totally appalled me. My FB “likers” are pretty upset too. I’ve tried to leave a comment on the Marie Claire site, but can’t. The “article” chronicles what 5 “nutritionist” eat (or rather dont’ eat.) It legitimizes and recommends dangerous eating practices. How can we let them know this isn’t right, this is dangerous and promotes disordered eating and eating disorders?

from the article:

Core advice: “I don’t recommend my diet to beginners. Start slowly with any diet or detox, and make sure you’re eating tons of seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables.” (my note: she eats “TONS” of nothing…)


  • Lemon tea with fresh, raw grated ginger, a squeeze of lemon, and Stevia to taste (a natural, calorie-free sweetener), 24 fl oz — 3 calories*
  • Mountain Valley Spring Water, 16 fl oz — 0 calories


  • Nothing


  • One small watermelon — 230 calories
  • Two cantaloupes — 376 calories
  • Two bananas — 200 calories
  • Smoothie (pineapple, avocado, kale, alfalfa sprouts, coconut water, mint) — 366 calories


  • Box of Salud macaroons, 4.5 oz — 604 calories


Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Cecile

    Well, I feel that it just gives a example of how this particular nutritionist does not follow her own advices, probably. Nothing worse than a physician who smokes and tells people not to. And the other ones (on pages 2, 3, 4, 5…) are not as bad. And I did not see how Marie-Claire was promoting anything in that case ?

  2. Susan

    The last two dieticians featured were pretty reasonable, in the variety and the “real food” factor (as in, people would actually eat that on a regular basis without feeling deprived or like they’re turning into something cruciferous, the third one was clean with a decent amount of calories but overly rigid on the “health” factor). I was a little surprised that the lowest calorie count was on one that had a good variety of food.

    The first couple are just wacky and Roth-like.

  3. Lisa

    I went to that person’s website and could not find any information about what kinds of professional training and licensure she has. If anyone else has found out, I’d like to know. If I were a professional dietician, I would be extremely ticked off that someone like this is parading around representing what a ‘nutritionists’ is to the general public.

    • E

      Not to mention that if she takes bmi as seriously as most mainstream nutritionists seem to, it would be the responsible thing for her to publically address the fact that by bmi she is technically underweight. If she were in the size acceptance community, she wouldn’t have to (but then she also wouldn’t be helping people lose weight), but she is part of mainstream culture.

    • Sam

      I didn’t find anything either – just info on how to spend your hard earned money on her books and program. I looked up all 5 “nutritionists” and found websites for 4 of them. Only one listed that she is an RD, the others did not, and I assume they do not have the credential. Each site seemed to contain more information about their celebrity clients and testimonials than anything else. Go figure.

  4. Kirsten

    I don’t know about anyone else, but this sounds an awful lot like an eating disorder, based on incredibly rigidity.

    I must be the only person I know who doesn’t have a routine when it comes to eating. I don’t always have breakfast because I may not be hungry until lunch. Or I may not have lunch because I was starving when I woke up and had a huge breakfast. I may be too full from lunch to have much more than a snack before bed, or I might have had a good sized lunch and STILL be very hungry at night. I just rely on how I feel.

    Am I mistaken about that being the way your supposed to respond? Eating when you’re hungry and just not eating if you’re NOT hungry?

    There are so many mixed messages out there regarding weight loss and being healthy. Pick up one magazine, it says to never ever skip breakfast–doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you eat something. The next magazine says definately eat breakfast but only eat this, this or that. The next one says, no just have a glass of water and a mid-morning snack. Marie Claire says to just skip breakfast AND lunch and then stuff yourself stupid with fruit at night.

    And I also can’t help but notice the implied virtuousness of some of these foods:
    **make sure you’re eating tons of seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables — because a reasonable serving of out-of-season frozen fruits and vegies will apparently kill you.
    **Lemon tea with fresh, raw grated ginger, a squeeze of lemon, and Stevia to taste (a natural, calorie-free sweetener)–because decaf black tea with a little skim milk is akin to drinking battery acid when compared to FRESH, RAW GRATED GINGER.
    **One small watermelon–I’m sorry but I’m not familiar with small watermelons. do they exist? Are they, like thin people, preferable over the larger (read: FAT) watermelons?

