Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Feb 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Holistic Holdup

news_E4HCalifornia nutritionists’ ongoing fight to maintain legal legitimacy
What is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian? This may sound like an menial question to some, but ambivalence about this distinction sent holistic health professionals across California into a flurry of phone calls, letters, and public consternation regarding a piece of recently proposed legislation know as Assembly Bill 575.

Due to sizable disapproval over the written logistics of AB575, which was proposed by Assemblymember Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward), it was tabled on May 4 for revisions. However, the debate it sparked brings to light an ongoing controversy in the world of nutritional healthcare.

“There is a distinct profession of nutrition, and within that there are different practices,” says Edward Bauman, executive director of Bauman College for Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, which has a school location in Santa Cruz. “Dietetics is not the only practice of nutrition. This bill has provided an opportunity to define the distinction between nutritionist and a dietitian and to look at overlaps. The similarity is that [both] are helping people get healthy by looking at their food. The difference is that [nutritionists] rely on natural foods, and they rely more on processed, enriched foods.”

Another difference between a registered dietitian (RD) and a certified nutritionist (NC) is the required training for each. To become a registered dietitian a person must have a bachelor's degree as well as post-graduate training in an accredited program. They must then pass a licensing exam and keep their license current by completing continuing education classes for the entire time they are licensed.

news_E4H2The process to become a nutritionist involves less government regulation than a registered dietitian, but Bauman says it is more organized than many realize. For example, the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP), a nonprofit business league, set out in 1985 to enhance the integrity of the holistic nutrition profession. It uses self-governance, educational standards, and a rigorous code of ethics to train nutritionists. It also requires an exam—the Board Exam in Holistic Nutrition.

As it was written, AB575 would have allowed only RD’s to perform medical nutrition therapy in the State of California, because it required licensure through the California Dietetic Association (CDA). Only registered dietitians can join the CDA, so nutritionists with just as much training as registered dietitians—if not more—would suddenly not be licensed to practice. This would put the burden on the state to enforce non-RD medical nutrition practice.

Terri Oberto is a Certified Clinical Nutritional Consultant and a member of the American Holistic Health Association and the NANP. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, and is currently working on her master’s degree in nutrition. Oberto also owns the local business Healthy Solutions. She says she would be financially and morally devastated if a bill like AB575 were to pass.

“I would lose over a million dollars in modality inventory,” says Oberto, whose facilities include a biofeedback machine, a vibration exercise machine similar to those used by astronauts in space, an exercise room, and much more.

Bauman says that what Oberto and others do is not the treatment of an illness, but rather in- depth education about individual health. “It’s about teaching people what the systems do and what you can do to help restore balance,” he says. “In most cases you’re not working directly under a doctor, and not directly treating an illness—you are treating an individual with health problems.”

If a bill like AB575 were to pass, highly trained nutritionists with degrees and certification would face misdemeanor charges and fines for doing their jobs. In the past, related bills have been proposed in California that would turn non-RDs into felons.

Some, like Santa Cruz resident Caroline Homlund, suspect ulterior motives at work behind this sort of legislation. Homlund has Lyme disease. She says her work with Oberto and other holistic health practices, saved her life when she was in the advanced stages of the illness.

“The [Federal Drug Administration] is initiating this law, and they are basically an extension of the pharmaceutical industry,” says Homlund. “[Bills like AB575] are trying to put anyone out of business that is competition to producing profit for the purveyors of the established health, ‘medical’ industry. It’s a global assault on real food.”

Bauman doesn’t quite agree, but he does feel that while, “Corporate takeover is not the intent of this bill, it is kind of the bigger pattern here.”

Bauman, Oberto and a large number of nutritionists’ online comments say it is important to keep multiple venues for nutritional health education open to the public. The California Labor Market Information Division reported that there were roughly 4,500 registered dietitians (RD) working in California in 2005.

“There are so many people who need health advice right now, and not enough good nutritionists or dietitians to connect with all those people,” says Bauman. “Nutritionists don’t prescribe—a nutritionist is not a pharmacy. We don’t treat symptoms, but we look at what it is in a lifestyle, environment, and attitude that’s out of whack. We then look at how to alleviate the issues from their origins.”

Bauman adds that certified nutritionists and registered dietitians do not negate one another, but rather can and should work together.

“We’re being viewed as the alternative, but I want to show up with dignity and respect and be in dialogue with dietitians—not with hate and slander,” says Bauman. “I want nutritionists to be able to collaborate with registered dietitians, not fight them.”

Comments (4)Add Comment
This is just crazy
written by Thiago da Luz, April 24, 2013
Next thing you know there'll be uproar about the difference between medicine hat heating and plumbing. People are just trying to deconstruct things, instead of making life easier.
...
written by Ginny, July 07, 2011
I have my BSND and worked like heck to get it but the hoops you have to jump through to work in this field are enough to cripple the mind and soul and render you useless to yourself and the world. Yes, there is definitely a need for workers in this field like never before but is the price you have to pay worth the effort.
Re: N..& D..
written by mishael, June 20, 2011
I am a Liza, a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian here in the Phils. I am Nutritionist & Dietitian at the same time. Our course is BSND, Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics. After college...we have a licensure exam. When you passed this exam, you will be called a REGISTERED NUTRITIONIST-DIETITIAN(R.N.-D.) If you do not passed the exam... that's the time some may call you a Nutritionist. So the mere difference is that...whether you passed the state licensure exam or not and those who do not pass the exam cannot work at the Hospital as Dietitian.
Director, Healer, Teacher
written by Laurie Miller, May 19, 2011
Thank you for this wonderful article. I never knew the difference between a nutritionist and a dietician.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia