Back in the days before the internet, when you had to learn from actual books, instead of Google, you really had to dedicate yourself to a topic to be considered an "expert" in that area. You would attend seminars and lectures, or read multiple books and articles on the topic. You collected reference materials, kept your old school textbooks, and maintained a collection of professional journals. Those materials are where you went to look things up or learn more about a particular topic.
I remember when I was in school to be a dietitian, slightly before the internet became such a huge thing, I worked for a well-established RD who had multiple file cabinets in her office filled with nutrition reference materials. She actually used articles and books as reference for her nutrition practice because the internet didn’t exist. Imagine that!
But, now its all different. You want to know anything about nutrition? Google it. All the information you need to know is right there, at your fingertips or on your smart phone. Then, of course, you have the ability to take that information, share it on social media or use it to argue with people on Facebook. Clearly, since you read that article on the benefits of kale, ketogenic diets, or whatever…you are now an expert and have all the information you need to provide information on that topic.
In this era where anyone can be a self-proclaimed "expert", it is really difficult to tease out the truth from the nonsense. The field of nutrition has been hit particularly hard because of this, with many credential-less "experts" gaining tremendous internet popularity because of awesome marketing skills and persuasive website copy.
As Registered Dietitians, most of whom have not been specifically trained in marketing, it can be hard to compete, especially online. But, dietitians do have something that many of those other "experts" don’t have, the education and skills to consistently provide evidence-based nutrition information.
One of the cornerstones of the education required to become a Registered Dietitian is learning how to evaluate and apply scientific research to dietetic practice. This specialized ability is what will help RDs stand out from the crowd, especially for people who are tired of the gimmicks of the diet and nutrition industry.
Evidence-based nutrition practice impacts real health in a way that persuasive marketing cannot, it literally helps people stay alive. The medical nutrition therapy, which only RDs can legally provide, is designed to help diabetics manage their blood suguar or reduce complications for dialysis patients. This level of high quality, well-researched medical information is what will make an impact on people’s health, by modifying the course of a disease, and in turn help people live longer.
Although we may not all be battling chronic diseases, we can all benefit from the expertise of professionals who have taken the time to study, understand, and apply the latest research in their field. So, yes, fluff can be fun and entertaining, even I get sucked in sometimes. But, when the outcome is the difference between wellness or illness, evidence-based practice will have the greatest impact.
Want to know more about evidence-based nutrition? Contact me!