/ Food & Drink, Health

Has your diet been helped by a nutritional therapist?

Smiley face made from fruit and veg

Nutritional therapists can help identify patterns in your eating habits, but is their advice always nutritionally sound? My friend recently went to one, but the advice she was given has left me feeling curious about their role.

She was feeling a bit run down and had suffered a few colds and thought some improvements to her diet might help.

She was told to record a food diary for three days and take it along to the consultation so the therapist could see the types of food in her diet and see whether she was missing any food groups or lacking in any nutrients.

The nutritional therapist took a history of symptoms and went through her food diary. At the end of the session the therapist advised her to stop eating wheat and dairy as she said they were too difficult to digest and were putting strain on her digestive system.

She also recommended that she start drinking fresh fruit and veg juice every morning. While this sounds sensible in terms of increasing fruit and veg intake, it is much better to eat the fruit and veg because you lose much of the fibre through juicing.

The importance of different food groups

But, as a nutritionist, my main concern was the total elimination of dairy and wheat. These are important food groups in the diet – especially dairy which is our main source of calcium.

Elimination of dairy from the diet is potentially dangerous as it can lead to calcium deficiency, which has implications for bone health. If you do cut out dairy then it’s important that you get your calcium from other foods – fortified soya milk, sardines and other small fish where you eat the bones, tofu, green leafy veg or even calcium supplements.

To me, it seems as though every other person is cutting down on wheat and dairy. I’m not sure why these particular foods are demonised as most of us don’t have intolerances to them.

Have you ever visited a nutritionist or therapist who has advised you on your diet? Where did you find them? Where you happy with the results?

Comments
Guest
Jennifer Hargreaves says:
16 October 2011

I am a qualified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. I had a successful career in Human Resource Management spanning 20 years prior to the birth of my son. At the age of 2 there were concerns that he was possibly Autistic which was diagnosed at the age of 5. Doctors told me nothing could be done, we would have to learn to live with a boy with a lifelong developmental disability. As a result of doing research I trained in Nutrition Therapy to help my son (who is now doing well and on course for all C’s in GCSE level). Recent research by Professor Jeremy Nicholson concludes that to date, diet modification is the only protocol that can help autistic children and adults.

Due to testing by a GP specialising in Nutrition, my son was diagnosed Hypothyroid with Intestinal inflammation and Dysfunctional neurotransmitter function. We have used this information to adjust his diet with beneficial effects. I have not yet met nor heard of a GP/Consultant on the NHS who has been able to help him or any other children known to me.

I admit Nutrition Therapy cannot help everyone – one has to the interrelationship between
structural, biokinesthetic and biochemistry and many other factors in dealing with a health condition. However it has an important role to play in preventative health and education. It has, and continues to help my son have an ‘almost’ normal life.

Guest
SkepticalHealth says:
16 January 2012

I question your “nutrition therapy practitioner” degree. It sounds completely bogus. It also sounds like the GP you visited is a bit of a quack.

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Guest

What is biokinesthetic? I cannot find that in the dictionary.

Guest
Jonathan says:
16 January 2012

Jennifer. I have two autistic sons. We followed the advice of our highstreet nutritionist to the letter and they’ve got worse. Your anecdotal evidence has just been tipped towards nutrition having no effect on austism.

Oh no. You might now have to provide some proper scientific evidence for your outlandish/harmful claims. I won’t hold my breath.

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Guest

You may be interested in our latest Conversation about our undercover investigation into nutritional therapists. We found some worrying practices, such as therapists advising against going to your GP: https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/nutritional-therapists-advice-worth-the-cost/

Guest
Elaine says:
16 January 2012

Jennifer,

I am glad your son is doing well and progressing well at school. However it is not unusual for children with autism to become independent, successful adults with autism. However there is no real evidence that nutritional approaches have anything to offer. I am not sure how Prof Nicholson came to the conclusion that diet modification is the only way to help children and adults with autism, when there is plenty of evidence that behavioural interventions can be of great benefit. This NHS page (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Autistic-spectrum-disorder/Pages/Treatment.aspx) has a good summary of possible interventions and links to relevant evidence. I am surprised that you have not found anyone on the NHS who can help.

Just out of curiosity, you mention a diagnosis of dysfunctional neurotransmiter function. Is this an actual diagnosis? If so, can you provide some more information on it please?

