Who Gives the Best Nutritional Advice?

What you eat has become more important than ever before.  It isn't that nutrition wasn't important in, say, the 1800s or the 1600s or even 3,000 years ago.  It's just that the circumstances have changed regarding what we eat.  Not only have meal choices changed but the motivation and strategies behind food consumption have also changed.

Early man (before we started raising livestock and developing organized farming) had to scavenge for whatever food was out there.  On the one hand, there was probably a rich variety of animals, fruits and vegetables (those that grew wildly and naturally) to choose from, but, by the same token, scavenging was downright dangerous. 

There were competing human hunters and scavengers to worry about.  And there were wild animals who viewed human beings as part of the normal food chain.

Just finding edible food was exhausting.  In fact, we can safely say early man spent much of his energy finding enough food (if he were lucky) to just survive for another day.  In other words, "nutrition" mostly revolved around playing a Reality TV-type of game with stakes (no pun intended) much higher than the ones we have been entertained by while in the comfort (and safety) of our living room couches.

How Animal Husbandry & Farming Changed the "Game"

Being able to raise animals and plant crops not only preserved people from having to scavenge for food (which was always dangerous and particularly exhausting), but it also somewhat improved most peoples' diets.  Simply put, there was more variety, less likelihood of being poisoned by some unknown food, and, more importantly, more food to go around. 

These new ways of "finding" food meant that people were becoming more independent, more able to specialize, and more able to feed whole communities (as opposed to just feeding yourself and your family, if you had one).  It also meant that people could now concentrate on other things besides finding edible food. 

Some people planted and grew food and others went on to do other things:  build stronger, more spacious living quarters; become healers; watch the stars and predict weather patterns (rather important for early farming); design and make jewelry and amulets; make weapons and tools; come up with and build early transportation vehicles; explore and map out territories nearby and far away; provide military service; hold political and community leadership offices; etc.

These changes meant that those who grew food all of a sudden had an incredibly big, important responsibility.  You could have a sustainable village without warriors, people officially holding leadership offices, or craftsmen (although all these positions have always been important) but you were less likely to have one that didn't include what we came to call "farmers."  Villages that didn't (often unsustainable) had to depend on wildly-grown "crops" or other villages that did grow their own food.

Back then your best source for nutritional advice, assuming that you ever worried about "eating right," would have, of course, been these early-day "farmers" (though other names that might have also applied include healers, herbalists, physicians, and horticulturalists).  After all, these people became experts at growing things and, ultimately, at eating them and sharing them with people around them. 

They no doubt were the first to notice a connection between what people ate (or failed to eat) and many forms of sicknesses.  It was all about basic observation, empirical evidence and the most basic anecdotal facts but, nevertheless, it probably didn't take long before this type of information became important for many obvious reasons.

Who Were The First Nutritionists, Pharmacists and Doctors?

It's very likely that the people who first got into what we today call pharmacology and medicine were people who were very well versed in herbs and the many medicines we still get from Mother Nature.  These early pioneers into the health sciences didn't just peddle the earliest forms of what we today call "medicine," they grew them.  They started to notice what plants, herbs, fruits or veggies were best for, say, an upset stomach, an open wound, a broken bone, a rash, and even some more complex maladies; they must have also eventually noticed that people who ate a rich variety of nuts, fruits and vegetables seemed to enjoy better health (than those with more limited diets).

These people didn't necessarily understand basic chemistry or pathophysiology but they gradually amassed a massive set of naturopathic wisdom which later, ironically, helped modern medicine to build the library of knowledge we possess today. 

Have We Lost An Important Connection to What We Learned in the Past?

Although we as a modern society have come a long way in spite of becoming obsessed with lab-created, synthetic medicines and healing tools, the reality is that the most effective medicines to this day are those that we still derive from the same natural sources that early man depended on.  In fact, some experts are cogently arguing that without these "natural" ingredients and sources (i.e., plants, herbs, biologically-derived substances, etc.), medicine will most likely experience a scientific type of regression (as opposed to progression); we may, as a matter of fact, already be witnessing such a catastrophic denouement.

