/ Health

Had dodgy advice from a nutritional therapist? We have!

Have you ever visited a nutritional therapist? In this month’s Which? magazine we investigated the profession and found some worrying practices, such as therapists advising against going to your GP.

One therapist advised our researcher, who was posing as a cancer sufferer, against having conventional treatment (a lumpectomy and radiotherapy), saying that she should try for three to six months to rid herself of the cancer through diet (by cutting out sugar).

Nutritional therapy can be big business; therapists charge up to £80 for a consultation and often prescribe expensive supplements on top. So we wanted to investigate whether it was worth the money.

How our investigation worked

We asked five undercover researchers to each visit three therapists. Each researcher was provided with a scenario.

One researcher (in her early 30s) had been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for over a year. Two (in their 50s) had been suffering from severe tiredness for the past three months. And two women (in their 40s) had recently been diagnosed with DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ), the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer.

A panel of experts (a dietitian, a GP and a Professor of Pharmacology) then assessed recordings of the visits and any other information the therapists provided to the researchers, including prescriptions for supplements.

Are nutritional therapists worth the money?

Our expert panel concluded that visiting a nutritional therapist wasn’t worth the money – and in some cases could have actually endangered the health of the researcher. Six of the fifteen consultations were rated as ‘dangerous fails’.

This could have been down to a number of reasons:

  • The advice given by the therapist could have potentially harmed the researcher.
  • Therapists were diagnosing conditions without relevant testing (even though their Code of Practice says they shouldn’t diagnose).
  • Researchers were advised not to visit their GPs about the problem, recommending unproven testing such as hair mineral analysis, and the case above, advising against cancer treatment.

Of the remaining visits, eight were rated as ‘fails’ and only one was graded as a ‘borderline pass’. Our experts were disappointed by the advice given by therapists and concerned at their poor knowledge of the body and how it works.

The experts were also worried by some therapists using non-evidence-based testing to diagnose symptoms. These tests included iridology (studying the patterns, colour and other characteristics of the iris), hair mineral analysis and a researcher being given several liquids to hold in his mouth before being told he had a chromium deficiency.

Are the recommendations right?

Twelve of the therapists prescribed supplements to the researchers, costing up to £70 a month. Researchers were told not to buy them from Boots or other high street chemists as they weren’t ‘pure enough’ and you were effectively ‘flushing your money down the loo’. Instead, they were asked to buy them from the retailers recommended by the therapist.

Of course, there is benefit in following healthy dietary advice, but most of what was provided by the nutritional therapists is freely available on websites such as the NHS site.

Plus, most of the therapists in our investigation recommended quite restrictive diets that excluded several foods (predominantly dairy and wheat) and taking expensive supplements.

If you do have a medical condition that you are concerned about, your first port of call should be your GP. If necessary they can then refer you to a dietitian. We have contacted the British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) with our findings and concerns.

People who have visited nutritional therapists emailed us to say that they found the diets recommended to them difficult to maintain over a long time and eventually gave up.

Have you visited a nutritional therapist? What was your experience like – do any of these findings ring true or did you have a more positive experience?

Comments
Vince Peters says:
18 January 2012

I am a senior director from the corporate world and I have to say this article reads like a bit of an attack on nutritional therapists and very one sided. Where are BANTS comments. No doubt they were invited to comment but were probably given little notice and had little time to respond however felt they have let their members down by not offering any sort of clarity or deference of their nutritionists. I have sought the advice of a nutritionist in the past and found the service, advice and results excellent. You seem to have a rogue commentator on the site obsessed with nutritional therapists I would give him a wide berth and form your own view.

Alan Hennsss says:
18 January 2012

Vince Peters said:

“this article reads like a bit of an attack on nutritional therapists and very one sided.”

Which? found nutritionists giving dangerous and misleading advice and reported it. Is that the ‘one-sided attack’ you see?

I understand BANT were told before Christmas about this, but all we’ve got from them is a press release that doesn’t address the issues.

“You seem to have a rogue commentator on the site obsessed with nutritional therapists I would give him a wide berth and form your own view. ”

Since you don’t say, I can’t know whether or not you’re referring to me, but don’t you think it would be better to answer the questions, criticisms and very serious concerns raised rather than to implore others just to ignore them?

Karen says:
18 January 2012

I go to my GP because I have an immune system issue (a type of arthritis) they tell me I can take anti iflammatory pain relief (ie ibuprofen/diclofenac) and steroids (ie cortisone shots) and to “rest”. I go to see a nutritionist. They advise me on what foods will irritate my immune system, what foods and supplements will help my body to try and repair itself, and that gluten and dairy are NOT good for me (which is generally common knowledge, the medical industry and the food industry just don’t want to admit it) and suggests exercise routines, and generally is more sympathetic and helpful. I’ve NEVER seen an osteopath, chiropractor, nutritionist or homeopath who has advised me against conventional medicine, just suggested things that might be more helpful on a long term, instead of just living on a diet of pain killers and steroids. That article was so biased, it’s shameful.
Also, if I want to see a specialist, be it a dietician, or a consultant for my arthritis, I have to wait for months. It’s all very well to say “see the NHS website” but so far I haven’t found anything that helpful on there for me.

Maggie says:
18 January 2012

As a qualified Nutritional Therapist, and I have been for over 10 years and hold a BSc in NT and constantly attend CPD. I work with and have always worked with evidence base science. I am also bound by a code of conduct, and one of these is never to be critical of my fellow health care professionals, which include, Medical Practitioners. So it is interesting that some of the panel are are also bound by a similar code of practice, and it does look as if they are in breach of this….see the following, in particular to 17g….

I personally do not use the word complementary, but integrated, because that is what it is. We all work with other health care practitioners as an integrated element of meeting the same purpose…getting the patient well. We are specialist in our field as so are Medical Practitioners and we explore the patients symptoms to understand the underlying cause and will insist they involve their medical practitioner.

This report, is not integrated, it is completely the opposite. It is clear that BANT where not invited to participate, it is clear that people were targeted in an underhand way. Our profession are all for quality and one good thing that will come out of this, is to demonstrate that we do work in an evidence base environment.

I like others, would like to see the transcripts so there is an element of transparency, and if these do show a breach of ethics then the profession can deal with this in the correct manner.

Extract from the Code of Conduct from the GMC.

17. Members have a duty to lead by example, always demonstrating respect and dignity for others (Dignity at work); valuing diversity and conducting themselves in a non-discriminatory manner at all times. Working together effectively means, for Council members and staff, observing the following working principles:
a. Trust between colleagues – being honest and open; acting with integrity and respect for each other.
b. Good communication – sharing information and listening to others.
c. Ideas and creativity – offering ideas and being open to ideas proposed by others.
d. Individual responsibility – accepting responsibility for achieving goals and for the quality of our work.
e. Problem solving, finding solutions – working to find creative solutions to problems.
f. Openness to learning and feedback – seeking to improve ourselves and how we work.
g. Collaboration with others – working constructively with colleagues to a common purpose.

Alan Hennsss says:
18 January 2012

Maggie said:

“So it is interesting that some of the panel are are also bound by a similar code of practice, and it does look as if they are in breach of this….see the following, in particular to 17g….”

The implication of what you seem to be advocating – that no healthcare professional should ever criticise another – is that people giving misleading and dangerous advice would never be discovered, never be reported and never be stopped from doing so. Is that what you really want?

Headline in yesterday’s Mail online “we are going to have to send you to the zoo,” doctors tell obese patients too large to fit in hospital scanners.

Probability these poor obese people are under medical supervision? 100%, they are having an MRI

Chances they have seen an NT? 0%. It is not possible to get morbidly obese from eating natural foods. However a toxic lifestyle- diet drinks, copious coffee, processed foods-that’s a different story.

When I had cancer I was determined to stay on the planet with my 2 young kids. The doctors were great, but without significant changes to my own toxic lifestyle I would not have the health I enjoy today. You cannot live life in the fast lane – heavy alcohol, high stress, no exercise, poor diet – without some health implication. How many people see their GP for depression, digestive issues, weight gain, fatigue? GPs do not have the time or the resources to coach individuals in lifestyle change, but NTs do. So refer them on and then there won’t be a void between the two professions.

As for regulation – great idea. There is a world of difference between dietary advice (anyone can give) and Nutritional Therapy (suggest minimum degree level qualification)

I spent a long time reading all the comments yesterday feeling disheartened and frustrated having just completed a 5 year BSc.in Nutritional Medicine, however this morning I remembered why I made the decision to retrain. Having worked within Cancer Services as a Therapeutic Radiographer (NHS) for 10 years I became aware that there was a distinct lack of nutritional support and advice for people post treatment for cancer. This led people to travel from London to Bristol to the Penny Brohn Centre (former Bristol Cancer Help Centre) for expensive residential courses.

