One of the biggest frustrations in my field is that everyone has an opinion on nutrition and all too often those opinions are imposed upon others. It drives me nuts when I hear stories from people about ridiculous dietary recommendations they have received from their doctors. Just a couple off the top of my head that happened to friends of mine: Upon telling his doctor that he was starting to eat a vegan diet one friend’s doctor said “But where will you get your carbs?” Another friend expressed concern about her post-pregnancy eating habits to her doctor who told her that she should consume more fibre and stop drinking milk and eating apples. My own Nurse Practitioner, knowing full-well that I’m a dietitian, bragged to me about her carb-free diet.
Even as dietitians we all have our own leanings. It’s important that as professionals we all realise where our expertise begins and ends. I think that most people respect the advice of their doctors and in most cases they are right to do so, they have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to our health. However, most have very little nutrition education, it’s my understanding that most medical schools provide doctors with a week of nutrition education. Taken the other way around, I would never attempt to provide medical advice to a client for something like sarcoidosis. I know that it may sound like I’m trying to drum up business “don’t believe your doctor, go see a dietitian.” In some cases this may be good advice, actually. Other times, just take what you’re hearing with a grain of salt. Just because someone is an expert in one area does not make them an expert in other areas. Take the time to make sure that the advice you are given is scientifically sound best practice before heeding it.