    And then of course the omni-present SMOOTHIE, the epitome of the healthy lifestyle. Seriously–does this woman actually EAT anything, that requires extensive masticating? At what point would she ingest protein? Fruit is lovely and good for you, but it’s largely fibre and carbs. Protein is necessary, no ESSENTIAL, to sustain life. You’re body can repair itself without it. Too much is not good, but you do need some.

    Honestly…….putting articles like this in any magazine is not good, but even worse being popped into the womens magazine that are obviously geared towards younger girls, is just plain bad.

    I used to devour Cosmopolitan every month, and believed every word between it’s glossy covers. that was over 20 years ago. The magazines today are much worse with their ridiculously impossible standards (thank you photoshop, as if airbrushing wasn’t bad enough), and the resulting assvice in articles such as these that promise to make you look like this model too, if you just do exactly what I tell you. No regard to the safety of the advice or that what might be right for one person is dead wrong for the next.

    Sorry, went off the original topic, but I read these things and it never fails to amaze me how everything is so interconnected.

    • katja

      I know, smoothie is the cure to all nutrition ills… Certainly does smack of an eating disorder, for most of them really. Did you notice they all ate pretty awful foods all day and had to “indulge” in somerthing? Why not enjoy what you eat, not feel the need to take a vacation from your “good” food…

    • katja

      It sounds like you are really tuned in to hungry and full. You are not the only person not on a schedule, you have found what works for you and helps you feel good. I eat “lunch” often at 10:45 for example… Some folks who are still learning to get in tune with hungry and full may benefit from scheduled “eating appointments” as the Fat Nutritionist calls them, but certainly don’t eat if you’re not hungry, eat if you are. It’s complex, but you’ve found what works, so stick with it!

    • Twistie

      You’re far from alone, Kirsten. I know I said in my earlier comment that I need protein in the morning, but sometimes I need it within minutes of waking up and there are other days when I don’t even want to look at food until I’ve had at least two cups of coffee. I allow my body to tell me what it needs and when.

      Hungry happens when it happens and is satisfied when it’s satisfied. My body is usually predictable within an hour or so, and I’m lucky to have a flexible enough schedule that I can satisfy it in its own time. Other people can time down to within a few minutes when they’re likely to be hungry, and some people can never tell over the course of hours. Each body is different.

      Oh, and I KNOW! If black tea with a dab of skim milk is battery acid, what am I doing to myself with ACTUAL COFFEE???????????????????????????????????????????? Let alone my fondness for the occasional glass of Ovaltine in whole milk!

      Clearly my mother feeding me frozen green beans killed me dead before I was seven.

    • librarychair

      Some of the other people had smoothies made of kale and protein powder. I guess the smoothie is a way to eat food you hate by sucking it through a straw and past your tongue, like taking a pill? God forbid you eat food you actually enjoy. “Let thy food be thy medicine” is a mentality that, when combined with ideas about medicine like “the more unpleasant it is the more effective it must be” is a recipe for disaster, IMHO. Or at least disgustingness.

  5. Debra

    i cannot even believe that they would print that and think it is ok.

    the first “nutritionist” is 5’7″ and 117 lbs (i am 5’8″ and even when i was a skinny teenager i weighed 130 so she must seriously be rail thin) and apart from some fruit… she has little actual nutrition going on – has she never heard of protein even if she is banishing carbs. If she would actually eat breakfast and lunch she might not feel the need to binge on an enitre box of cookies! seriously scray stuff to be endorsing!

  6. Emerald

    Yuck. I saw this on Jezebel, and what freaked me out was how many people seemed to think that, regardless of how they were spread through the day or their makeup, this woman was taking in ‘a lot’ of calories. 1800 really isn’t that much – it’s only a couple of hundred above the ‘starvation’ phase of the famous Minnesota experiment – but more and more these days, I’m seeing people insisting that 1500 is enough for a healthy adult woman – the implication being that for weight loss, you have to go well below that. Collective ED anyone?

    It also reminds me of the New Age guru Jasmuheen, who claimed you could live on light, or ‘prana’ and give up food all together. She was widely discredited when she was caught eating cookies on a plane flight, but more seriously, she was implicated in the death of one of her ‘followers’ by anorexia at a retreat in Scotland.