Also I feel that a number of important points have been overlooked in the comments namely: 1) patient choice, 2) complementary therapies can and do work well integrated with conventional care (even in an NHS setting), and 3) often people who seek complementrary therapies have already tried the conventional route and have had less than satisfactory results for chronic conditions.

Alan Hennsss says:
18 January 2012

Jo said:

“I feel that a number of important points have been overlooked in the comments namely: 1) patient choice”

Yes, patients should have choice, but are you seriously suggesting that they should have the choice to be given dangerous and misleading advice?

“2) complementary therapies can and do work”

Which ones and for what conditions? Please cite robust scientific evidence published in reputable journals.

anthony says:
18 January 2012

I went to see a nutritional therapist for bowel problems and generally feeling not too good. I was put on a special diet of mainly alkaline foods and told to cut out certain foods and take a small amount of vitamin supplements and I have to say after 4 weeks I was energised and free of my problems. In a way it was very simple ,although sometimes difficult to do. I now know that diet and health inextricably linked.
I had previously been to several doctors and at no time was diet mentioned. Instead I was given anti biotics, and told there was nothing to be done and it will clear up.
This Which Survey smacks of a stitch up …..Most Doctors have never liked anything slightly alternative ,yet they are only too happy to prescribe drugs ,which ,often, they know nothing about, recommended by the big pharmaceutical companies.[Glaxo Smith Kline found guilty in Argentina this year of experimenting with drugs which killed 14 babies…see ]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRX43e6Rrj4
Which Mag have chosen a pre biased panel and have gone for sensationalist headlines and will not be taken seriously if they continue with this sort of thing.
The big drug companies are very powerful and will do anything to squash anything that might affect their profits …….Which magazine should do an investigation into
1. Drug trials by Drug companies[ especially in 3rd world countries]
2. Side effects of Drugs
3.Advice and Drugs given by GP’s and the relationship between them. etc etc

Lastly would it not be a good idea as GP’s are basically promoting and selling the pharmaceutical companies drugs for them, that they contribute more of their profits to our National Health service. which is strapped for cash while they are among the richest corporations in the world.

Holistic health is the only way forward !

Alan Hennsss says:
18 January 2012

Yes, Anthony, drug companies sometimes behave unethically and that is deplorable.

Now, returning to the issue at hand, do you think that excuses nutritionists who give out dangerous advice?

Paolo says:
19 January 2012

Good point Anthony,

sadly this type of investigations are carried out on niches where benefits far outweigh the negative… in fact I didn’t read many comments of readers being messed up by nutritionists here.

Why not an investigation about drug trials, medical mistakes, side effects of vaccinations?
This would really reveal something new…

Nutrition doesn’t have the appreciation it deserves simply because you can’t patent natural foods and it’s based on personal responsibility.

Maggie says:
18 January 2012

@Alan

Fair comment, but no, I just quoted the code of conduct. I am all for people being investigated if they are in breach of any part of a code of conduct, I am also in favour of regulation, at the moment, we are self regulated, and I look forward to the day when this becomes regulated. The code of conduct is there to follow, and so is the need to ensure quality and safety. Not an attack, some of the comments made by some individuals on here are a pure attack, without any reflection. It is a shame. It also seems to now, put the medical side into a bad light…and has prejudiced views.

The positive side, it will ensure we all strive for quality, it will make people aware of who to see and who not to see, i.e check out if all are educated to degree level or higher, check people are registered with the professional body. If anyone is in breach of conduct..report them to the Professional Body. Engage your GP in all forms of your health programme….

anthony says:
18 January 2012

Nothing excuses bad advice …but in this case we have not really been presented with the whole story .
Which should print the whole transcripts. Its very easy to get the headlines with edited highlights ,often taken out of context.
And who says that that this panel is right anyway. ?
Cancer research has taken in billions and they are no nearer a cure than they were decades ago.

Alan Henness says:
18 January 2012

anthony

“Nothing excuses bad advice …but in this case we have not really been presented with the whole story .”

How do you *know* we’ve not been presented with the whole story? Or do you really mean that you *think* we might not have been presented with the whole story? Why?

“And who says that that this panel is right anyway. ?”

They are certainly acknowledged experts, but the point is that the onus is now on the various trade bodies, trainers and regulators to do a thorough investigation into what nutritionists are being told during their training, what messages are being given by the trade bodies and what nutritionists are telling their customers. If they can conduct a larger scale, high-quality, independent (bearing in mind what Which? have been accused of here) research and publish *all* the details of the investigation (as is being demanded of Which? – let’s not have double standards), then perhaps Which? would be interested in publishing the results?

The BIG question: are the nutritionists and regulators going to rise to the challenge? It’s important we know whether the nutritionists Which? found are just the only bad apples or whether dangerous advice in endemic in the industry.

“Cancer research has taken in billions and they are no nearer a cure than they were decades ago.”

I sincerely hope you’re not suggesting that cancer research has produced very little in return? Anyone here had a relative or friend who is alive now because of the treatments that that cancer research has produced?

Reading this might help dispel a few common myths: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/chemotherapy-doesnt-work/

Pamela says:
18 January 2012

The Which? report has highlighted some major incompetencies of the therapists involved, and clearly they need training to be brought up to date with current Nutritional Therapy practice or advised not to practice any more. They have discredited the profession. However, this is a very small investigation and does not mean that Nutritional Therapy as a whole practices in this way or that it is not successful in results. For example, I suffered from an undiagnosed sleep disorder for over 6 years from 32 years of age. I saw 4 different doctors and went to a sleep clinic twice under the care of a neurologist. I am not overweight and ate a balanced diet that was in accordance with the NHS “balance of good health model”. All the doctors and the neurologist were unable to make a diagnosis, I was offered the contraceptive pill despite being sterilised, and antidepressants (I was not depressed just sleep deprived). Sleep deprivation took its toll on my health and I became lactose intolerant, had major PMS plus lower abdominal pains. No explanations were offered by the doctors, only a scan was done to rule out ovarian cysts/cancer. Chronic disease had well and truly kicked in and it was getting out of control. I eventually sought advice from a Nutritional Therapist. The advice and scientific evidence was impeccable. The nutritional protocol was tailored to my lifestyle and the consultations lasted nearly 2 hours so that a full and thorough case history was obtained. I was asked to revisit my doctor to discuss my medication before certain supplements were prescribed for safety reasons. Nutritional Therapy has given me back a quality of life, without having to pay a fortune. I now sleep, I am no longer lactose intolerant and I do not have any PMS – success!! I want to use my experience to help others and I am now training in Nutritional Therapy. Our discipline is underpinned by the Functional Medicine Model, we are taught not to diagnose, but to support, we are taught to liaise with client’s GPs, and we are taught to use diet as the primary tool, supplementation may be recommended where necessary. Doctors and dieticians also prescribe nutrient supplementation sometimes when they feel it is necessary. My point is that sometimes conventional medicine does not work and Nutritional Therapy may just fit the bill. We should be working along side each other, not discrediting other disciplines. On another note, my GP failed to diagnose my 14 year old daughter with scoliosis, it was diagnosed by a chiropractor who adviced she needed orthopaedic care. All professions are human and mistakes are made by them all. My GP is still my first port of call for any health concerns.

C Trustram Eve says:
18 January 2012

It is a pity that this report was conducted without a nutritional therapist on the panel; however the fundamental messages are important. As a nutritional therapist I am often concerned by nutritional therapy practice. There is no need to use unproven methods for testing clients – there are now plenty of clinically sound, although sadly rather expensive, tests available. The reluctance to work in concert with a client’s GP is unnecessary, for the sake of a short letter. And nutritional therapists should be realistic about what we can support. Supporting conventional cancer care through improving diet may be very helpful. Advising against a consultant’s protocol is not. Nutritional Therapists can use this comment from Which? to sharpen up the industry, and better regulation of the title ‘Nutritional Therapist’ can not come a moment too soon.

Sheila says:
18 January 2012

In response to David Colquhoun:

To correct you, Catherine Collins is a Principal Dietitian and an active spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. A quick google search shows her views of Nutritional Therapy, which are certainly not neutral. To answer your point “…this was meant to be a proper scientific assessment…”, as an evidence-based Nutritional Therapist there is every point in including a representative from the nutritional therapy sector.

Sheila
You complain that Catherine Collins’ views about nutritional therapists are not neutral, and the same complaint has been levelled against me.

There is some truth in that, but the reason is that we have both been into the question before this study. Some of the materials that I unearthed that are taught to students are little more than myth or make-believe, so of course I’m not neutral.

Nevertheless, my job in this case was to read through the transcripts. I’d have been delighted if it had turned out that the advice given to patients in real life was better than one might have guessed from what they are taught on some courses. Sadly, that is not how it turned out.

Kirsty says:
18 January 2012

In response to David Colquhoun’s comments following my earlier post: I was not discussing the cause of cancer, merely pointing out that it was misdiagnosed by the GP. In the case of the renal failure, it was acknowledged by the treating doctors that this particular case was caused by beta blockers being prescribed incorrectly. You seem to have missed the point I was making which was that conventional practitioners are capable of making mistakes. I was in no way disputing the need for further research in both these areas.

I’m afraid that I do not agree with your point that “if complementary medicine had come up with effective treatments it would simply be called medicine”. I don’t think that anyone is disputing the need for conventional medicine and not everything needs to be put together in one box. Why not have alternatives, complements that can work with a mainstream system. I do believe that is a professional, constructive and important way to move forward.

I presume you were not suggesting that my comment stated the “silly and insulting” view that doctors are in a conspiracy to deprive patients of effective treatments. I do not believe that and it was not the point I made in my comment.

Dear Alan Hennes
Please be reassured that I do not excuse either GPs or nutritionists who give poor advice. My point is simply about the scale of the problem associated with the pharaceutical industry and in particular how it approaches chronic disease. Other aspects of conventional medicine such as infectious diseases and trauma have made unbelievable advances in the past few decades which we can all celebrate. Looking historically (1900-1970), the big breakthroughs in irradicating infectious diseases lead to a ‘one pill for every ill’ principle which then became ingrained in medical training. This was then incorrectly also applied to chronic diseases and became a huge business opportunity for the pharmaceutical companies who could now give a patent a drug for life rather than a month. Indeed their focus on this cash cow is now so well established that support for infectious disease drugs is now left to charities such as the Gates foundation. Two further contributors to this perfect storm of poor public health came from: 1. the food industry who became locked in a battle to make food more tasty (more salt, sugar and fat) and cheaper (intensively farmed with most micronutrients missing) as well as 2) a more general trend for greater choice (liberty) in society which gave people more freedom to be lazy, eat poorly and drink more.
I do not envy the politicians who retain a ‘duty of care’ over us all and somehow have to sort out this mess but I am convinced that Nutritional therapy is part of the solution not part of the problem. I also know that monopolies (such as the pharmaceutical treatment of chronic disease ) never deliver optimum solutions.

wendy says:
18 January 2012

I sought advice from a nutritional therapist after conventional doctors couldnt help me. After suffering from chronic fatigue,IBS,insomnia,hair loss,pcos,chronic sinninitis the doctors more or less said they couldn`t solve any of this but common sense told me there must be a reason why i`m like this and other people aren`t!.After much research by myself i realised in the naturopathic world my problems can be actually solved !.Its about getting to the root causes of problems and not just covering them up the symptoms with drugs that don`t even work quite often anyway.What i found out was very shocking.The lies and propaganda that is out there from orginally the pharmaceutical companys making us believe that drugs are the only option to.We are brainwashed to thinking we have to go the doctor but drugs deplete are bodies of so many vitamins and minerals that are bodies end up in a lot worse state than you orginally when to the doctors with!!.I have been extremely blown away with my nutritional therapist she is very professional and incrediably knowledgeable.She she actually inspired me to become a nutritional therapist because i am amazed about how self healing the body actually is.I think shes worth every penny of my money because i would be in mess if it wasn`t for her.The supplements are expensive but why buy cheap supplements with added fillers and god knows what ever else in them.You get what you pay for!!.I won`t be going back to doctors again!!

Helem Grundy says:
18 January 2012

Well it certainly is worth the money and has kept me away from the doctor for some thirty healthy years now. I previously had a long history of chronic ill health and have never looked back!

Kate says:
18 January 2012

My view is that to make generalisations (and sensational headlines) from such a small sample does Which? a disservice. It also does nutritionists a serious disservice, and this is what concerns me. I hasten to add that I am not a nutritionist, but my own health has been transformed by visiting an extremely good, conscientious, and well-qualified one. Before visiting her, I had a number of health issues, and she has taken care and time to research the best solutions. None of her advice has sought to undermine anything suggested by my GP – she has sought simply to support and to complement. It concerns me that such a small study and such sensational headlines might put off individuals in a similar position to myself from consulting a good nutritionist and reaping the rewards. I would appeal to Which? in future to do studies with a far wider sample as to do otherwise seems to me to be irresponsible. I should also say, of course, that an individual should choose his or her nutritionist wisely. In any walk of life – in the professions and elsewhere – there will always be those who are better than others. But to extrapolate from such a small sample to broadcast a message that the media used to damn all nutritionists is wrong, and damaging to the very consumers that Which? is there to serve.