Guest

There is a real difference between nutritional therapists and Registered Nutritionists (RNutr), who are assessed by the Association for Nutrition (AfN) and can only be on the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists if they are qualified and competent in nutritional science and practice and uphold the highest professional and ethical standards through a comprehensive code of conduct.

Registered Nutritionists who consult on an individual basis would only do so under the supervision of a suitably qualified practitioner, such as a GP, if there is a pre-existing medical condition.

There is a response to this investigation on the AfN website, http://www.associationfornutrition.org

Guest
HR O. says:
16 January 2012

When I was 25, I suddenly became unwell. My biliary and pancreatic ducts got blocked and I suffered a very severe spell of colics that nearly killed me. As a result I had to have my gallbladder removed. I lost a fair amount of weight during this time and I was referred to a dietician who recommended eating crisps, donoughts and bacon as these were “high in calories” and would help me “build myself up”. I was shocked to hear this, particularly because all the foods I was recommended were really high in fat and my gallbladder had just been removed, so my ability to process fat would have been decreased as a result? When I said this to the dietician she showed me the guidelines issued by the hospital for cases like mine. This goes to show that whether you’re registered or not this does not make any difference. We all make mistakes and errors of judgement and blaming all Nutritional Therapists for the advice given by some is one sided and wrong!!

Guest
Catherine Collins RD says:
16 January 2012

Yes, there is a major difference between self-styled nutritionists and graduate nutritionists, but neither have validated qualifications related to medico-nutrition knowledge sufficient to treat an individual with a medical condition in an appropriate manner. That is why BSc/MSc nutritionists must still complete an 18mo-2y course in Dietetics if they want to work with clients with acute medical conditions – and why Nutritional Therapists must undertake a full time, university accredited 4 year course if they wish to do so.
With respect to dietary advice RDs use the clinical condition and severity to determine dietary recommendations in hospital patients. In response to HR O above, if a patient deteriorated post-op due to poor appetite then high calorie/high fat foods would be advised, given that the small amount eaten would contribute more to overall recovery than a similar small amount of an energy-poor food. There is no problem digesting fat post-cholecystectomy, especially if appetite is small – so a bite or two of a high fat doughnut would help provide energy to protect internal proteins from being cannibalised for fuel.

Guest
HR O. says:
16 January 2012

Thank you Catherine. I would just like to make it clear that I do respect dietitians hugely and that I believe they play a key role in the NHS. However, I was somewhat disheartened to hear about these recommendations, particularly when the dietitian lady who was telling me what to eat was not in any way capable to convey the benefits of eating in that way. She just gave me a handout with all these greasy foods and told me that was what “I needed to eat to build myself up or I risked complications with my surgery which could mean I would say in hospital for longer”. Having had an interest in healthy eating for years – paradoxically, I know to get my gallbladder removed in spite of it – I could see that they were rich in calories (no doubt about that!) but very poor in any valuable nutrients apart from fat and carbohydrate but where are the vitamins and minerals, etc in donoughts? I thankfully regained weight, although not by eating donoughts and bacon, but by adding a healthy combination of foods that I experimented with myself, including nuts, lean meats and a little dairy, but also plenty of salads and greens. These were never mentioned anywhere, surely they’re equally important after surgery?