Not only may we lose some of the knowledge that was passed down over a period of hundreds of years, but we may actually lose ground on the many diseases natural medicines can or have helped us control, heal or cure.  Take cancer, to name just one such disease.  Some experts are asserting (with a huge amount of scientific evidence to back them up) that cancer is out of control today because the medical establishment has adamantly rejected three very basic (and, most probably, indispensably "true" concepts):

  1. Cancer is the direct result of certain nutrients no longer found in satisfactory amounts in the fruits and vegetables that we eat.  One such nutrient is amygdalin or vitamin B-17, a naturally occurring substance (or nitriloside) that used to be commonly found in nuts, fruits and vegetables but now, for the most part, isn't.  Whether B-17 can prevent or treat cancer is still an unresolved issue (and will remain so until adequate research studies can prove or disprove its efficacy) but it's only one of perhaps other nutrients which may indeed be able to prevent cancer, if only the fruits, nuts and veggies we eat today were not as flagrantly lacking in proper nutritive value.
  2. Our best hope for a cancer cure is most probably a remedy that involves or is exclusively based on naturally-grown plants with the special nutrients our bodies need so that our immune systems can work at peak capacity.  If our bodies can indeed fight off cancer, then why do we have cancer? More importantly, why do we have cancer rates that exceed those that probably existed in the past? The available data strongly suggests that cancer is mostly a modern disease--perhaps even one that man has inflicted on himself/herself first by letting his food supply become flagrantly lacking in proper nutrition and secondly by introducing so many carcinogens into the world which were simply not there even as little back as 100 years ago!
  3. Beyond not getting the nutrients our bodies need to more effectively fight off chronic diseases, there is the fact that we as a society are literally inflicting diseases like cancer on ourselves through the many toxins and carcinogens presently found in our food, water, and air.  Conventional medicine is failing to control many diseases because it refuses to recognize this fact--more importantly, it refuses to confront those persons responsible (the big corporations) for this  travesty.  Most (if not all) of these epidemic-proportions chronic diseases were not as prevalent and as devastating before the 1900s as they are today; this is especially true about autoimmune and hypersensitivity disorders (or what most people know as "allergies" or "allergic reactions").  If this is the case, then, rather than trying to fight these diseases with chemistry, how about trying to reduce the toxicity that is the direct cause?

Is Our Food, More Specifically Nuts, Fruits and Vegetables, Sorely Lacking in Nutritional Value?

There is no question that the food people eat today, especially in regards to herbs, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, is much less nutritious than what people ate in the past.  This lack of nutrition is coming from the following  problems or deficiencies:

  • The introduction of GMOs. These things were never subjected to the long-term safety/nutritional value studies that should have been a priority.  These Franken-products, furthermore, are poor substitutes for the vitamin-rich produce that Mother Nature provided for mankind for most of our history.
  • Because we are now putting cows, pigs and chickens in building-enclosed, highly-abusive factory farms, the feces and urine these animals used to deposit on our soil is no longer providing the tools our soil needs to provide us with nutritional foods.  By torturing these animals (so that we can produce more food--at least for the short run), ironically, we are shooting ourselves in the foot (in terms of having nutritious food to eat).  Not only are we destroying their immune system (with incessant use of antibiotics), thus opening the door for inevitable Zoonotic diseases in the long run, but we are also producing meat that is not suitable for human consumption.
  • We have been over-using and misusing pesticides, herbicides, and other highly toxic (not to mention mostly unnecessary) "ides" to the point that these toxic foods now show up in large amounts in most of our food and water.  These pesticides both help destroy the nutritional value of our food and inflict harm that exceeds the goodness imparted by the low nutritional value of the foods we eat.
  • We have been over-irradiating our food.  First of all, much of the food we irradiate can be protected more safely using other methods; and, like GMOs, this method hasn't been subjected to suitable long-term (3 years or more and using human beings) studies.  Additionally, irradiating food can produce dangerous by-products (i.e., benzene, toluene, 2-ACBs, etc.) and has been known to diminish nutrients like niacin and Vitamin A. Besides, we don't need any more studies to know that ionic radiation is carcinonegic--even the supposedly "small amounts" left behind in the food!
  • Many people in developed countries eat microwaved foods.  While we can't say for sure that microwaved food is by itself disease-promoting/inducing, we can say that microwaved food may lower the nutritional value of some foods.  This is important if, indeed, our food is already grossly nutritition-deficient.  Of course, the mainstream media (and the many obedient parrots that help keep it afloat) keep insisting that microwaving food actually preserves nutrients but this wouldn't be the first time something harmful has been defended by these well-paid bottom-feeders. 

