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What It's Like to be a Nutrition Student

“You must eat perfectly,” “You learn how to cook in school, right?”, “You basically teach people how to lose weight,” “You don’t eat dessert, do you?”

As a dietetics student, I’ve heard these statements and questions a million times. Because interest in nutrition as a gateway to better health is relatively new, misconceptions are understandable. Actually, I don’t mind these remarks as it gives me a chance to provide clarity as to what it means to be a dietetics student. 

Though most students participating in a didactic program strive for nutrient density in their diet, easily navigate their way through a kitchen, encourage others to maintain healthy weight, and stray from consistent refined sugar intake, our education has much more depth and purpose. A didactic curriculum includes biochemistry, pathophysiology, micro and macronutrient metabolism, research, medical nutrition therapy, and nutrition-focused physical examinations, among other science-based coursework. We learn how certain nutrients affect our natural body processes and how we can manipulate these processes through the diet, creating a healthier internal and external body. We study the way our biology reacts in different environments and in accordance with societal factors, disease risk, and genetics, ultimately using nutrition as a tool for prevention and resolution. 

A common theme throughout our coursework is learning about “food as medicine” and how we, as future healthcare workers, can treat our patients or clients. It’s encouraged to put ourselves in the patient’s shoes and acknowledge their starting point so as to not overwhelm the individual, but to be empathetic in their struggles.  

Dietetic students are excited, passionate, and optimistic when discussing the future of healthcare and confident in the impact of dietitians. Most value a balance between a strictly “clean” diet and one that allows flexibility. We work hard, commit to our studies, and strive to create lasting change in the world.


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