Guest
A Nutrition Therapis says:
16 January 2012

I read your article in Which magazine which I found very alarming and distressing. I am a nutritional therapist and have been practicing for the past 3 years. I have a degree from Westminster University which is extremely comprehensive. The degree spans over 3 years and covers pharmacology, pathology, differential diagnosis, physiology, anatomy, nutrition plus much more. Many of my clients who come to see me with their health problems have seen a significant improvement in their condition. It is very unfortunate that you paint us all with the same brush. All the nutritional therapists that I know of which there are many work in an integrated way. They would never advise a client not to see a GP or other health professional. There is no mention in your article what the qualifications are of the therapists that were seen.
Can you explain to me why it is that despite all the “medical expertise” that is out there we are seeing an alarming rise in health problems especially obesity, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you look at the evidence you will see that over 70% of cardiovascular disease is as a result of poor diet. Since 1996 the number of people with Type 2 diabetes has increased from 1.4 million to 2.6 million. In 2008 everyday 400 people were diagnosed with this condition (Diabetes UK). The main reason again is poor diet. What nutritional therapists aim to do is NOT to claim that they can treat chronic conditions or cure cancer but through a process of nutrition education, support and motivation they can help people to understand how nutrition can help to improve your health. Many people are still confused about what is a healthy diet. Doctors do not always offer dietary advice to their patients and many are not trained in this area. It often takes a long time to see a dietitian and the advise given by health trainers can be limited since they do not have the extensive training and knowledge that a degree in nutrition gives. We know that diabetes type 2 can again in some cases be reversed or prevented through diet. It is time that instead of daming our profession people started to see the positive sides of what we do. I have had countless stories from some of my clients about the way they have been treated by various health professionals where they feel that have not been listened to, had no advice about diet at all and have had to wait several months to see a dietitian. A common problem is with allergies and digestive disorders. Many clients come to us with these issues and many have exhausted other avenues and feel that they are not being taken seriously. Allergies course a wide range of unpleasant symptoms and can be debilitating. Nutritional therapists use a number of methods to help those with allergies including food symptom diaries and in some cases tests by well known respected labs. Food allergy sufferers require help, support and guidance with their diet and nutrition which is something they often do not get through their GP.
More than 20 million people in the UK suffer from, or claim to suffer from, allergies according to a recent Mintel survey. Of these, 48% say they have more than one allergy. According to the research, however, only 49% of allergy sufferers have been medically diagnosed (Allergy UK)
The UK is poorly equipped for diagnosis and treatment of allergies. In 2007, the House of Lords science and technology committee claimed Britain was “the laughing stock of Europe”. GPs get little or no training about allergies and, the committee found, many patients go untreated (The Guardian Feb 2011)
When it comes to digestive disorders. “GPs feel less confident when dealing with the minor symptoms, like bloating and flatulence” On a day-to-day basis, the most common digestive symptoms for which patients consult with their GP are heartburn, indigestion, abdominal discomfort, constipation and diarrhoea – closely correlating with the most often experienced digestive complaints according to the YouGov research. Around a third of the GPs surveyed said they felt a bit lost managing non- red flag GI symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome/inflammatory bowel disease
were identified by 17% of these GPs as conditions they have most difficulty in managing. However, these GPs would also like more help advising on the minor, more frequently seen symptoms, such
as bloating (41%) and flatulence (20%) . Nearly a quarter of the GPs surveyed felt they lacked appropriate information when dealing with adult patients with GI conditions. Information they would find useful included up-to-date and relevant guidelines and investigation protocols, increased information on diet and lifestyle interventions, and specific gastrointestinal disorder leaflets (Core Charity.org 2009)
Of all the nutritional therapists I know about 70% of their clients come to see them with a digestive disorder or food allergy, they often complain that they failed to get proper help from their GP and do not feel they are taken seriously. These are typically the type of people we see and have a lot of success with. I am not putting down GPs at all but merely showing that we should be working in a more integrated way when managing these types of conditions.
I just want to stress that in every medical field there are good and bad practitioners, therapists, specialists and other health professionals. Nutrition and lifestyle management is fundamental to good health. No one is saying that it will cure or prevent disease however evidence shows that in many cases it can and that people cannot do this on their own even with all the information that is out there, all the statistics prove this is the case. What I would like to see is nutriton specialists working more closely along side GPs. Every GP practice should have a nutrition clinic attached to it so that patients can benefit from getting proper nutrition advice without having to wait for another appointment elsewhere. Dietary advice should go with every GP visit for those who suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, IBS etc. Long term this would save the NHS millions.

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Guest

I would say that people become obese because their calorie intake exceeds their needs. I am not convinced that any sort of therapist is needed to diagnose that. Most cases of heartburn are caused by eating and drinking too much, especially near bedtime. What realistic treatment is there apart from don’t eat and drink so much, especially near bedtime.

Guest
Sarah Phipp says:
17 January 2012

I also found the article poorly reported without a lot of missing extremely relevant information. I have been studying naturopathic nutrition for 10 years and one of the most important aspects of dealing with clients is taking a FULL case history, simply dealing with someone who is suffering from a spurious symptom (I’m presuming this is the case with your panel as it is not explained in your methodology) e.g. heartburn, is never going to receive accurate help. Although 2 clients may present the same set of symptoms, a well trained nutritionist would approach each case completely differently dependent on their case history.

I had M.E. and despaired with doctors being able to help me, one said it was debatable as to whether my illness existed!!! Another tried to put me on valium. It was only when I turned to naturopathic nutrition that I started to get well and am now completely recovered. Hence my wanting to enter this field of work to help others.

As you quite rightly pointed out, our health system is a illness system and is quite clearly not providing any answers. Systemic and chronic illnesses are worse than ever and our diets have changed more in the last 50 years than the entire time than man has been walking this planet – a coincidence? I think not.

Remember doctors have no nutritional training and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that we put or don’t put into our bodies has a massive effect on our health. As you put quite clearly, as in any profession, there are good and bad, never more so than with doctors. Always go on recommendation or reputation.

Guest

I was under the impression that Westminster University had to withdraw their degree in Nutritional Therapy after an internal review showed it has no basis in science and they no longer offer it? Surely what is needed is to make the public aware of the difference between nutritional therapists and dieticians, you would not go and see an astrologist for advice about stars and planets but an astrologer (well, you would be unlikely to go and see either but you get my point!).

Guest

That should be astronomer not astrologer!

Guest
Helen Osbourne says:
16 January 2012

Dear Which?,

I am both shocked and saddened by your article. As a 52 year old woman who was battling with gastrointestinal, weight and energy issues most of my adult life, I have only got words of praise for the excellent Nutritional Therapist who helped me overcome. She was knowledgeable and, even though she was science-based, I didn’t leave the consultation room feeling that I had just sat through a biology lecture. She gave me specific advice that allowed me to digest my food better, resolving IBS systems that I had never imagined disappearing. I also lost 1 stone in the process, and in my case eliminating wheat and dairy was just heaven-sent. I have subsequently been able to reintroduce these but I now know how to identify the signs of their “not agreeing” with me. Finally, my energy levels are much better now and I can go about my daily life making better informed choices about healthy food, without being extreme. I have since recommended Nutritional Therapy to many of my friends and family, and they all have had experienced similarly positive outcomes.

I believe that in all professions one will find different schools of thought and some practitioners who use more radical measures than other, regardless of their field. I don’t think Nutritional Therapy is any different and that’s why I see your report as being unreasonably unjust and damaging to a collective of people whose ultimate goal is to help other feel better.

Thank you,

Helen Osbourne, West Sussex

Guest
Sarah says:
16 January 2012

I am currently undergoing cancer treatment and diet/nutrition plays a HUGE role in its treatment alongside medical treatments (radiotherapy and chemotherapy). Bad diet has also a huge part to play in causing cancers and that has been proven. Diet and nutrition is not taken into consideration during diagnosis or long term prognosis and you receive no advice or support during your treatment – this is where the nutritional therapist plays a major part. It is up to me, as a patient to alert my oncologist and support nurse to the supplements and therapies that I am taking during my treatment.
There is a historical mistrust of complementary therapies but I can ensure you they help in long term prognosis and in managing my side effects. If the traditional medical “elite” actually accepted that complementary therapies have a serious part to play in disease and people’s every day lives (preventative medicine) then the NHS would not have to treat so many patients!
Bring the nutritional therapists into the fold….rather than try and exclude!

Guest

Shortly before my son’s third birthday he started to become constipated, despite doing everything right with his diet he was only emptying his bowels once or twice a week. His stomach would become distended and he wouldn’t feel like eating, this would obviously exacerbate the problem. He was seen by our GP and given lactulose which helped to some extent. At the age of four he had a test for Coeliac disease. The GP said that the blood test was normal apart from a low white blood count and something else that was high “but I don’t know what it is, it’s probably not significant”. My son was referred to a paediatrician and we were asked to keep a food diary for a week. The only advice she gave us was to give him crisps because they are high in fibre and she started my son on Movicol. We were also referred to a family psychologist although we never actually received an appointment. After seeing the paediatrician for 4 years my son was discharged despite still relying on the Movicol for regular bowel movements. At no point was he referred to a dietician or had any investigations as to the root cause of the problem.

Last year after speaking with a Nutritional Therapist we had my son tested again for Coeliac disease. The result was negative but he had elevated IgG indicating gluten sensitivity.
So last summer, seven years after first seeing the GP we eliminated wheat from my son’s diet. He now has daily bowel movements and after a couple of weeks he commented on how great it felt not to have stomach pains all the time.

