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The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

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Alan H
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The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#1 Post by Alan H » January 16th, 2012, 12:29 am

Two excellent blog posts just published about the dangerous quackery of nutritionists:

Which? Uncovers Dangerous Advice from Nutritionists. by Andy Lewis

and

Which? magazine: “…high street nutritional therapists are a waste of money” by Prof David Colquhoun, who advised Which?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#2 Post by Dave B » January 16th, 2012, 9:46 am

The friend of a friend, an intelligent lady by all reports, offered my friend a large bag of vegetables. The reason? The f-of-a-f is starting a diet scheme that demands that she eat only those products sold by the scheme, mainly soup and cereal bars. No meat, no veg, no fruit, no other cereal based foods, no sweets or sugar . . . She has been told that she must reduce her energy intake to 600 calories a day.

She is, by report, "a big lady" - but even in that case, when a reduction in the energy intake might be a good idea, I always understood that the body needs to be "conditioned" by a gradual reduction, over weeks, to encourage it to start using its fat reserves at a safe rate. IIRC there is a danger of ketosis and even diabetes with low carbohydrate and very low energy intake diets. Especially when these are applied as a "step function."

If a therapist gave advice that caused obvious skin lesions etc., something one can actually see with no medical knowledge, they would not last a moment and might even attract the attention of the law. Because the problems caused by these people is not actually visible, until the person starts to suffer obvious physical symptoms, they remain "hidden".

Perhaps few people who believe in such therapies wish, like those that believe in gods, not to break their faith - I have heard people say that their illness was caused by not being strict enough with themselves in applying the very practice that made them ill. As if eating even less would make them better!
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Alan H
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#3 Post by Alan H » January 16th, 2012, 10:00 am

I don't know about other authorities, but the ASA mention that a 'very low calorie diet' is one below 800 calories per day and that:
marketers should advocate them for only short periods and should consider “Obesity: the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children” (2006) published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Rule 13.7). Dieters on such restrictive diets should be encouraged to take medical advice beforehand and be regularly monitored.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#4 Post by Dave B » January 16th, 2012, 10:36 am

Thanks for the link, Alan, and I will see if I can get access to the NICE regs. I would like to have something authoritative to offer my friend to give to her friend - and that ref. to 800 Cal diets being considered a very low level diet and the advice to seek medical supervision seems ideal.

Is part of the problem that this f-of-a-f's diet scheme does not include "diet pills" as mentioned in the link. They offer food products, which may in fact be perfectly nutritious in themselves, stuffed with minerals and vitamins but causing a potentially seriously lack in energy intake if taken eto the exclusion of all other foods. This is another case where semantics might provide a loophole, if there was a reference to "products" rather than "pills" that might include these very expensive and inadequate dietary non-pillular "aids".

I use Weightwatchers foods myself, except that I am now making my own soups - actually today I will be using some of those veg. that the f-off-a-f gave away! But I use them only as a supplement to a more normal diet - I like sausages, the WW sausages are quite nice and low fat so I use those instead of the standard ones or even the veggy ones, some of which are quite greasy.
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Dave B
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#5 Post by Dave B » January 16th, 2012, 10:45 am

Alan, do you have the title of the paper that contains "Rule 13.7"?

Later: OK, found something that says the same thing and more -

CG43: Obesity: Guidance on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children

I have copied off the really relevant passage about general diet advice and downloaded the PDF.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Alan H
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#6 Post by Alan H » January 16th, 2012, 10:54 am

Dave B wrote:Alan, do you have the title of the paper that contains "Rule 13.7"?
It's the ASA's code - the CAP Code. Section 13 is here. Click on Rules under section 13.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#7 Post by Dave B » January 16th, 2012, 11:02 am

Ooops, cross posted, see my above.

Yes, there are similarities in the two, guess the NICE guideline was used in drafting the ASA one, but there are the specific items about claims, tests, proofs etc. that are also of interest.
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Nick
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#8 Post by Nick » January 16th, 2012, 12:40 pm

I was just about to alert Alan H and other dogged campaigners to this, but I find that he is already on the ball. It has just been featured on today's You and Yours on Radio 4, so you may want to have a listen. I don't like Which? very much, as I find their financial reviews have been poor, and I find them somewhat sanctimonious, but we need whistleblowers.