Who, Then, Today is Best Qualified to Give Us Nutritional Advice?

Well, if it were a matter of just "qualifications," one might be tempted to say that Registered Dietitians (RDs) and medical doctors (MDs) are probably the best equipped to give us advice on nutrition.  Let's realistically look at each of these options:

Registered Dietitians (RDs) & Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) 

Let's start by saying that RDs are a peculiar set of professionals.  Yes, the training and education they get is rather intense.  These people, though, are generally subject to several deficiencies and shortcomings which need to broached.

As most RDs will readily tell you, after you establish a professional relationship with them, licensed nutritionists are not allowed to give medical advice.  In other words, their "advice" cannot extend into the realm of treating, preventing or, most importantly, curing disease.  This restriction isn't something, by the way, which licensed nutritionists have arbitrarily chosen to espouse but, rather, the hand that has been dealt to them by a medical profession that is very territorial and unwilling to tolerate any kind of, for lack of another word, "competition." 

Ask naturopaths and chiropractors how "territorial" the conventional medicine community can be, if you didn't know this sad fact about American medicine. 

Secondly, most RDs seem to hang on to the words "that hasn't been conclusively proven" as if it's their all-time, never-to-be-abandoned motto or professional slogan.  Try telling most RDs, for example, that

  • MSG is an obesity-inducer;
  • that GMOs can inflict tumors; 
  • that HFCS will destroy your liver and make you fat; 
  • that fluoridated water is dangerously toxic; 
  • that refined sugar is responsible for many medical problems, including, possibly, cancer; 
  • that bleached flour is toxic; 
  • that BVO induces mental illness; 
  • that soda pop will give you osteoporosis, kidney stones and dozens of other nasty infirmities; 
  • that factory farm meat is not suitable for human consumption (because it's heavily laced with hormones, pesticides and growth hormones, etc.);
  • that aluminum probably contributes to or may even induce Alzheimer's;
  • that Teflon-coated cookware emits toxic fumes and may be carcinogenic; 
  • or that irradiated food is a nasty idea which, beyond not yet having been proven to be safe, only threatens our food's already-low nutritional value, etc.

Except for a few RDs who have extricated themselves from the rest of the profession, in most cases, RDs will tell you that most (if not all) of these concerns have not been conclusively established scientifically, which is why you won't hear any such warnings from licensed nutritionists.  In others words, RDs and RDNs will only let you know about concerns and caveats for which we can, supposedly, provide definitive, conclusive scientific evidence.

Actually, that's not a bad thing.  We should indeed base conclusions on definitive scientific evidence--if we lived in a perfect world! 

In a perfect world, though, research wouldn't be as restricted as it is today; also, we would have enough money to do research on all the things suspected of being bad for us.  The two entities that fund most research, though--i.e., the government and the big corporations--don't want to do research on things that might damage their profit margins.  How can we conclusively prove that something is bad for us unless someone is willing and able to fund the research necessary to establish such a fact?

At any rate, before such a need arises, anecdotal evidence usually accumulates.  We are compelled to become suspicious if, as such an evidence mounts, both the government and big corporations start playing the rather popular "ignore the problem and it will hopefully go away" game.

Well, RDs often lead the way when it comes to catering to the fickle, selfish, and profit-obsessed whims of Big Food, Big Meat and Big Pharma.  A personal note may well illustrate why this is often the case.

While at a major food and nutrition sciences conference, I asked a physician friend of mine who had left a thriving medicine practice to become a consultant for a large marketing firm why it was that many (if not most) of the registered dietitians attending such a conference either didn't know or didn't want to know that things like MSG, HFCS, BVO, nitrites, fluoridated water, obesogens, triclosan, bleached flour, refined sugar, most food colors & dyes, etc., were harmful--to the point of refusing to warn their patients about such toxicity, especially in regards to long-range repercussions? My friend didn't have to think for very long before he gave me the answer.