    The other big point, which Sam touches on, is that many people in the UK (and probably it’s a similar situation elsewhere) don’t know the difference between a dietitian, who has professional qualifications and must be registered with the BDA, and a nutritionist, who need not be qualified at all. A lot of people out there are imposing their own brand of nutritional wackiness on clients who don’t even realize they’re not qualified. It’s rather scary.

    • katja

      yes, yes and yes… I probably eat closer to 2500 (not sure) and have had stable weight for years. I agree, 1500 gets thrown around as a “healthy” amount. It happens to be the amount in lots of those pre-paid meal plans etc, where they insist it isn’t a “diet.” Yes, nutritionists are a mixed bag, but an RD does not gaurantee good advice, though there is much, much more training involved. ( I know a great “nutritionist” but the whole Meme Roth brand makes me afraid, very afraid.)

  7. librarychair

    It’s pretty ludicrous actually. I kept forgetting, as I was reading the article, that they were seriously considering this to be a good idea.

    I’d like to make my own version…

    Breakfast: bread with cheese and/or eggs (9001 calories)
    Snack: oatmeal with sugar and butter and pecans (307 calories)
    Lunch: leftover chili with toast (1101000 calories)
    Naptime: nothing (GASP)
    Pre-dinner snack: ants on a log (crawly bonus calories)
    spinach (green calories)
    2.5 oranges (orange calories)
    ice cream (french calories)
    0.5 oranges (0.5 calories)
    more logs with no ants (what)
    taco macaroni (has legs)
    cats on a log (cats on a dog)
    nude beach. (silica)


    and by this point I’m actually eating in my sleep. or sleeping in my eat.

  8. Bree

    If I skip lunch, I get shaky, sweaty and my legs feel like jello. So I must eat in the afternoon.

    And I’m the last person to lecture anyone on their eating habits, but gorging on tons of fruit and drinking a smoothie before bedtime is not good. I know it would make me bloated, nauseous and uncomfortable during my sleep time. I find that a snack two – three hours after dinner does my body good and satisfies me until breakfast the following morning.

    I can’t believe these people are professional nutritionists—if I followed their plan, I would be irritable and more than likely fainting!

  9. Sam

    Katja, thanks for posting this article to your blog as well so that more people can read and respond to this nonsense. I’m glad your readers are feeling as infuriated as I am.

    This article sickens me on many levels, first of which is the blatant promotion of disordered eating. It is troubling that magazine readers may hold this up as an example of “professionals” practicing what they preach, and that’s just frightening. I’m also bothered by the fact that it was more important to highlight celeb clients, ht and wt rather than credentials.

    The good news is that there are well qualified, caring registered dietitians out there who do follow their own advice, which is to eat in a normal, well balanced manner while having a healthy relationship with food. This article highlights the importance of asking questions about a provider’s philosophy and approach as well as their credentials and experience.

    I also recall the previously mentioned Marie Claire article about overweight actors on a popular tv show. Just check their health articles online and you can see the magazine’s priorities. I didn’t read the mag before, but now I will to keep tabs on their next destructive, irresponsible article on this subject. It’s only a matter of time.

    • Jenny Islander

      I don’t buy women’s magazines anymore since the demise of BBW and Mode. The “Hate your body!” message is everywhere.

  10. Cynthia

    Huh, what a weird way to get 1779 calories. I can eat an avocado and bean burrito on whole wheat for breakfast, soup and a piece of fruit for lunch, and homemade french toast for dinner and not go over that, and I bet I enjoy my life way more than she does.

    • katja

      i know, it’s like Meme Roth, they are probably both miserable, miserable people, and no fun to be around… I wonder if any of them smoke?

  11. Laura

    Oddly enough, I worked for a couple years in a nutrition research lab at a major research university. Our department head was, at that point, editor in chief for the Journal of Nutrition. My boss (a full professor in said nutrition research department) and I ran into him at the McDonald’s across the street from our building once.

    So I can say with a lot of authority that some very smart nutritionists eat at McDonald’s. (This was in the ’90s, though, so it might be different now).

    • katja

      🙂 I imagine they wouldn’t be caught dead in one, even if they wanted to eat there. Might be professional suicide…

  12. lyorn

    This is a joke, isn’t it? I remember one of that kind, starting with a disgustingly “healthy” breakfast, a reasonable lunch, a large amount of “bad for you” food for dinner, culminating in a large box of chocolates as a late night snack.

