With the rise of social media we’re beginning to find that a lot of people are out there giving nutrition advice. Whilst I fully appreciate the growing interest in nutrition I think it’s essential to check where we are getting our advice. When I see nutrition courses talk about training to be a nutritionist in less than 12 months or a 6- week online course it concerns me.
My first year of training was just on biomedicine alone and learning how the body works, let alone another two years and over 200+ hours of clinical training.
Unfortunately, the term nutritionist is currently unregulated which means anyone out there can call themselves a nutritionist and give unsound advice. It is important that you check the credentials of any nutritionist you decide to work with.
Here are my top 5 tips to look out for:
1. Qualifications: They should have a diploma or a degree as a bare minimum, and from a reputed college (such as CNM or ION) or university.
2. Registration: This is the next important factor to look for when taking advice. Is the individual registered with a specific recognised body. The key ones to look for are BDA (British Dietetic Association) and BANT (British Association For Nutritional Therapy). These bodies are there to regulate our industry and to put rules in place for their registrants to ensure that no incorrect advice is being put out there.
3. References: Does the article link to scientific evidence? Are there strong scientific studies (this is something which is more difficult to interpret without training).
4. Advice: Is the advice targeted to the general population and does it suggest that there are other causes and solutions to your problems. Advice should never be given as a be all and end all. It’s essential that the nutritionist speaks generally and that more specific advice should be provided on a one-to-one basis.
5. Explanation: Is there an explanation behind the advice? Does the explanation make sense? You absolutely have the right to question the advice to ensure it makes sense to you.
Ensure that the advice you’re given is reliable and scientifically sound. Don’t be afraid to ask! I have no qualms in telling people my qualifications and training, in fact I’m proud and happy to share.
Check their credentials, chat to them and know that you can’t heal everyone with a green smoothie!