As a nutrition student, I do love food. I also appreciate eating to keep your body healthy. And while I absolutely love what I study and I know that won’t change, I’ve gotten a couple of comments from people that really showed some misconceptions about nutrition and the people that study it.

1. “So are you like a crazy health freak?”

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I get asked this question a lot, and it’s the worst. While I’ve used the term myself, it can feel demeaning, because someone who was studying another aspect of health is less likely to be asked this question. 

There are so many stereotypes about people that are health conscious, but particularly when it comes to food. It seems that in some people’s heads, someone who is moderately health conscious turns into a personal trainer that you didn’t want who follows all the health trends you can think of and will force feed you superfood salad while screaming “15 more reps”. And that’s just not true at all.

2. “Then I guess I shouldn’t ever eat in front of you”

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What? Seriously, what? Nutrition students are regular people. Just because we know how food gets broken down doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy braking down that pizza and cake. Trust me, we eat junk food too and we would probably like your company while we do so.

3. “That makes me feel really bad about myself.”

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This always sucks to hear, and I never know what to say. Someone else’s lifestyle choices shouldn’t make you feel bad about your own, and if they do, take it as a challenge to change your own habits instead (a piece of advice that I could definitely use when it comes to comparing myself to my hella fit friends).

4. “So you just study different kinds of vegetables, right?”

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We do study vegetables a little bit, yes. But we study so so much more than that. Nutrition is a health science. We study biochemistry, anatomy, microbiology, metabolism, sport nutrition, nutrition throughout the lifespan, chronic diseases, and a lot of other science-y things. We also study socioeconomic factors, food science, cooking, health practises, aspects of the food industry and patient care. 

5. “That’s useless.”

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First of all, ouch. Second of all, preventable diseases are among the leading causes of death right now, and proper nutrition is a massive part of preventing those diseases. Doctors and nurses actually receive minimal education about nutrition, and I think it’s safe to say it’s pretty important that someone does.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also had tons of people get really excited about the idea of studying nutrition. The few negative responses really reveal the fact that nutrition is something that people don’t know much about, and that that needs to change – which hopefully I can do once I get that sweet degree.