The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the largest governmental organization of food and nutrition professionals in the US. It was originally founded in 1917 with the intent of improving the public's health, and serving the public as a source of good advice about food and nutrition.
Originally known as the American Dietetic Association (ADA), it has had a troubled history when it comes to questionable business practices. In 2012, the organization officially changed its name to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
The majority of states have their own laws governing the regulation of dietitians and nutritionists. This regulation essentially prevents anyone from giving the public nutritional advice without "government qualification." There are two problems with this regulation:
- Government-approved and sponsored education on the subject of nutrition is poor at best (as evidenced by past and present USDA food pyramids), and
- It protects those educated by government-approved institutions from any competition. Other professionals, even those with Master's degrees and PhD's in nutrition who are NOT accredited by US government-sponsored educational facilities are limited in the use of the word "nutrition" as a qualification.
Non-Government Educated Nutritionists Fight Back
Dr. Pamela Popper, ND
From 1980 to 2000, the power of the (formerly) ADA became too extreme. In 1996, it filed lawsuits against 795 people for giving nutritional advice that were not members of the ADA.
Fortunately for the American public, it went after Dr. Pamela Popper, a well-known nutritionist with two PhDs, and threatened her with criminal prosecution. Dr. Popper fought the board every step of the way, exposing the underhanded practices of the ADA, which included:
- Putting qualified nutritional professionals out of business
- Using questionable investigating techniques
- Preventing the public from being able to obtain unbiased nutritional advice given by people who were not members of the ADA.
- Uncovering that the ADA was heavily funded by... take a guess... the food industry! The ADA received millions of dollars each year from food and agricultural organizations that manufacture food products. More than $3 million - 15% of its budget - was discovered to come from food companies and trade groups.(1)
To say the views of this organization are biased toward food corporations would be a gross understatement. In fact, their website contains a series of fact sheets about food and health issues that are sponsored by the food corporations themselves. Examples include "Balancing Calories and Optimizing Fat" sponsored by Hellmenn's, and "What's a Mom to Do? Healthy Eating Tips for Families" sponsored by Wendy's fast food chain.
Dr. Popper stated "The ADA controls the educational programming and registration of the thousands of dietitians in the US. It is my personal opinion that the influence of the food industry on the practice of dietitians is a reason why nutrition in institutions such as hospitals, schools, and nursing homes continues to be abominable."
Conflicting loyalties between food corporations and the American public makes the government the wrong agency to develop the nation's educational program for dietitians and nutritionists on the subject of nutrition and healthy living.
As the government is unwilling to completely overhaul the system to the benefit of the American people, the American people are now beginning to take it upon themselves to choose a different path, and in making that choice, very important changes are taking place.
- Our food supply - corruption & failure
- The USDA Food Pyramids
- The standard American diet = chronic disease
The Emergence of Natural Healthcare Practitioners
In response to public demand, there has been a huge surge in alternative healthcare practices. We are now beginning to enjoy the benefits traditional cultures have enjoyed for hundreds of years such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and other drug-free healthcare systems. We now have access to many types of natural healthcare practitioners, including:
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Licensing varies depending on the type of practice. Many health insurance companies are now recognizing some of these modalities, and cover or partially cover them. Unfortunately, as the US government does not officially recognize the validity of these healing systems, it has no interest in creating any formal licensing framework for the practitioners. This is not the fault of the practitioners, it is the fault of the government and its close ties to traditional healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.
Traditional vs. Holistic Dietitians & Nutritionists
As the education of clinical nutritionists and registered dietitians is based on the government-sponsored programs and the USDA dietary guidelines (currently "MyPlate"), there are unfortunately many recognized shortcomings. These programs and guidelines have contributed to the state of public health today. The Harvard School of Public Health has even released their own pyramid as a much better example for the public to follow ...read more.
These shortcomings have led to the emergence of a rapidly growing field called holistic nutrition. When it comes to understanding natural diets, holistic health coaches and holistic nutritionists are forging a blazing trail. Let's talk about how their approach differs drastically from the approach of traditional nutritionists and dietitians:
|Clinical Nutritionists/ |
|Holistic Nutritionists/ |
Holistic Health Coaches
|Are formally trained based on the recommendations of the USDA dietary guidelines.||Do not follow the USDA guidelines, nor are they restricted to specific food choices or recommendations.|
|Are educated by a government-sponsored curriculum.||Are educated by privately funded, non-government curriculums.|
|Do more of the talking. Are trained in a "one fits all or most" approach, and make the same or similar dietary recommendations for everyone.||Encourage clients to do most of the talking. Recommend changes based on individual needs, rather than a "one fits all" approach.|
|Training curriculum does not recognize the difference between organic and sustainably grown foods vs. conventionally grown mass produced food and GMOs, nor the toxic effects of pesticides.||Promotes sustainable, organic agriculture, recognizing the nutritional difference between organic vs. non-organic food, the toxic effects of pesticides, and the potential health impact of GMOs based on health studies.|
|Are trained to recognize a protein as protein, regardless of whether it is plant or animal sourced.||Recognizes that not all proteins from different sources are alike, especially animal vs. plant-sourced protein.|
|Focus more on numbers, calories, and percentages.||Focus less on numbers, calories, and percentages, and more on personal needs.|
|Are trained to focus solely on nutrition and its impact on health, not other primary lifestyle factors.||Do not focus solely on nutrition, but coach clients on other important primary lifestyle factors that are just as important and that can contribute to chronic illness.|
By no means do all clinical nutritionists and registered dietitians fall into this mold. Many have recognized the serious shortcomings of government-sponsored education on nutrition. They have also recognized that current government standards have helped lay the foundation of skyrocketing rates in chronic disease today. Some have chosen to expand their education into more holistic training and undergone intensive courses on natural healthcare and a much more holistic approach to dietary recommendations.
