Welcome to the fifth episode of Flippin Health podcast! For this episode, we’re joined by Dietitian Dr Caryn Zinn. Registered dietitian in New Zealand, a senior lecturer, and a clinical practitioner. She is also an author, alongside Professor Grant Schofield and Chef Craig Rodger in the What the Fat? book series.

Dietitian Caryn Zinn: Riding the Wave of Change Towards Low-Carb

Dietitian Caryn Zinn opens with how her views on diet have changed over time. In Dr Caryn’s words, it “really came as a result of low-carb starting to make noise” and Dr Caryn initially “wanting it to go away.” This was due to Caryn being aware of the Atkins Diet back in the 80s. She remembers teaching students that low-carb and high protein diets “are bad”. She also recalls telling her students it could give bad breath, and one could die of heart disease from “too much saturated fats”!

Caryn Zinn also shares being “highly skeptical” and delved into literature to prove it wrong. She further recalls being a student and merely taking in information about food nutrition guidelines and accepting them.

She further adds Tim Noakes’ contribution to making her change her mind. “When Tim Noakes makes some noise about something, he’s usually right,” she adds.

Now that the research is getting stronger, she’s never looked back.

How Caryn Zinn Dealt with the Ferocity and the Debate

Caryn says she never took the ferocity personally. Instead, she moved through it gently. The “ferocity” also went on for about two to three years. She even got three formal complaints. The first two she received were from dietetic colleagues. The complaints were fueled by comments that she made on YouTube videos. One comment she wrote was “fat doesn’t make you fat”. But she now thinks of the rebuttal she received as “laughable.”

The third complaint that she received was from an entire organization, the Dietetics Association of Australia. She also adds that many of their complaints were unfounded.

Tim Noakes and South Africa

Dr Caryn Zinn also shared about her involvement with Tim Noakes and his trial. Caryn states that Tim Noakes “turned the South African world upside down”. Her involvement then comes through the “historical relationship with the professionals” and her being a researcher and practitioner.

Additionally, there’s also only a small number of qualified dietitians. Caryn Zinn states that in a country like New Zealand, there are not many academic jobs. So being a dietitian is more of a vocation.

Caryn left South Africa at the end of 1995 and applied for her first-ever job. It was a public health nutrition job and Caryn admits never wanting it. However, she found working in the community “cool”. Four years later, she found that she “kind of liked” teaching. Eventually, it became her entry to research. She further shares that the pressure to take up masters and PhD came about the fact that many would take a physiologist with a PhD to teach nutrition rather than a dietitian without a PhD.

Owing Her Work Ethic to South Africa

Dr Caryn credits her hard work ethic to her upbringing and from her experience in South Africa. She adds that an immigrant in a foreign country doesn’t muck around and takes whatever job they get.

The Importance of Sleep

Dr Caryn leaves important advice to listeners. First is to eat, sleep, and exercise well, get enough sun, enough social interaction, and embrace your community and family.

She emphasises getting enough good sleep. As from what she sees in her clients, not getting enough sleep leads to poor decisions and poor decisions lead to poor choices.

Listen to the full podcast here.