I requested a copy of the GP’s blood test from when my son was four and found that the result that was high “but I don’t know what it is, it’s probably not significant” was his IgG. It was flagged by the pathologist as something to investigate further. The GP was right that he did not have Coeliac disease but if she had known about gluten sensitivity then we could have avoided many years of pain and distress.

Gluten intolerance is rising due to many different factors and the presentation is not always gut related. Neurological and auto-immune symptoms may be due to gluten sensitivity. What Shefalee fails to mention is whether her friend did eliminate gluten and dairy and whether her symptoms improved.

Guest
Jane Reed says:
16 January 2012

I think it is encumbent upon you to publish the transcripts. What evidence do we have that what you are reporting is actually true? Let us see the transcripts so we can judge for ourselves.

I really do not see how a pharmacologist or a GP can possibly assess the interviews as their training excludes any nutrition or food chemistry.

Jane, London

Guest
HR O. says:
16 January 2012

I couldn’t agree more. Professor Colquhorn doesn’t seem to understand where I got the idea that this research smells fishy. That is highly hypocritical of someone who spends a huge amount of time and energy trying to discredit anything that doesn’t come in tablet form, with side effects to boost. Although naturally these do not count…

As I said, I do hope that this is an opportunity for nutritional therapist to show what they’re worth and rise above this. Any internal work they may have to do will be well worth as it will be us – patients – who will benefit in the long run from having access to this wonderful therapy.

Guest
Natalie Jolly says:
16 January 2012

I visited a nutrional therapist last year who changed my life for the better. I spent several very unhappy years visiting GP’s who failed to help me & I think that a undercover report should be carried out on GP’s as I am pretty sure there are quite a few that do not do their jobs properly, as there are in every proffession. I co-own & run a car repair garage, as I am sure you are aware there are plenty of rouge traders in my industry also, but I would be devastated if we were all tarred with the same brush, as has been done with nutrional therapists. My nutional therapist did take blood tests at the beggining & highlighted quite a serious problem that my GP had missed only a month before. Through changing my diet alone, I have been able to cure this problem, I no longer suffer from back pain that was a direct result of this problem (my back pain I have been vising the GP for approximately 9 years with no results), I have increased energy, I have lost 2 stone & I have never felt happier. I’m a strong believer in ‘you pay for what you get’ & if a nutritional therapist is offering you miracle cures for what seems to be a too good to be true price, chance is it probably is! I think with any trade, you should research as much as possible & make an informed descision about who you part your money with & trust with your health especially. Word of mouth is always one of the best ways to find out about good practitioners, I have & will continue to highly recommend mine.

Guest
Paolo says:
16 January 2012

I believe it’s not easy to find indipendent and accurate advice from any type of practitioner, not only nutritionists. Everybody should be allowed to follow their heart on this choice. Of course, diplomas, degrees and professional associations are important too, but how not take them with a grain of salt when all they do is to create more and more control on how a profession should be handled? While banning everybody else? Is people’s health always their main goal?

I’m a student of holistic nutrition and I don’t care if people will blame the nature or institution of my diploma, I know that more and more people are now waking up to the fact that everyone can be responsible for their own health.

Guest

I find this report quite disgusting. What about all the GP’s out there who misdiagnose on a regular basis?? What about a report on them??
My Nutrional therapist saved me years of feeling ill from being misdiagnosed by the doctor and given a cocktail of drugs I didnt need!!! . I have my life back because of their good work!
Nutrional Therapists arent there to ‘diagnose’ disease. Their role is much more positive and they help to ‘prevent’ disease through building up the immune system through good diet – rather than curing a disease. So if your ‘fake’ patients felt uphappy as they werent diagnosed with an illness (which they didnt actually have?!!?) maybe they should just go to the doctor where they will get a magic pill to take it all away!!!

Guest
SkepticalHealth says:
16 January 2012

Unfortunately what you claim is impossible. Nobody on planet earth can “build up” their immune system to some point where disease is “prevented.” That’s absolute quackery. Your nutritionist is a quack and is lying to you.

Guest

Of course you can build up your immune system if you look after your body and eat the right diet to get the right nutrients in. That is not quackery at all!!!! That’s common sense!