    Someone is being had here. And it’s not even first of April…

    • katja

      sad thing is, I don’t think this is a joke. they talk about their “celebrity clients” who are all thin and “fabulous” and I imagine makes the body dissatisfaction and motivation for dieting even more acute for readers…

  13. Kate S.

    I honestly can’t think of how to write anything except that is appalling, absolutely appalling!

  14. Twistie

    Wow. I usually find that I get really grumpy if I don’t start the day with a little protein. My body also tends to crave a lot of dairy.

    So I had a small bowl of cream of wheat for breakfast, tilapia fish tacos and black beans for lunch, and I fully expect to dine this evening on steak, roast potatoes, and a green salad with orange sections and cilantro dressing followed by fresh strawberries in cream for dessert. I may even have some guacamole and chips this afternoon in honor of Cinco de Mayo, if I get peckish.

    Guess who’s going to bed satisfied and cheerful tonight.

    On that ‘eating plan’ I would chew someone’s leg off before I made it through a whole day. Also, it would be a challenge getting to a leg other than my own because I would never be able to get off the pot for ten minutes! After eating nothing but sunshine and unicorn tears all day, an entire watermelon, two whole cantaloupes, two bananas, a big smoothie, and an entire box of meringue… I would be sick as the proverbial dog.

    Basically, she starves herself all day long and then gorges on food in the evening. The fact that the foods in question are mostly fruit doesn’t change the fact that that’s a hell of a lot to stuff into yourself in one sitting. The couple times I’ve tried something like that, it hasn’t mattered what foods I turned to when the overload started… it was all coming out one way or the other doubletime, and it was going to be a miserable experience.

    There’s a reason for the old saw ‘don’t eat on an empty stomach.’ Too much after too little is simply a recipe for disaster.

    • Jenny Islander

      Yes to the grumpiness–I have to have at least two eggs, or the equivalent in peanut butter/chunky soup/cold chicken/leftover pizza/whatever, for breakfast or I will have a pounding headache by midmorning. The only other thing that prevents the midmorning headache is, oddly enough, miso soup, which doesn’t have that much to it. But I can’t drink miso soup currently because my nursling can’t tolerate my eating soy.

      And absolutely, she’s starving and then gorging. All that sugar in the evening probably produces a crash that sends her into a heavy sleep.

      And most definitely all of that fruit and sugar on an empty stomach would send me off to the bathroom post haste. The only way I could see eating like that, in fact, would be right after a debilitating, appetite-sapping illness, when I might have no appetite in the morning and need to get my guts moving in the afternoon with lots of easily assimilated high-energy food.

      This is a nutritionist? Eeeeeyuch!

    • Jenna

      yep unicorn tears is right ROFL!

      Fruit in quanitity and taken with no other foods will cause very loose stools, a natural laxative which is why they are eating it at night. this is a very unhealthy diet plan.

  15. Marlie

    I read this article, and I don’t understand the reactions towards Marie Claire. I don’t see how they are promoting disordered eating. The point of the article was to see if nutritionists follow their own advice. If we take this sample as representation, then the answer is that many of them don’t. I assumed that they were giving healthy eating advice to their customers, but then practically starving themselves to remain thin. It made me think that they probably couldn’t maintain their current weights with healthy eating practices. I would think that unless one has allergies that affect diet, a person going to a nutritionist would assume that the professional is following the advice they’re giving, and look at them as a successful example of that lifestyle. This article showed that may not be the case.

    • katja

      My guess is that this is what the nutritionists are recommending to their clients…Why would you assume they are giving “healthy” eating advice to their celeb clients? The tone that I object to is that these “experts” are featured in the health section (not in an article exposing the horrible habits of nutrition professionals.) They seemed to be proud of and touting how they ate. If they were not proud of how they ate, they would have lied (though maybe they did lie…) They all seemed to be very thin based on weight and height. These are the “skinny fat” as some refer to them, who are only able to stay skinny by severe, chronic restriction.

      • Marlie

        I made that assumption because the article asked if nutritionists follow their own advice. Some of the nutritionists seemed to, but the particular one listed above flat out says that she would not recommend her diet to beginners. You’re right that she probably does recommend “severe, chronic restriction” to her celebrity clients. I’m sorry to say, I didn’t think about them, just the average person or “beginner” going to a nutritionist, and so I took it as no, some of them don’t follow their own advice.

