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.