ABSTRACT

Traditionally, dietitians are considered the experts on nutrition and weight among their allied health colleagues. While a foundation in nutritional science endows dietitians with an important source of knowledge regarding nutritional deficiencies and disease, dietetics’ over-reliance on positivist approaches to nutritional health seems ill-fitted in providing people nutritional support that respects the contexts of their lives (Buchanan 2004). The term ‘nutritionism’ has been coined to describe the fixation on nutrients, at the expense of context and experiential knowledge of food and eating, and the resulting ‘nutrition confusion’ that has confounded peoples ideas about what to eat (Coveney 2006; Scrinis 2008). However, nutritionism has enabled dietitians to solidify their position as nutrition and food experts and the trusted purveyors of specialized knowledge about the science of food and eating; the more people are convinced to rely on nutrient information to determine what to eat, the more they may rely on dietitians to interpret and translate said nutrition information (Austin 1999).