Guest
Peter Monk says:
16 January 2012

Hi, I have Coeliacs disease, B12 deficiency and asperger’s syndrome.
Yes, I have made use of a nutritional therapist and found it helpful. I would certainly get more benefit if I put more effort in myself though!
I am also a building repair (preservation) specialist – this is a relevant point. My “profession” has some qualification(s) attached to it sometimes and has very little regulation. In my field you can get a really excellent trader giving good advice and good quality works for a reasonable price and a very poor and overpriced service too with very little comeback. Luckily it is dealing only with the health of a building not that of another human.
I would vote for more control and regulation in both fields. This may lead to the consumer paying a slightly higher price in terms of GBP, but much better than paying less for something at least worthless or even worse… harmful to the health of your building or your body!
I am sorry to hear that some have had bad experiences. A great shame, but I am sure not reflective of the profession in general.

Guest
A B, Kent says:
16 January 2012

This problem can be blamed on a lack of regulation. I have a nutrional therapist who qualifications are longer than will fit on a page yet she can be compared to someone who woke up one morning an decided to become a nutrionist. Realistically regulation will only go so far in standardising the quality of advise. I work in one of the most heavily regulated industries in Britain. I’m a financial adviser, the FSA insists on annual competency exams and continuos personal development records. Yet, I often get treated like a car salesman when I meet someone for the first time. I have to work hard to convince people of the quality of my advice because a small number of advisers have given the majority of bad name. I say this because this article is harmful to what many believe is a vital point of call for getting advise on a healthy life. 15 test cases is a joke to be honest and 6 were deemed to be poor advise. I would like to see the same test done on GPs. Do you expect a 100% perfect score? I don’t.
I went to my GP with the following symptoms:
Fatigue
Bloating
Stomach pain
Itchy backside
The bloating was very very severe

He did a blood test I called for the results and was told your all clear there’s nothing wrong with you…I’m not a doctor but there certainly was something wrong with me.

I went went to a nutrional therapist, she did a stool test as she obviously want to see evidence of the bowel not blood. Two weeks later she confirms what she suggest might be the problem, I have a yeast infection. A diet change and some supplement and I’m a new person three months later. What was the problem? The doctor had a single minded view and limited education in a specialist area. I don’t blame him for not knowing I do blame him for suggesting no one knew better than him.
I’m for the first time doubting the motives of this article. It seems very direct in its attack and not well thought out. Which? is famous for its thorough and unbiased testing but this doesn’t feel that way at all.
Also regarding the item at the top of this page, diary products are not for human consumption, and whether you believe that or not suggesting by avoiding diary you will become calcium deficient is misleading and scare mongering. You can get enough calcium from a pot of hommous for a weeks RDA( from the tahini not the chick peas), or broccoli or almonds or seaweeds in sushi the list is a long one.

If you want to create such a controversial article Which? I suggest you do so with a little more care and good judgement.

Guest
Jonathan says:
17 January 2012

Some lovely anecdotes here. Doesn’t change the fact that Which visited a random selection of highstreet nutritionists and almost without exception they were peddling dangerous rubbish.

Keep the lovely but completely irrelevant anecdotes coming.

Guest
Helen Osbourne says:
17 January 2012

Jonathan, the sheer number of anecdotes posted makes them, by definition, highly relevant. Which? seems to have gone in with an agenda and ticked the boxes they fancied as they went along. Why not invite a nutritional therapist to join the panel then?

Guest
Alex M says:
17 January 2012

This is another “completely irrelevant” anecdote, especially for Jonathon…. 🙂

My diabetic neighbour has recently amazed his GP by getting his previously uncontrollable blood sugar under control. How did he do this? By following the advice of a nutritional therapist. He found his dietician to be pretty much ineffective in this case. The NT didn’t do anything drastic, just paid closer attention to carb intake. He was able to avoid drugs and save the NHS potentially a considerable sum.

I fail to see how these ‘anecdotes’ are irrelevant if they serve to raise public awareness of a very valuable option in health care.

I too would like to see the full transcript of this investigation. Until it is published, then I shall continue to dismiss this report as disappointingly biased tabloid trash.

