Wouldn’t it be silly to go to a bakery and ask them advice and solutions to your back pain ??

Written by MARABOND on August 21, 2011

Of course it would. And you wouldn’t ask a car mechanic to take your teeth out, would you? Of course not. You go and get the right advice and / or treatment from the person with the proper training and experience.

I’m a nutritionist and wellness coach. I’m professionally trained to help people with a range of nutritional issues. But one thing never ceases to amaze me: the number of new clients I see who’ve seen chiropractors, physiotherapists, counsellors and personal trainers and been given nutritional advice. Yet these people are not automatically trained as nutritionists or dietitians.


Now, doesn’t it seem common sense that if you want help with your diet, you see a nutritionist or dietitian? Well, as I heard recently, common sense is not that common ! ! !


Storing up problems

This isn’t sour grapes on my part. Or professional jealousy. It’s about seeing the right person for the right reason; and getting the right treatment based on a professional examination of the facts. Ask the wrong questions – or fail to ask the right ones – and you can cause more problems than you solve.

Let me give you an example…


Recently, a client presented with bowel cramps and intermittent diarrhoea. After some enquiring we discovered that the discomfort started after she began an exercise program. So I asked her a few questions, and discovered that the personal trainer had recommended whey protein powder – for someone with a clear dairy intolerance!! If the trainer had asked the right questions he would have discovered that she was intolerant and that she couldn’t handle whey protein.


Knowledge is King

Recently, a friend of mine was given a magnesium supplement for sore muscles from a chiropractor. I was really curious about this, did a bit of research and discovered that many chiropractors receive just a few hours training from the vitamin manufacturer, and then they feel able to prescribe supplements.


But this short training does not include vitamin / mineral adverse effects, interactions with other medications and other supplements. Moreover, these professionals do not ask essential questions to identify patients’ allergies, bowel absorption impairment, or the most obvious questions like what other supplements they’re taking or what their food intake is.


If you don’t know these basic facts, how can you prescribe correctly?


A Professional Free-For-All?

Unfortunately, in Australia there is not enough regulation to prevent professionals without nutrition education from advertising and giving nutritional advice. Even worse, they’re not prevented from making diet plans for clients. And this is NOT as harmless as it sounds. Just because we all eat and we’ve all been on a diet (well, nearly all of us) doesn’t automatically turn us into experts able to tell others what’s good for them.


In my nutrition and health coaching clinic, I wouldn’t dream of making an exercise plan for a client or prescribing exercise, despite the fact that I do exercise myself. We’re all different, and what works for me probably won’t work for my client or my friend. I’m not trained to give other people this kind of advice.


This is why it is essential to find a good professional and get individual help.


Frankly, I think it’s unethical to help someone without proper training. I just wish that fitness centres would employ nutritionists and dietitians more often to avoid this mismatch of customer service.


So where do you look for the right professional?

I know my field of business is very confusing, and that professionals can hold multiple qualifications and credentials. For instance, a naturopath or dietitian can be a nutritionist as well** ; some dietitians are trained to prescribe supplements; some personal trainers hold full nutrition qualifications.


It’s not simple – but you don’t need to add to the confusion by blindly accepting and believing a non-registered professional. Go for the registered professional every time!


And the best place to start your search for one is the appropriate professional body for the profession. For example, if you’re looking for someone in the areas I work in, start here:

  • To find a registered nutritionist, see Australian Traditional-Medicine Society www.atms.com.au or www.australiannaturaltherapistsassociation.com.au/, there are more associations but ATMS is the main one.

  • To find a registered dietitian, see the Dietitians Association of Australia www.daa.asn.au/


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  1. One Response to “Wouldn’t it be silly to go to a bakery and ask them advice and solutions to your back pain ??”

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