Sonia says:
19 January 2012

In any profession, there are good and less recommendable professionals. But once again mainstream media is using every opportunity to tar all of them with the same brush. The reality is that which part of scientific research gets into mainstream media depends on how beneficial it is for the pockets of the food and pharma industry. Revealing the countless evidence on how processed foods, high blood surges and antibiotics (just to name a few) can mess up our systems and create the very conditions in our body which will allow cancer to thrive …. would quickly show why the so called “normal standard diet” as recommended in the NHS eat well plate isn’t quite cutting the mustard. Meat, dairy and wheat may not be evil per se, but their quality is diminished by the grade of contamination, mass production, bio- and genetic engineering, processing etc. means these foods are no longer what they used to be in the past, and many people do suffer needlessly from unwittingly consuming them. I am a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and our curriculum teachers include many MDs who after going through conventional medical education have specialised and embraced natural foods as a way of preventing disease and facilitating self-healing. Many people seek out the help of nutritionists, naturopaths etc. after being to GPs and being told there is nothing they can do and they should just get on with it (I had IBS and eczema for many years and was able to get these under control by looking into the dietary issues that seeemd to be causing them).

maggie says:
19 January 2012

Well, it looks like the comment I put up on here and Barneys has been deleted…This is not very transparent “Which”….So here it is again…Plus I do have a copy of the original that I will be sending to BANT, since it is very clear, you are not investigating in a Professional Manner. My faith in Which has gone…..I will never be able to take your reports with any credibility again

[Part of message deleted by mods]

Hi Maggie
I just wanted to explain why we have deleted part of your message – and a previously posted message by Barney.

As you can see from many of the comments we have published, we are very keen to allow our commenters freedom of speech, which often includes questioning Which?’s work and even criticising it! We are certainly not in the habit of restricting what people can say, however we do have important guidelines that we expect commenters to abide by, which are there to keep the community running smoothly and to protect us legally. (https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/)

In this case, we felt Barney’s comment contained too much personal information and also potentially libellous comments that it was impossible to edit in any way. I hope that explains why the comment has not been published.

I can, however, tell you that Which? has had no involvement with The Nightingale Collaboration for this report. Thanks, Hannah

Chazza says:
20 January 2012

Why has this been deleted please?

Sarah says:
19 January 2012

Who are Alan Hennsss and David Colquhorn???????

Alan Henness says:
19 January 2012

Why should that make the slightest difference to anything?

Can you address the issues raised by the Which? investigation?

Sarah
You could always try googling my name if you want to know who I am. There is no secret at all (though for best results it would be useful to spell my name correctly).

But it doesn’t really matter anyway. What matters is the advice that was given by the nutritional therapists. Do you think it was good advice?

ente1 says:
20 January 2012

David – I can’t comment on all the advice given by all these 15 therapists. However, I think it is ridiculous and irresponsible to condemn an entire profession of people because of the (alleged) failings of others. That would mean we could do the same for all health care professions really.

I understand that none of these NTs were members of BANT which is working towards getting and keeping training and practice to very high, safe standards. I have both a BSc (Hons) in Dietetics and a BSc in Nutritional Therapy. The latter degree was far more rigorous in many ways, including pounding into us these facts:
– you do not diagnose any illness
– you do not tell a person to stop medication or counteract GPs care
– work in the best and safe interests of the client
– be able to back up your recommendations within the evidence-based functional medicine framework
– when in doubt refer a client back to the GP or if allowed discuss with the GP directly

If I ever have a client with serious illnesses or ongoing medication, I write to the GP as a matter of routine to inform them that their patient X has contacted me for nutritional advice and give them an outline of the recommended programme.

Also there may be some cases where someone does present with symptoms which concern me. In this case I write back to the GP to bring it to their attention and this often leads to the GP taking this up with further scrutiny and testing if they feel it is appropriate.

So I kindly request that you and Which do not try an tar me with the “dangerous fail” brush.

Chazza says:
20 January 2012

It does make a difference as these people are renowned for their crusade against ‘Quackery” Irrelevant of bad NT advice going against the professional code they are not appropriate to be involved in this investigation without the counter argument.