Guest
Jonathan says:
17 January 2012

They’re all irrelevant because for every single positive anecdote there may be 100 other people with the same condition who tried the same treatment and there was no effect. If that is the case maybe some other change in lifestyle or natural remission from the condition helped/occured. If you don’t have properly blinded, placebo controlled trials you can’t say that the specific treatment caused the physiological response.

I had earache earlier which has gone this afternoon. I had a chicken madras for lunch but I can’t say chicken madras cures earache because I don’t know that it wouldn’t have subsided naturally anyway. It might also have been something to do with the 2 paracetamols I took.

It’s the difference between anecdote and data and something nutritionists and the rest of the alt med community seem not to understand. I really don’t understand why they don’t want to test their hypotheses when to do so would be so simple. Why on earth would someone want to believe something works when it’s easy enough to find out whether it does or not?

Guest
Maria Rigopoulou says:
17 January 2012

Hello, I am really sad to read this. What the person does not say finally is if they saw any signifficant improvement or not. Unfortunately wheat and dairy, especially from cow’s milk (mainly during to overprocessing in most weastern countries) can really be difficult to tolerate for most people and create problems. Elimination from the diet for sometime and then slow re-introduction can help with many problems in most cases. Of course there also are cases with more severe reactions or allergies to these foods, where permanent exclusion is recomended. Nutritional Therapy has a holistic approach and can help many people. It certainly has helped me get my fertility back and many other people I know (like my sister and friends) to reat issues such thyroid, gynaelogical problems, diabetes and depression. Let’s not demonise a profession and the people that reperesent it, but only a few quetionable and unreliable testimonials. My personal experience has inspired me to start studying Nutritional Therapy now and looking forward to my full qualification in a couple of years time. Please try to be objective and more fair when publishing reports like these!

Guest
Vicky Warner says:
17 January 2012

I visited a Nutritional Therapist after being abandoned by the NHS system. Despite being taken to A&E and spending 5 days in hospital with stomach cramps and vomiting, they eventually sent me home with the advice of ‘keep eating and expect to be sick, but it will eventually go away’. I had lost over 2 stone in weight (went from 10 1/2 st to 8st 3lb) and could only eat dry toast. My NT sent me 3 separate questionnaires, covering my health from birth, current issues I was dealing with, a full body function analysis and I had to complete a food diary. On top of this, when I went for my consultation, she went through every questionnaire in full, double checking she fully understood what I had indicated and didn’t immediately start throwing pills and potions at me. She went away and checked all my symptoms and fully investigated my prescription drugs before coming up with a plan, which we both agreed. Since then, I have not looked back. My health has improved beyond recognition. My symptoms have disappeared completely, I have regained weight and we are now starting to work on my underlying health conditions and I have already been able to reduce my prescription medications. I can contact Jan at any time with any questions I have and she is always willing to listen – not something you get from your average GP. Of course, not every course of treatment works for everybody, whether it’s traditional or complimentary, but I would certainly say – don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!

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Guest

Hello all, it’s great to see your comments on this Conversation, though you may like to join our latest Conversation which follows our investigation. It’s taken off and you may want to join in: https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/nutritional-therapists-advice-worth-the-cost/ Thanks.

Guest
Alex M says:
17 January 2012

Jonathan, please do see the work of the wonderful Food and Behaviour Research (FAB), founded by Dr Alex Richardson for some excellent scientific resources. I’m surprised that you are so dismissive of evidence as there is rather a lot of very robust science in the nutrition field.

Guest

Jonathan – No information has been given by Which about the selection of therapists in the recent survey of 15 therapist. You state it was random. Are you assuming this? Or are you privy to information that hasn’t been published?

I suggest that you look at the comments on bias affecting the Which research from http://thehealthbank.co.uk/whichs-brew/

“Which? offers no insight into how the sample was selected – it should of course be completely random but in the absence of confirmation doubts must remain. Certainly if it transpires the nutritional therapists were individually selected by the review panel, the entire basis of the study is undermined. This is known as selection bias.”

“One supposed aim of the study was to measure the quality of advice on offer by nutritional therapists. The questions were designed specifically to tempt the subjects into indiscretion and error, which clearly implies the covert real aim of this project was to ‘expose’ supposed charlatans much in the way the late and unlamented News Of The World might have approached the question. Secretly recording advice given in good faith in response to questions partly designed by those with a conflict of interest is good tabloid journalism, but extremely bad science. This is a fine example of measurement bias”.