8 Myths and Mass Media Ideas That Make Me Want to Enter into Competitive Eating Contests with Joey Chestnut

  1. Microwaves are Evil


Are you kidding me? Everything has positives and negatives; in this case there are more positives…and what are the negatives. I call this the “white lab coat effect,” in which a lack of understanding leads to confusion and mistrust. Yes, cooking your food will alter the nutrient content. This does not necessarily mean it will alter the food in a negative way. Microwaves have minimal impact compared to most other forms of cooking. Microwaves use a type radiation (far less powerful than the radiation from the sun) to irritate water molecules in food and create heat. Microwaves target the water molecules, employ less heat, and require less cooking time, therefore more nutrients are spared. Besides, they increase convenience which makes eating healthier, well, more convenient. If eating healthy is complicated, then no one will do it. Why do you think fast food and other convenience items sell so well? And as a disclaimer, no, your food does not become radioactive.


  1. Superfoods to the Rescue


Believe it or not, even Superman has a shortfall. The misleading concept of “superfoods” is fueled in part by our dream for the “easy button,” and can mislead people into thing that the more superfoods, the better. Yes, some foods have many good qualities which make them seem “super,” but no matter what, there is not one food that can do it all. For example, coconut oil is more stable when cooking, has antimicrobial properties, may have “healing” properties to the body, etc: the list goes on. But if you eat a coconut oil smoothie for breakfast, a coconut oil soup and sandwich for lunch, and then top of your dinner of coconut oil cordon bleu with a dessert of coconut oil drizzled with coconut oil everyday, you will develop nutritional deficiencies, not to mention a need for a larger pants size. Just like every car has different attributes that give it good and bad qualities, food is the same. The fact of the matter is that eating a balanced, varied, and moderate portion of all the food groups, while choosing healthier options, is the simplest way to maintain a healthy diet. The world is full of flavors, smells, and textures. Get out there and enjoy the hugely diverse, totally healthy food options available. Or keep eating kale and chia seeds on rice cakes because, believe it or not, this dietitian is going to enjoy a good beer when he is done writing this, and I bet nothing bad is going to happen to him.


  1. Eating Healthy? Time to Refinance


This is simply wrong. Yes, fast food meals can be very cheap (although, some can also be surprisingly expensive) and Pop Tarts provide you with about 400 calories for less than a dollar, but open-heart surgery and other health complications related to diet are much more expensive. Besides, believe it or not, eating healthy is cheaper (what the what???). Allow me to use myself as an example. In the month of June, I was employed by the USA Cycling Talent Mountain Bike Camp in Maryland. I prepared no less than 325 meals at a total food cost about $800. This means that the average meal cost was $2.46 per meal, which equates to a family of 5 eating a filling, tasty, nutritionally dense, $12.30 dinner. Now keep in mind that the kids at the camp, ages 14-18, were riding bikes all day. Their portions were, in some cases, double what another person would eat. In one meal, I made 110 eggs. In reality, I probably cooked enough food for 500 meals, making my average meal cost $1.60. A family of 5 could eat for $8 a meal. And trust me, these kids ate more vegetables and fruit than they ever have before.


  1. Cayenne, Cactus, Lemon, Cinnamon, Aloe Vera Smoothies: My Skinny Secret to Increase Metabolism


This idea makes my head hurt.  It is just like the “superfood” idea: the desire for another easy button. The idea of foods possessing magical qualities has been blown out of proportion, and leads to unrealistic expectations. There is no food that slows down or speeds up your metabolism to a degree that will actually do anything. Simply eating food increases metabolism, because, as a matter of fact, this has been happening since the start of our existence. The best way to increase metabolism is…wait for it…EXERCISE.  Juan Ponce de León never found the fountain of youth, and we will not find a superfood that increases metabolism enough to counteract poor diet choices (or make me look like Brad Pitt).


  1. Processed Foods: the Death of Society



2013-02-10 18.08.14

This is processed


This is processed…yet very different


Fine, avoid all the 100% whole grain pasta and breads you want, but first, does anyone know what “processed” even means? Coconut oil and olive oil go through a production process. Should we not consume them? Our water supply is processed. Good luck not drinking water. The fact of the matter is that there are some processed food that are less healthy than others, but it is not “processing” that makes them unhealthy, it is what the process is doing and how much you eat. Our grandparents cooked meals using sugar, salt, and lard, yet obesity rates were much lower then…now this is what I call food for thought.


