From our Dietician’s Desk: Dietary recommendations are all about education and expertise
Written by: Joleen Wilson, Registered Dietician, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician, for Pathway for Eating Disorders Treatment at Brookhaven Hospital
As a nutrition professional with a degree in dietetics, I have noted that many so-called “nutrition gurus” recommend fad diets, or ways to lose pounds quickly and easily. Certain health care practitioners, such as chiropractors; physicians with little nutrition education; health food store owners or employees; personal trainers; and others in the health and fitness industry often talk about and post dietary information and recommendations well beyond their education and expertise. As a result, they can make potentially dangerous suggestions that may not be suitable for people taking certain medications or who have specific diseases.
This just happened to me recently when I went to a business in Tulsa offering “medical massages”. After talking with the business owner for a bit about what he offers, I learn that he is giving nutrition counseling and diet planning along with personal training without any certifications or education in either subject. He claimed that his clients’ use of low carb, high protein, high fat diets allowed them to lose weight quicker. He also went on to quote “medical knowledge” related to insulin and macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) storage that was completely inaccurate. As I left, I began to think how many lives this person has touched and how potentially dangerous his interventions might be without adequate education.
For this reason, dietetics professionals like myself must step up as the experts the public turns to for accurate food and nutrition information both on and offline. Beware of individuals who lack the education and expertise, but, unfortunately may be making potentially dangerous recommendations. Dietitians are most qualified to disseminate the appropriate information to remind the public that healthful and delicious foods can go hand in hand to prevent and manage chronic disease and promote overall health and wellness.