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RD Rant

By on January 6, 2013

According to my Google nutrition-topics alert today, Complete Nutrition, an “upscale nutritional supplement retail store,” is opening a new location in the midwest. The business owner in me has to congratulate them on their expansion and success. The RD in me, with 7 years of extensive nutrition and science education under her belt, is completely underwhelmed. In the article, found at trib.com , the owner of the new supplement shop states, “we not only have great products that work, we also have people in here that consult for free.” Well isn’t that nice. Who are these people? Are they credible? What are they telling customers to buy and why? Do they have nutrition degrees and knowledge to backup or refute the product claims? I’ll bet I can guess.

The article also includes a few statements from one of the store’s consultants, Dan Biskup. One comment, in particular, I’d like to gently rip apart: “We really take the approach of educating people,” Biskup said. “We want to inform you about how important it is to get active and eat the right foods. So many people don’t know.” Ok, yes. People need to be more active and largely don’t know what to eat. This is why seven out of 10 Americans are overweight or obese. What people need is not a supplement store consultant to suggest a pill – or combination of pills – to fix the problem. If pills or herbs really promoted weight loss, our country would be rapidly losing weight, not gaining it. I’m sorry, but there is no pill or supplement on the face of the earth that will transform your body into Gisele’s – or the chiseled fitness model’s on the product label. It’s extremely frustrating to me – a girl who has lost weight the old fashioned way and has spent over $100k in nutrition education – that someone who googles supplements in their free time feels that they are qualified to instruct others on what pills to take and how to eat. Do they even know that supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA? And that studies show many of them don’t actually contain what they claim on the label? Do they also know that many supplements can have lethal interactions with certain medications? Somehow I have a hunch customers are probably not disclosing their medication use to random sales clerks.

Please, please, please, if you’re  thinking of trying a supplement, actively trying to lose weight, or even just curious about nutrition, talk to someone qualified to educate you: a Registered Dietitian. Aside from a standard multi-vitamin, vitamin D3 if you’re deficient, certain minerals and a probiotic, you really don’t need anything else and nothing else is going to land you a women’s health cover anytime soon. Hard work, determination and persistence will beat any supplement, any day!

Here’s an interesting tidbit: Although Dr. Oz features supplements on his show on a daily basis (which drives me crazy), he doesn’t endorse any of them… major red flag for the supplement industry?! I’d say so!

Ok I think I’m done. The moral of the story: Buy Smart! Don’t waste your money on expensive urine (you pee out most of the supplement contents anyway and your body can only absorb so much). Eat whole, natural foods for the best source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you have any specific supplement questions, ask me! I’ll blog about them to give you real, science-based information including safety precautions along with my professional opinion.

Your RD,

Jenny

About Jenny

Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator & Certified Personal Trainer based in New York City.

2 Comments

  1. Anna

    January 7, 2013 at 10:27 am

    As a fellow RD, thank you!! I feel the same way! We definitely need to be more vocal to those around us about what makes a person qualified to give nutrition advice. I also completely agree with your stance on supplements. A bunch of pills won’t make us healthy!

    • Jenny

      January 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      Hi Anna!
      Thanks so much for your comment… I completely agree that we need to be more vocal. WE need to be the ones educating people, not supplement store staff… Bananas!
      Go team RD! ;)

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