THE BLOG

Why I Won't Back Down to My Online Bullies

07/16/2015 05:32 EDT | Updated 07/16/2016 05:59 EDT
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Last month I published a blog on why I don't think people need to quit sugar completely.

I got a lot of positive feedback on the post, but I also got a fair amount of rude BS thrown my way because somehow, my personal and professional view of sugar really offended some people.

I want to announce that I stand by what I wrote 100%. I still don't think that anyone needs to quit sugar completely. I am not supportive of restrictive diets, and while I feel that most of the population needs to cut down on added sugars, I don't see any value to restricting yourself to a diet without any sugar whatsoever.

I was pretty shocked but unfortunately not surprised at some of the comments and tweets that I got, attacking my credibility and character. These are just a few of the less vitriolic ones:

"a degree in nutrition is worth as much as a degree in theology"

"silly @langernutrition, she's not worth the time"

"where did you get your degree, sugar university?"

"I guess your outlook depends on which brands you're an ambassador for"

"you're a complete idiot"

"You're clueless"

"you're a troll"

I even had a photo that I posted on Twitter (not of my face, mind you, but still) defaced by a Low Carbohydrate High Fat devotee who was particularly rude -- actually, the LCHF people were the worst, most cruel commenters of all. The person who defaced the photo is a doctor, but appears in his Twitter photo without a shirt on. It's interesting that I've been attacked on Twitter exactly three times; once by another RD, twice by people who are doctors but appear in their Twitter photos without a shirt. I think this fact just crystalizes for me the sort of person who seeks attention so desperately that they'll appear shirtless online and attack another professional without any regard to how it makes them appear to their patients.

Anyhow, what I want to say is that if you disagree with my point of view, that's wonderful, but attacking me only makes you look bad. It's incredibly unprofessional for a medical professional or anyone else to bully people online, and it's incredibly offside to be rude to someone in a public forum.

Some people disagreeing with me is part of what I expect when I post my work online, but I expect that you'll present me with credible -- i.e. not cherrypicked or poorly conducted -- evidence to prove your point. I also expect people to actually read my post because some people clearly and incredibly didn't before commenting, which blows me away. Telling me I'm dumb and accusing me of selling my credibility to make a quick buck only diminishes your integrity, not mine.

After 16 years of being a dietitian, I know better than to represent any product that I wouldn't feed to my own family. Writing a positive review or representing a product just because they pay me is against my professional and personal beliefs and is written about clearly in my disclosure statement. Suggesting that I do such a thing just because you don't agree with what I wrote is nasty and just wrong in so many ways.

It also goes without saying that vandalizing a photo that I posted for a client, which was taken and posted without any relation to the HuffPost piece, is disgusting behaviour. The person's defence? He was "just keeping it real."

Real unprofessional I suppose?

Go ahead and present me in a calm, polite way with evidence against my viewpoint, and I will read it with an open mind. No one wants to listen to anyone whose main defense is "well, you're stupid", but I will happily engage in civil conversation with someone who doesn't agree with my take on something, because that sort of discourse helps my practice by teaching me about other perspectives. And it's so nice to chat with people who are professional and smart, or with someone who just wants to know more about a nutrition topic.

Right now, I haven't had one speck of credible evidence to change my mind about what I've written, so I'm standing by my piece. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and who read my piece and shared it. I appreciate your kindness!

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Was 2014 The Year The Internet Turned Nasty?