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Diet Culture Dumpster Fire

A reporter asked me yesterday if I’m worried about all the people on Ozempic for weight loss.

I told her that’s like worrying about one flame in a giant dumpster fire.

A dumpster fire where rich people pay millions to go hungry while millions of children go hungry for free.

A dumpster fire where people read, “Janice lost 25 pounds due to explosive diarrhea” and think, “Where’s this explosive diarrhea and how can I get it?”

A dumpster fire where entitled people know the price of eggs went up but not that SNAP benefits went down.

And an ongoing dumpster fire in our own profession, where diet culture is being laundered into “peer-reviewed evidence.”

There’s the EAL debacle of last year, but that’s for another day. Today is for a totally different travesty from inside our profession: a bogus opinion presented as fact, planted by the diet industry for the sole purpose of improperly referencing it later.

Which is exactly what happened.

Let me back up.

Reading the recent AAP guidelines (more on that here), Section XI, Part B, caught my eye:

“Evidence-based Pediatric Obesity Treatment Reduces Risks for Disordered Eating.”

Intrigued, I read on:

The structure and underlying principles of the [weight loss] programs described here share multiple similarities with eating disorder programs.”


Which weight loss programs are these?

I immediately flipped to the citation. It was a reference from our very own Academy journal, “Patient Centered Care For Obesity: How Health Care Providers Can Treat Obesity While Actively Addressing Weight Stigma And Eating Disorder Risk,” by none other than the Dietitian Grand Poobah of… wait for it… Weight Watchers.

You can’t make this stuff up!

Want to take a guess which eating disorder treatment they were referencing? The one that “shares multiple similarities” with weight loss plans?


Yup. The armpit of treatment. That insults dietitians. That assigns sessions by BMI. That doesn’t deserve a footnote in our journal, much less glorification.

As disgusted as I am, I almost admire the authors… it’s evil genius, really. Cherry-picking the one eating disorder treatment that actually IS a weight loss program and banking on the fact that no one will care.

No, I blame the editor of the journal, and reviewers, and anyone who greenlit this into publication without ASKING ANYONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT EATING DISORDERS.

I considered writing a letter to the editor about how inappropriate it was, but I didn’t want another migraine and I doubted they would listen. I mean they won’t even publish my actual research articles, why would they publish my rant?

So I’m ranting to you instead. Because this is what I do. I read, I sift, I rant, and then share my findings with you.

Like the article about the dumpster fire, and the other quote the writer used:

“We are talking about explosive diarrhea, and people are saying, ‘Sign me up,’” Setnick says, referring to one potential side effect. “Somehow, we are not communicating well.”

Switch out “explosive diarrhea” for “Academy” and the result is the same: We are not communicating well.


An invitation:

  • If you’re like me and want to make a difference…
  • If you’re tired of generic information you can’t actually apply…
  • If you’re annoyed that your schooling didn’t prepare you well enough…
  • If you’re looking for more tools your clients need TODAY…
  • EatingDisordersBootCamp might be a perfect fit.
  • Visit the site, email me your questions, or let’s schedule a time to talk.
  • We’re all in this together. I’d like to help you find what you need.

With admiration for everyone who continues to fight the fire – Jessica

PS – Thanks to everyone who shared more free eating disorder resources with me so that I can share them with you:

Free Supervision Q&A Live: March 3 noon Eastern

Free Supervision Snippets (on demand)

Free Webinar: Caring for Trans+ and Intersex Clients March 10 12:30 Eastern

Free Webinar Recording (on demand) Centering Compassion and Agency in Eating Disorder Care: Approaches for Clients and Providers

And I totally forgot to link to my own page of free resources: Presentations, Articles, Podcasts & Webinars

Posted in Jessica Setnick

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