Media-savvy dietitian Susie Burrell says people should be wary of weight-loss advice being spruiked by TV personalities Peter Evans and Sarah Wilson.
Ms Burrell said neither was a qualified dietitian and their one-size-fits-all programs may even be detrimental to a person’s health.
Wilson, who hosted the first season of MasterChef, has a mandate of no sugar and My Kitchen Rules co-host Evans preaches the Paleo diet and says it’s best to cut out grains and limit dairy foods.
Evans, who completed The Paleo Way Live Australian Tour in July, is an outspoken critic of dietitians.
Both Wilson and Evans state on their websites they have completed online courses with New York’s Institute of Integrative Nutrition and call themselves health coaches.
This is where Ms Burrell, who appears on the Seven Network’s Sunrise and works for several media outlets, says the line should be drawn.
She says there is a clear distinction between a health coach and a qualified dietitian.
“There is a difference between a tertiary qualification and an accredited profession,” Ms Burrell told AAP.
“It’s not that they can’t have an opinion, but they question the qualifications and biases of qualified people, and then say you should be eating this way.
“To make blanket statements and give recommendations for people’s health is questionable.”
Ms Burrell said she studied for seven years to gain her degree as a dietitian and that the Nine Network’s resident dietitian Dr Joanne McMillan spent 10 years getting to the top of the profession.
Dr McMillan is also vice-president of the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association.
“They (Evans and Wilson) don’t have the qualifications or experience to be giving dietary recommendations to people,” Ms Burrell said.
“Every single person is different and we are not saying they should not eat less-refined food and sugar, but to say don’t eat grains and all sugar is bad … these blanket statements are the problem.”
Ms Burrell is not the only high-profile dietitian to take aim at Evans, who also works for the Seven Network.
Leading dietitian Karen Inge told News Corp Australia this year Evans was misguided in discouraging people from eating dairy foods and to eliminate grains.
“I think he should take a look at centenarians and he’ll find that most have been eating dairy and grains all their life, Ms Inge said.
Ms Burrell’s issue with Wilson is that she has not quit sugar but substituted one form of the sugary substance for another.
“Sarah says no sugar but there’s so much sugar, it’s just in different forms,” Ms Burrell said.
“Her website is packed with cakes and muffins and they are stacked with rice malt syrup, which is still sugar.”
Ms Burrell said dietitians had to be registered and accountable to a higher authority whereas celebrity chefs selling cook books and quick-fix diets need only answer to themselves.
“They are leveraging on society who don’t question qualifications and they don’t have any accountability.
“I published a diet once in Woman’s Day and I was on provisional probation for a year because I had said `rapid weight loss’, so I can’t say anything in the extreme.”