"Fred, look around you.  Who's paying for most of the exhibits, the handouts and the presentations?"

Everywhere you looked were ads and displays by such major Big Food producers, brands and retailers as DelMonte, Coca Cola, Frito-Lay, General Mills, Nestle, Post, Pillsbury, Kraft, Smithfield, ConAgra, Tyson, PepsiCo, Kellogg, Hormel, Campbell Soup, AJ Heinz, Dole, Marie Callender, Wal-Mart, Kroger's, Target, Costco, Tesco, etc. 

All these big companies have a vested interest in the huge processed/packaged foods industry--as such, they also have a vested interest in the many toxic ingredients that made such foods inexpensive, easy to make, less-likely-to-spoil-too-soon, and appealing to the uneducated (when it comes to true nutrition) masses.

Most RDs and RDNs have gone to schools that have the same incestuous (metaphorically speaking) relationships that these conference exhibitors had with all the food "Biggies."  As such, these nutrition sciences schools don't teach their students about the nasty side-effects of ubiquitous toxic food ingredients like monosodium glutamate and high fructose corn syrup.  Officially, they will tell you (like well-trained, obedient parrots) that these things have not been conclusively proven to be bad for our health; but the truth is that they simply don't want to bite the corporate hands that feed their alma mater (or the professional organizations that now license them).

To make a long story short, most RDs and RDNs are too conflicted to tell people the truth, especially in regards to packaged/processed foods and food additives too sacred to attack--even though enough scientific evidence exists to condemn these things.

What About Physicians--Can We Trust Them to Give Us Top-Notch Nutritional Advice?

First of all, physicians receive very little instruction regarding nutritional sciences.  If you doubt that, look at the curriculum of most medical schools. 

Beyond that, doctors have the same problems registered nutritionists have:  their education has been heavily influenced by Big Pharma, Big Food and, most important of all, Big Brother.  All these dishonest, for-sale politicians and agency administrators are the same people that license and police doctors--not surprisingly, their agenda and focus is dictated by Big Money.

Even if these things were not true, the following realities make doctors poor sources for nutritional advice:

  • The American Medical System (TAMS) is focused on treating medical problems rather than preventing them.
  • TAMS doesn't fully endorse the idea that proper nutrition can prevent, treat or cure most diseases.
  • TAMS mostly denies that poor nutrition can at least partly be blamed for most diseases.
  • TAMS doesn't want to get on board (at least not officially) with the idea that most chronic diseases can be blamed on the actions (or lack thereof) of Big Food, Big Meat, Big Pharma and Big Brother.  
  • And TAMS definitely doesn't want to accept the notion that alternative and holistic medicine is superior to conventional medicine (CM) because it stresses the importance of nutrition, whereas CM is obsessed with treating diseases with Big Pharma's highly-profitable & dangerously-experimental chemicals and potions (regardless of actual outcome).

Who Then Is Best Qualified to Give Nutritional Advice?

Although some people may not want to hear this, the people who are best qualified to give nutritional advice are those who believe and practice the following time-proven principles:

  1. Bad nutrition is responsible for many (if not most) diseases--especially chronic diseases.  Whereas people in the past died mostly from germ-related contagious diseases, they didn't seem to succumb as much to the many chronic diseases we are experiencing today.  Take allergies and auto-immune disorders.  These diseases (many of which have reached epidemic, if not pandemic, status) are ravaging global communities and it's becoming clear that we are  inflicting these problems on ourselves with the excessive use of toxins in our food, water and air.
  2. Proper nutrition, which is becoming a rather difficult thing to follow these days (because of the low-nutrition of the food available and the many toxins, including GMOs, now so rampant), can probably prevent many of the medical problems (obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and even Big Pharma-invented mental disorders like ADD and ADHD) now out of control. 
  3. Too many toxic things (in ever-increasing quantities) are now being found in our food, water and popular drinks.  These things are affecting our health in ever-worsening ways.
  4. Organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs contain nutrients that are essential for proper good health.  If most human beings had access to these things, we would be experiencing much better health as a global community.  The fact that most human beings on this planet now lack access to these things is one of the main reasons for much of the bad health on our planet.
  5. Some people on this planet have developed a system that inflicts disease (with things like GMOs, vaccines, ineffective synthetic medicines, toxin-injected foods, etc.) on many people so that they can then become perpetual consumers for those same disease-inflicting thugs. 
  6. Putting livestock in factory farms is a nutritionally-compromising, unsustainable idea.  The antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO feed, and insecticides being fed to these animals will eventually destroy their immune system, not to mention their nutritional value as a legitimate source of food.
  7. Most packaged/processed food is not only lacking in good nutrition--it's downright toxic, especially in regards to the development of long-term medical problems.  Most people need to be told to avoid this type of food, except maybe for emergency-situation use.
  8. Most people should be encouraged to grow their own veggies, fruits, herbs and nuts, instead of being told to have pretty gardens and lawns that, while they may look nice, don't serve much of a practical use.  If growing their own food is not possible, they should be allowed to buy only organic produce.  As such, the government should be subsidizing organic produce, instead of continuing to subsidize toxic, cancer-inducing GMOs and nutrition-lacking crops.
  9. Holistic and alternative medicine should be allowed to thrive or, at the very least, not be subjected to the sabotage and puerile attacks (sometimes culminating in murder and other such heinous acts) it now endures.  Conventional medicine is heavily flawed and, as such, it needs to be fixed, hopefully leading to a system that admits holistic medicine is superior to CM and, therefore, indispensable.  This has never been refuted, by the way, by physicians and scientists not-for-sale to Big Business.
  10. Natural medicines and ingredients will always be superior to Big Pharma's synthetic snake oils.  As such, we need to oppose GMOs until such biochemical hocus-pocus is properly tested for long-term toxicity.  Meanwhile, we need to encourage people to take nutritional supplements, preferably made from organically-grown plants. 
  11. Big Food is using too many herbicides, pesticides and insecticides; since these toxic chemicals (like cancer-promoting glyphosate) are now being found in high amounts in our food and water, they need to be drastically curtailed, if not removed altogether.  Such a move will threaten profits but, what's more important Big Food's and Big Pharma's profits or our health?

In other words, it doesn't necessarily matter what credentials you have.  What matters is that you give advice that rests on common sense, what has been proven to work over the years and isn't compromised by conflicts of interest, professional beliefs that rest on faulty principles, and shameless profiteering (to the point of ignoring what's best for the public). 

Conclusion

Proper nutrition is more important today than it has ever been.  Not only will eating the right things help prevent diseases but it will also help overcome them, should you get sick.  Our bodies have the capacity to keep us healthy, if we provide our cells and organs with the nutrients they need and if our immune system works at peak capacity. 

To that end, strive to eat healthy and, when you need nutritional advice, seek out professionals that, unquestionably, have your best interest in mind, focus on natural (as opposed to synthetic) sources of nutrition, and will give you holistic/alternative medicine options, not just man-made, experimental (such as GMOs) elixirs and pharmaceutical potions.

Copyright, 2016.  Fred Fletcher. All rights reserved.

References & Resources

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5/22/2022 4:00:00 AM
Fred Fletcher
Written by Fred Fletcher
Fred Fletcher is a hard working Consumer Advocacy Health Reporter. Education: HT-CNA; DT-ATA; MS/PhD Post-Graduate Certificates/Certifications: • Project Management • Food Safety • HIPAA Compliance • Bio-statistical Analysis & Reporting • Regulatory Medical Writing • Life Science Programs Theses & Dis...
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Comments
Great article Fred! I couldn't agree more with everything you've said!
Posted by KT
The American diet is notoriously bad. End of story. But try telling people that, especially to so-called "nutritionists." People, don't listen to licensed nutritionists. Most of them sold their soul to the devil or should I say the big corporations. Same thing, as far as I'm concerned. If only people could go back to what their grannys and grandpas used to eat we'd all be much healthier.
Posted by Christiana Ayimba, PhD
Bottom line: Western medicine rejects prevention. Why? It's a matter of nickels and dimes. If you prevent disease, you squeeze less blood (sorry for the gory metaphor) from your patients. Great article, Fred!
Posted by Dr. Dario Herrera

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