March 4, 2009

Administrative Announcements: Enough Is Enough

There are days when I believe the field of nutrition is being taken hostage.

Whether it's the latest cleanse asking you to subsist on liquids for ten days, a self-appointed nutritionist with no academic credentials claiming his diet "cures" cancer, a physicist who misinterprets research and thinks flour is the root of all evil, an organization that suggests liver is a better way to get your nutrients than fruits and vegetables, or a washed-up celebrity gushing about the slimming miracles of coffee enemas, nonsense and quackery are everywhere.

I have spent the last three years of my life immersed in a rigorous academic program that teaches the science of nutrition.

This has included everything from food science to biochemistry to human physiology to counseling theory to research methodology and statistics.

By the time I sit down to take my Registered Dietitian exam, I will have taken 26 courses and completed 1200 hours in a clinical setting through an accredited Dietetic Internship.

That is why it absolutely sickens me to see people with no credentials waltz right in and publish books, dole out nutrition advice, and tout themselves as experts.

Over the past few weeks I have received a handful of questions from readers that upset me; questions from people who, after reading preposterous articles all over the Internet, are terribly confused.

People who think they need to take expensive supplements to "rid themselves of parasites." People who think dairy -- or dairy alternatives -- "cause cancer." People who unnecessarily restrict their diets because some Joe Schmoe with a book "says" a particular food -- even if eaten sparingly -- "causes" obesity.

You will often recognize these charlatans by their typical Modus Operandis: hide behind pseudo science and spew out statements that sound intelligent, but say nothing.

Is there a solution? I don't know. Quacks will always be out there, looking for the next gullible victim willing to open their wallet.

And, unfortunately, many publishers, editors, and television producers care more about a famous name than a respected and accomplished professional.

Please do not treat your health lightly. Seek out reputable sources. And always have your thinking cap turned on.

5 comments:

Marianne said...

I completely understand where you are coming from, and I just shake my head at all the misinformation out there and that I hear from people around me. I'm in the process of going back to school to also become an RD, and it just makes me want to get through school even more to be able to educate those around me.

Quinn said...

Carry on ! You are appreciated and for everyone one who posts and responds, you can bet your sweet bippy that there are hundreds more casual browsers to your website who go away a bit more educated and able to discern fact from nonsense. Or at least they ask more questions, which in itself is a victory against misinformation. You're making a difference. Keep swimming upstream.

Your loyal reader -

Quinn

seeleelive (for the love of peanut butter) said...

enough is enough! thank you for putting yourself out there for us....you are so intelligent and I really rely on your blog and writing.

n/a said...

I'm glad you're here. Can you suggest a good book for me to read on nutrition? I'd like to educate myself more about what my family should be eating, now that I have a 15-month-old daughter.

Rachelle said...

Andy, at the risk of ruining your day, I urge you to check out the web site of John Gray the relationship guru of Mars & Venus fame. He is promoting and selling supplements (PGX, 5HTP, and Velvet Bean), shakes, and liquid cleanses now. He has a huge following and a Ph.D. -- dangerous combination.