But many have not. Some have chosen to seize the opportunity to use their education as a weapon against holistic practitioners, quick to shoot down their lack of "accredited" credentials, with little to no consideration that they themselves may have fallen prey to following a curriculum that is self-serving at best. Like the general public, they have been lulled into a false sense of belief that the "government knows best." It is inappropriate to attack an entire field based on "no credentials" when the government refuses to create any framework for these credentials. These credentials do not exist because a holistic approach to nutrition directly attacks the same processed food companies that helps fund the government.
These doctors are now looking towards integrative medicine as an answer to this dilemma (alternative healthcare approaches). Some have even extended their education to become Naturopathic Doctors, acupuncturists, and chiropractors, in direct conflict with their traditional government-endorsed education.
More and more doctor's clinics are combining traditional and natural healthcare methods in their practice in recognition of the power of natural and non-invasive approaches to health.
How to Choose a Dietitian or Nutritionist
Because of no standardized curriculum, some natural healthcare practitioners have far more training than others. Completing a rush course in nutrition in 3 months does not cut it. When it comes to choosing a provider, it is very important to do your homework and ask what training they have received, and from which educational institutions.
Ask These 10 Important Questions
Here are 10 questions to ask when interviewing a prospective dietitian or nutritionist. The answers to these questions will help give you a sense of how knowledgeable and well-rounded their approach is to health and nutrition. If you suffer from a health condition, it is very important that nutrition be looked at as only one component of healthy living, and that you receive the guidance you need on all the other areas of your life that may be contributing to your condition (such as stress):
- What are your qualifications and where did you receive your education?
- Are you knowledgeable on different dietary approaches such as vegetarian and vegan, low carb, high carb, and raw foods, and can you help me understand which are healthy choices and which are not?
- What are GMOs, what do the health studies show, and why should I be concerned?
- Which serious health conditions are pesticides directly linked to, and why is incorporating organic foods important?
- Can you educate me on what areas of my life, aside from nutrition, directly affect my health?
- Can you educate me on the dangers of common toxins in household cleaners and personal care products, and how to make healthier purchasing choices?
- Can you teach me about factory farming, why factory-farmed meat is dangerous for my health, about how to make safe meat purchasing choices?
- What is irradiated food and why should I avoid it?
- Can you help me understand how microwaving food affect its nutritional quality and my health after I eat it?
- Can you teach me about the root cause of chronic disease and the role nutrition plays in preventing it?
Asking these 10 questions should give you a good, solid understanding of what you will be getting for your money. All of this information is also available here in The Body Healer. Feel free to compare what you learn from reading the articles with the answers you receive to your questions.
Who Can You Trust?
When it comes to making a decision about where to get help understanding how to eat the right foods and heal yourself of disease, what do you do?
STEP 1: Recognize these important facts:
- Thousands of people have healed themselves of chronic disease through diet and lifestyle changes.
- The reason chronic and autoimmune conditions are an epidemic in the US is largely because of the failure of the government to educate us on healthy food choices. This is the same government that develops the educational curriculum for diet and nutrition professionals.
- Americans get sicker while food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies get richer. Food and pharmaceutical lobbyists are a powerful force in Washington, and the government actively protects the interests of these groups, even though this directly conflicts with protecting the health of the general public.
- Natural healthcare methods that are not recognized or endorsed by the US government have been used successfully for hundreds of years, and form the current healthcare system of several cultures throughout the world. Our epidemic of chronic disease did not exist in traditional cultures who ate a diet free of today's highly chemicalized and industrialized food chain.
STEP 2: Take action - Get educated!
- First, recognize that the top 2 causes of chronic disease are related to the food you eat and how you handle your stress. This very important piece of knowledge puts you in the driver's seat when it comes to making choices that make a big difference.
- Then, explore this website, which is here to teach you about the lifestyle and food choices that can restore you to health and vitality. The extensive knowledge I share with you on The Body Healer is based on my lifetime of personal experience, my education, working with my clients, my observation of others, my experience with and understanding of working with the human energy field, and what I have learned from others more knowledgeable than myself. It is also based on my personal experience of self-healing, and substantial weight loss (80 lbs.).
- If you still need help, sign up with a Nutritionist, Dietitian, Health Coach, or other professional who specializes in a holistic approach to health and wellness. But please, get your money's worth by asking the 10 important qualifying questions (see above).
The great thing is that once we arm ourselves with just a little education, our common sense and intuition naturally begin to taking over. We begin paying attention to what we put into our mouth, and reading ingredient labels. We begin to question the logic of putting processed food that contains lab-made chemicals into our mouths. We recognize that if pesticides on our food were created to kill insects and other life forms, then how can they possibly be in the best interest of our health?
In short, we begin to wake up and wise up.
Knowledge is power
and power is what The Body Healer is about...
Putting you in the driving seat,
and helping you take back your power.
- Why choose natural medicine
- Our food supply - Corruption & failure
- The FDA - Failure on a mass scale
- The toxic US healthcare system
- A medicated nation
- The fatal cost of medical errors
- Nutritional "experts"?
- Food pyramids & food politics
- Global repercussions of American food
- Vaccinations: The pros & cons
- Your immune system & how it works
- The Dirty Dozen: What they are & how to avoid them
- Why our pets are getting sicker
- Raising children naturally