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Food Bullying Podcast

Apr 15, 2024

When dietitians are offered a seat at the table of commodity boards, food brands, and non-profit associations, there are benefits for all involved - including the consumer.

But what’s the emotional price tag the dietitian must pay when partnerships are erroneously scrutinized for all the world to see? Is the discussion more nuanced than recent articles would you to believe?

Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD, and owner of Street Smart Nutrition, is a fierce advocate for fearlessly nourishing meals, and she uses a weight-inclusive approach in her work in private practice and nutrition communications. Working with many industry partners, Cara emphasizes that her primary goal as a registered dietitian is to share nutrition information and knowledge with as many people as possible. 

Being able to go on farm tours and partake in other immersive agricultural experiences has allowed her to do just that - and to be well-versed in where our food comes from and how it’s grown.  Through these experiences, Cara has built a network of industry and food science experts on whom she can rely for further insights as issues arise in our food system and mis and disinformation continue to proliferate on social media.

While Cara emphasizes the potential for bias to increase when compensation is introduced to industry partnerships, she also notes that there is an inherent degree of bias in ALL partnerships, and that having a strong litmus test of who you’re willing to go to the mat for and defend publicly should a partnership come under scrutiny can help guide dietitians in choosing industry and brand partners.  Moreover, Cara believes that there are many ways in which dietitians can make money and that they should be compensated for their work - regardless of the implicit media message suggesting that they should be limited in their career choices.

As she often highlights processed foods in recipes and on social media, Cara points out that the degree of processing a food goes through is not an indicator of its health or nourishing value.  Listen in for her insights on how the role of processed foods has evolved over the past half century, and for her personal standards when it comes to grocery shopping.

Find Cara on all social media platforms @streetsmart.rd and visit