  1. Sugar is toxic, and fruits have sugar, so fruits are toxic…Time for another Cayenne Pepper Smoothie!


First things first, lets point out that sugar is not the culprit. You are not going to eat one pixie stick, get hooked, and start selling your children’s possessions for your next 5 pound bag of the white stuff (Pixie stick dust). The logic that sugar increases dopamine in the brain, the same as cocaine, and is therefore addictive and bad, is a huge overgeneralization.  Oh, and did I mention that there is no evidence to support this idea. Like everything in life, there is a limit. Exercise increases dopamine, but I know for a fact that runners will not stop running for fear of addiction. To say that fruits have too much sugar is jumping on the bandwagon of irrational fear, trying to make everything black and white, and fix the multi-multi-multifaceted problem known as obesity. You can drink a Pepsi and be perfectly healthy. If you drink a gallon a day, we may need to talk.


    1. Articles like this:http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/07/16/top10-nutritional-myths.aspx

I won’t even give the name because to do so it pains me.

First, it paints an image that the “lies” told by mainstrean nutritionists are lies created by a crazed lunatic in a white lab coat for the purpose of killing the world. Second, nutritionists are NOT dietitians.  In the state of PA a license to provide nutrition advice it is not required.  If you have a pulse you can distribute any gibberish information or article found on the internet because, well, it is on the internet so it must be true.  Did you know that about 40% of all mass media nutrition related information is created to generate buzz or hits on a website for monetary gains? Just because someone urinated it doesn’t make them a Urologist.  Third, this article stretches and manipulates information to fit the need or ideas of the author.  Forth, this articles and others like it further confuse and cause irrational mistrust of actual information. They focus on singular nutrient ideas rather than total diet approaches which is something that real dietitian DO NOT DO. There are as many ways to eat unhealthy as there are fish in the sea…but don’t eat them cause someone somewhere with high seafood diet had a heart attack. It had to be the fish because there are no other factors such as genetics, lifestyle, or other food in the diet that would ever come into play. EVER.


8. Dietitians are Boring


Me eating a double decker Italian and roast beef panini with a chocolate no-bake cookie in between. I am still living

This…well, may be true for some, but for anyone who does not know me, allow me to put my food where my mouth is. Like I tell all my clients, life is meant to be lived not feared. Sit down and eat a big dirty burger every now and again and (Gasp!) have an adult beverage with it. If you want to know how dirty I can make a burger, try out this recipe:


Dietitian’s Dirty Burger


1 pound beef. I like the 90/10. It shrinks less, has a bit less fat, and still tastes good

1/2 cup minced onion

1/2 cup black beans

1 egg

1/2 cup seasoned, enriched bread crumbs

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/2 cup blue cheese

Garlic, put as much in as you can handle, minced or fresh

1 tsp each salt, pepper, smoked paprika, curry powder

2 cups spinach, chopped

1/4 cup Worcestershire

Kaiser rolls, enough for each burger


Burger Topping

One cup onion, sliced

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 c spiced rum, I like Kraken Black Spiced Rum, only 2 tbsp are for cooking.

1 egg for each burger patty

Combine burger ingredients and form into 4-6 patties. Feel free to cook a small bite in a skillet to make sure it is super flavorful. Cook no better done than medium, anything more is just not fun.

While the burgers are cookingIn a skillet on medium to medium high heat melt the butter. Then add the onions and sugar and heat til the onions are softened and translucent. Add the rum at the end and continue to heat for another 2 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Set the onions aside. Using the same skillet (you may need to add more butter or oil if you prefer) cook the eggs sunny side up.

Now top the burger with the onions and one sunny side up egg. Get a bib. This burger is not meant to be eaten with manners.


If you are of legal drinking age please note that the burger pairs very will with with an IPA. May I recommend Sierra Nevada Hoptimum. I also like a nice dark, tar-like stout such as Brewdog Tokyo oak aged stout.




  • Diane Chakravarty

    Wow, so refreshing to read this. Sane, accurate, motivating.

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