Did you read the article that appeared in the Globe & Mail last week about nutrition experts on staff in grocery stores? The writer made a boo boo lumping unregulated nutritionists together with Registered Dietitians while asking the question “…is their advice hurting more than helping?” hmmmm. It sparked a flurry of chatter among my fellow RD nutrition expert compadres. Truth be told, I had a case of indigestion reading it while trying to enjoy my breakfast. I have done my share of pondering, now it’s time to weigh in…
I cannot think of a more brilliant concept than having nutrition experts – Registered Dietitians in the grocery store setting, bravo! It’s the one place where the rubber meets the road to support optimal food choice propping up the health and well being of you and your family. Many times have I spied customers who look bewildered comparing products trying to figure out which choice is better.
I love the Metro “My Healthy Plate” program with a smile-symbol system right on the product shelves denoting what’s good and what’s better of the rows of offerings. It’s a solid scheme based on current scientific criteria mapped out by a team of sharp-minded dietitians. This system takes the guess-work out of grocery shopping by helping you make better food choices in every aisle of the grocery store. All of the nutrition figuring has been done for you, simply grab and go.
I get my knickers in a knot when unregulated nutritionists with healthy sounding titles promote unproven concepts tied to herbals, supplements, high priced organics and gluten free for non-celiacs. It bothers me to think that innocent consumers, especially seniors are being nudged into spending hard earned dollars on products they don’t need. It is THAT type of advice that is hurting more than helping.
Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. These days it seems that every second youthful-looking person is starting their own blog and tweeting all sorts of non-sense. Gwyneth Paltrow is a perfect example. Just because someone eats, bakes, takes a few courses, watches Dr. Oz and surfs the net doesn’t make them an expert of any kind. If something sounds too good to be true, remember… it is. To spot these imposters I wish you could just listen for that quacking sound, but alas it isn’t that simple.
What I have learned over the years is that young bodies can really take a beating when trying seemingly innocuous products. Beware though, because as we age our magical machine can’t hold up quite as well and things eventually start to break down.
Case in point, I heard a story about a woman who tried a cleanse, limiting her to only drink a high-priced, special elixir to help her find her fountain of youth. After a month on this bevy blaster her hair started falling out. That wasn’t exactly the special side effect she was seeking, good grief. That’s what happens when you don’t deliver all the nutrients your body needs consistently – it eventually breaks down. Unfortunately the wisdom of eating a balanced diet and regular food can seem unsexy and highly underrated when indeed this nugget is truly the Holy Grail… The moral of that story – don’t mess with the machine – your bodacious body, as I have written many times and explain in my ebook, Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books.
Some nutritionists spew all kinds of folksy stuff. Make sure whoever gives you advice can back up what they’re preaching using scientific evidence and NOT the popular press. If someone tells you “…well back on the farm eons ago everyone ate all ..… blah blah blah blah”. I love a good fairy tail too, but in reality the life expectancy back then was much lower than it is now thanks to the advances in modern medicine.
Listen folks, I am now north of 50 and I’m not talking latitude here, but age. I realize how important it is for me to rely on accredited, well-trained professionals to treat my body right. After all, your body IS your temple. If you want to shop around for different shoes or styles, go for it. But when it comes to your health heed the advice of accredited health professional like Registered Dietitians any time you can get it. The years of training, high standards and demands for them to consistently stay in the know to allow them to be registered by an accredited college to protect the public holds them to a higher standard. Isn’t that what you want? Why settle for anything less?
The next time you go to the grocery store make it a point to ask for a session with a Registered Dietitian. I’d like to hear on the overhead speaker “Call the Dietitian for clean up on aisle 3!”; yes clean up the misconceptions on food and nutrition issues that lurk in every aisle…