        While I see a lot of issues with the information in the article, I don’t see how Marie Claire themselves did anything wrong. I can’t access the article now to check, but I don’t remember them making a judgement call either way. They have a bad track record, and are definitely not a fat or body acceptance friendly magazine. I’m sure there are women that will read this article and adopt some of these eating habits in their pursuit for thinness. Marie Claire and others of their ilk definitely share responsibility for feeding into a society that promotes and rewards this behavior, but this article on its own does not promote disordered eating. If it does, it is only because the magazine on the whole promotes disordered eating, which is a slightly different animal.

        • katja

          fair enough 🙂 we will agree to disagree. Thanks for taking the time to comment here.

  16. unscrambled

    Was I the only one that thought there was some grade inflation on some of the caloric calculations? Like, you know, nuts wrapped in collard greens.

    Also, can we have a moment for the fact that these are the foods these folks chose to advertise to the world as what they eat/presumably what they recommend to clients? Like, ok, I’ll go visit this lady (note: all ladies) and I’ll be told to eat..nothing.

    Makes me feel a bit defensive about eating dark chocolate, which seems to be the indulgence (yuk) of choice around those parts.

    • katja

      no, i thought so too… It’s so they can say, “See, this is not a “diet” approach, its a lifestyle.”

  17. Nicole

    Marie Claire was also the home of the infamous “Should we really be allowing two fat people to, like, kiss and stuff on TV because, GROSS!” article last year. Not exactly my go-to source for sanity about food and bodies.

    • katja

      ooh yes, I remember now. Sad thing is, many do read this, and particularly the “health and nutrition” section should be held to some kind, any kind of standard…

  18. Dawn

    Jezebel picked up on this, too, and one of the commenters there looked up the macaroons — they’re made with honey, coconut and water so she’s getting a whole lot of sugar and a whole lot of nothing else.

    I’m so glad that I’ve found you and via you Ellyn Satter because now I can combat the crazy out there for myself and my kids. Argh.

  19. Erylin

    this only proves what i have known all along (and studies show it too): a large % of nutritionists are recovering from some sort of eating disorder. of 8 women in my ED therapy in college i was the ONLY one not going to be some sort of food counselor or gym/health teacher.

    • katja

      yes, this has come up in comments before. in some ways it is a natural “fit…” Most of my patients who had EDs when I was in college health were also in nutrition, kinesiology or pre-med. I have also heard that EDs are common in culinary schools and in the culinary arts, though in practice with the folks I know in food, I have not found that to seem as common…

    • Lisa

      This is true, but it doesn’t sound like this person is, um, “recovering” just yet!

  20. KellyK

    Oh, and this quote is priceless: “I believe that we take our vitality predominantly from the air, sunlight, and clean water, so I don’t take anything but this ‘life force energy’ until the sun goes down.” Uh. Huh. That works great, if you’re a plant. But since my skin isn’t green, I’m guessing I’m probably not capable of photosynthesis and might require some actual food.

    • katja

      I know, right? If it weren’t so sad and dangerous it would be funny. I think I missed those lectures in my anatomy and physiology classes back in med school…

    • Jenny Islander

      If she had said, “I, personally, just don’t get hungry until late in the day, so this is how I eat,” I wouldn’t consider this disordered eating. But this quote is heavy with the implication “And you can too.”

      • KellyK

        Good point. Lots of people don’t eat breakfast because they’re just not hungry.

        • Jenny Islander

          Since I can’t edit my posts: “I don’t recommend this diet to beginners.” Beginners in what?

  21. KellyK

    The daily calories aren’t horrific, but no lunch at all, and no breakfast of any actual caloric value? And a smoothie for dinner? Those cookies in the evening are probably all that’s keeping her from falling over.

    • Susan Swan

      Just found this website – its great, but who/what is this maria Claire and has she died of Kwashiorkor’s yet given that she is not eating any protein what so ever?

      • katja

        Ha! I can’t imagine how much caffeine and/or cigarettes one would need to have any energy. Makes me tired just thinking about it. marie Claire magazine 🙂 Welcome! Would love to hear more of your thoughts!


  1. Who would you trust? « Zaftig Zeitgeist - [...] to Family Feeding Dynamics for their post that inspired this [...]