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Alan H
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#9 Post by Alan H » January 16th, 2012, 2:54 pm

A spokesperson for British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) squirming on You and Yours on Radio 4 this morning.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#10 Post by Dave B » January 16th, 2012, 3:03 pm

Alan H wrote:A spokesperson for British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) squirming on You and Yours on Radio 4 this morning.
Yes, ducking and diving champion there.
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#11 Post by Tetenterre » January 16th, 2012, 5:28 pm

Alan H wrote:A spokesperson for British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) squirming on You and Yours on Radio 4 this morning.
BANT history seems to be that it is a regulator until such a time as it is called upon to regulate, whereupon it magically transforms into a voluntary association.

Hmm -- wonder if I can get that down to 140 characters... :-)
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Alan H
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#12 Post by Alan H » January 16th, 2012, 5:50 pm

BANT aren't really a regulator any more - they passed that function to OfQuack (aka the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council) in 2009. Of course, OfQuack are a useless regulator.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

jdc
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#13 Post by jdc » January 16th, 2012, 9:31 pm

Alan H wrote:A spokesperson for British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) squirming on You and Yours on Radio 4 this morning.
Haven't listened to that yet but I had a quick look at this PDF: http://www.dcscience.net/BANT-PR-160112.pdf

The usual whining about 'biased experts' and the unfairness of a sting operation. FFS - were Which? supposed to tip them off in advance that they were testing them? They'd have liked that...
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Alan H
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#14 Post by Alan H » January 16th, 2012, 10:05 pm

No attempt to deal with the real issues, of course.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#15 Post by Alan H » February 24th, 2012, 1:25 pm

I've just blogged about this: Zeno's Blog » Which nutritional therapist?

I'll hope to have another blog post up this evening about OfQuack and nutritional therapy.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#16 Post by getreal » February 25th, 2012, 9:42 pm

I have to ask, Alan, are there Nutritional therapists "with the science and evidence-based practitioners" ?I cannot contemplate why someone interested in diet and nurition would do a "nutritionist" course rather than a proper degree in diatetics. A dietetics degree is a legitimate, NHS- approved qualification which allows you to become a Stare Registered Dietitian. It's a 4 year BSc course (or a 2 year post-grad, if you have a relevany first degree.

Come the revolution, I will deal with the homeopaths* first. Next I will deal with the nutritionists....

* have a special treat in store for veterinary homeopaths.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#17 Post by Alan H » February 25th, 2012, 10:15 pm

getreal wrote:I have to ask, Alan, are there Nutritional therapists "with the science and evidence-based practitioners" ?I cannot contemplate why someone interested in diet and nurition would do a "nutritionist" course rather than a proper degree in diatetics. A dietetics degree is a legitimate, NHS- approved qualification which allows you to become a Stare Registered Dietitian. It's a 4 year BSc course (or a 2 year post-grad, if you have a relevany first degree.

Come the revolution, I will deal with the homeopaths* first. Next I will deal with the nutritionists....

* have a special treat in store for veterinary homeopaths.
I understand that there are nutritionists who, for example, work for food manufacturers, where a Dietitian might not be required.

I'm sure you've seen David Colquhoun's blog about the uni courses in nutritional therapy. I really don't know if they are all quacks, but there seems to be an awful lot who use bogus diagnostic techniques, punt their own very special brand of supplements that the vast majority do not need and think they work in a different 'paradigm' to those Dietitians and others in the pay of Big Pharma! And many seem to think they know a great deal more.

As for why they don't train to be proper Dietitians, I suspect you may only have to look at the entry qualifications...

ETA: Can't wait to hear about the vet homeopaths!
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#18 Post by getreal » February 25th, 2012, 10:42 pm

You mean you haven't hear of the valliant efforts of the Veterinary Voodoo Society?

s for "nutritionists" working in food manufacturing, I would have thought that soemone with a degree in food technology or chemistry would be much more useful. I am not aware of any serious organisation employing nutritionists
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#19 Post by Alan H » February 25th, 2012, 10:43 pm

getreal wrote:You mean you haven't hear of the valliant efforts of the Veterinary Voodoo Society?
Oh I know them well...I just wondered if you meant you had something in store for them?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
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Re: The dangerous quackery of nutritionists

#20 Post by getreal » February 25th, 2012, 10:57 pm

Indeed I have, Oh! indeed I have, Alan.

It will include the use of crocodiles, large Irish Draght stallions and lots and lots of water (before the firing squad, of course. It would be meaningless afterwards.). I plan to have the "treatment" administered by well trained little fluffy kittens. I'm not a complete sadist, you know!
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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