Three years ago, when I started my venture to read every book in Eiseley library, I used Pearl Buck’s rules to give myself an out. If, after reading 50 pages of a book, I was not interested in continuing on, I had permission to stop.
After three years and over 1400 books, I am using that rule for the very first time. Because I absolutely cannot stand Oz Garcia’s The Healthy High-Tech Body.
Garcia’s biography in the back of the book states that he is “one of the best-known nutritionists and health authorities in America.” Problem is, he’s an absolute quack. Sure, he can throw around chemical names like no other and give incomprehensible explanations for why we should follow his recommendations–but the real science behind his recommendations is tenuous at best.
I know this because I’ve devoted the last six years of my life to learning the science of food, nutrition, and health behavior change. But what’s the average consumer to think? If you can’t trust “one of the best-known nutritionists and health authorities in America”, who can you trust?
That’s where the Registered Dietitian comes in. You see, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist–even someone with marginal education and no credentials (for instance, Oz Garcia.)
The designation Registered Dietitian (RD), on the other hand, carries distinct educational and professional requirements. RDs are required to complete a core curriculum in nutrition, food science, and health behavior change from an accredited university. RDs are required to undergo at least 900 hours of supervised practice. RDs are required to pass a Registration Exam and complete at least 75 hours of continuing professional education every five years in order to attain and maintain their credentials. Additionally, RDs are bound by a Professional Code, which, among other things, insists that they provide evidence-based nutrition services.
You wouldn’t go to your next door neighbor–or even Oprah–to get your broken arm set. Your next door neighbor is nice enough–and Oprah is popular enough–but neither have the credentials to set your broken arm. You’ll go to someone who does have the credentials: an MD (Medical Doctor), a PA (Physician Assistant), or a NP (Nurse Practitioner).
Likewise, no matter how nice or how popular a “nutritionist” might be–they don’t have the credentials unless they’ve got an RD behind their name.
So next time you’re looking at an article or a book, or evaluating something someone is saying on the television or online, look for the RD behind the name. Because RDs are THE food and nutrition professionals.
Today’s B3,RD challenge is to think critically about the nutrition information you see and hear today. Ask yourself whether the speaker has the credentials–an RD behind their name.
A search for Garcia’s education and credentials produced only the most tenuous results.
- According to an article from Allure in September 2007 Garcia was educated at “The Macrobiotic Institute” in Cambridge, MA. I was unable to find any information on this institution.
- According to a second article from “Hamptons” Garcia attended Cushing Institute in Boston and Macrobiotic Institute in New York. I was unable to find information about either of these institutions.
- A third article, published in Life Extension Magazine in July of 2003, states that Oz studied at the Kushi Institute for Macrobiotics, the Hippocrates Institute, the Kelly Institute for Metabolic Nutrition, and the Himalayan Institute. Interestingly enough, none of these institutes is accredited, and none offer a degree of any sort.
Mr. Garcia is occasionally ascribed a Ph.D, but I have been unable to find any explanation for this designation. He has certainly never listed where he attained his doctorate or what his doctorate is in.