PDA

View Full Version : How do you deal with such stupidity??


Greg Battaglia
11-22-2008, 11:43 AM
Ok, so this year was my first semester as a Dietetics major in college. So far, I've realized that dietitians generally know absolutely nothing about healthy eating. Zilch. Which brings me to the point of this post.

Yesterday in my nutrition class we were having a class discussion on the health benefits of whole grains (big surprise, right?) and the professor said the following (try not to laugh or cry too hard):

"The reason we recommend that people get half of their grains in whole form is because refined grains and white bread are actually more healthy than whole grains in some situations. Since refined flour is enriched with folic acid it's an excellent choice for pregnant women, since the whole varieties are lower in folic acid" She then went on to say "Whole grains are great because they are the richest food source of dietary fiber in our diets. They contain phytic acid, which prevents the body from digesting certain minerals in the grains, but this effect is minimal since we know that whole grains are the healthiest foods."

I was literally dumbfounded when she made this statement. I honestly felt sick because of her blatant stupidity. The sad thing is that the other students thought that this was great stuff. One girl was like "Wow, I didn't know white bread was that healthy". I've questioned this particular professor and other professors numerous times on their ridiculous claims and every time they give me the "I'm the professional, so I'm always right" mentality.

They are completely closed minded and any time I present them with the scientific research that clearly proves their claims wrong they say "That's interesting, but we need more studies on that". When I show them more studies they say, "Well, I think if that were a significant issue the ADA would have adjusted the recommendations by now".

One time the teacher actually said that low carbohydrate diets CAUSE insulin resistance. I immediately asked her in front of the class to provide even one scientific study that supported that claim. She had none, she said it was just "common knowledge". I then went on to explain that the vast majority of research shows quite the opposite and I would be willing to present an analysis and interpretation of those studies to the class. Of course she then changed the subject and said "It seems you've found what works for you, but for most people the food pyramid is the healthiest option."

I really don't know how to handle this idiotic behavior, what can I do here? These people are either 1) incredibly stupid 2) brain washed, or 3) being paid by someone to lie (which I doubt is the case).

I feel like I'm wasting time and money of this education (if that's what you'd even call it). It's very frustrating.

Gittit Shwartz
11-22-2008, 12:07 PM
It is frustrating... Even though I went into college knowing nutrition will be a big part of what I do for a living in the future, I did not even consider majoring in nutrition. When the time comes I'll just get the minimum certification necessary to get insurance for my practice.

It's also disturbing because it makes you wonder what other "common knowledge" you've never questioned is based on absolute puff.

Daniel Labuz
11-22-2008, 12:12 PM
I was actually thinking about getting a degree in nutritional science, but at this point I realize I don't belong in class at this particular time. I'm sure if I had to put up with stuff like that all day from my professor's I'd end up going insane, it's quite disturbing this hasn't got to the professionals yet. Although there are limited studies and it's still quite new as far as science goes.

Mandy LaGreca
11-22-2008, 12:58 PM
I dropped out of nutrition too for the same reasons....but did consider a degree from Clayton College of natural health in the future. Or perhaps I will get a certification sometime as well.

You have the remember, the doctors, nurses, dentists, dieticians all practice based on their learnings, which are all controlled by a group with certain beliefs. (ADA...American Dietetic Association), and Im sure the drug companies have some big role in there too.

I got in an argument with my doctor one time about the overusage of antibiotics and what they do long term to your immune system, and he just didnt understand. This is why I see a holistic doctor for most ailments....

As for white grains, I do have to say, when I was pregnant, I couldnt stomach any whole grains or veggies or meat, so Paleo eating would have been out the window for me or I would have been vomiting all day. I lived on refined white starches, and supplemented with vitamins. However, it makes me wonder, maybe pregnant women really didnt eat as much as we think they should....maybe the nausea was a natural way of avoiding food to avoid potentially harmful bacteria. I think the body is an amazing machine and it would have figured out how to give all the nutrients to the fetus somehow, if I didnt have access to all that junk.

Mike ODonnell
11-22-2008, 01:05 PM
Just focus on helping/changing one person at a time....only way to fight the larger insanity out there....I don't have too many friends who are dieticians...as they never like what I have to say.....oh well, got enough friends...now time to expose the rest....

If you want a degree...you probably have to play the game.....but then the question becomes, do you need the degree to make a real difference?

Arien Malec
11-22-2008, 01:11 PM
I really don't know how to handle this idiotic behavior, what can I do here? These people are either 1) incredibly stupid 2) brain washed, or 3) being paid by someone to lie (which I doubt is the case).

Accept that, for better or worse, they are doing what they know to the best of their ability. What you are telling them is that down is up and up is down -- their job is to tell you that up is up and down is down. You aren't going to change what they teach -- only when the ADA, USDA, AHA, etc. etc. change their guidelines will what they teach change.

Sit through the courses, absorb what's useful, demonstrate that you know the material being taught, even if you disagree. While you are at it, research and present interesting studies and stimulate critical thought without getting angry, frustrated, upset, or generally looking like a crank pseudo-scientist, which is what they are going to think you are. Bias the studies you present to mainstream scientists and journals. In this context, NEJM and the Cochrane collaborative are your friends, Loren Cordain and Westin A Price aren't.

When you are a licensed dietitian, having walked through the wilderness, shake your head, hang out your diploma and help people.

Greg Battaglia
11-22-2008, 04:36 PM
Good points.

Basically, it's not that I think I can change the whole system or that I'm even going to try, it just blows my mind when you show an individual plenty of scientific evidence to disprove their claims or to prove yours and they don't even consider it. Even a little "That's interesting, we should look more into that..." would make me happy at this point. But instead it's just the same old "That's wrong because the food pyramid says so!". I mean, it's quite simple. If I show you numerous studies that find that low-carbohydrate diets are superior for weight loss and improvement in cardiovascular risk profiles then you would logically agree that low-carbohydrate diets are potentially effective strategies for weight loss and CVD prevention and treatment. Instead they say the exact opposite, even after reviewing the evidence! It's completely unscientific and just plain idiotic.

I never approach the arguments in an arrogant or aggressive manner. I always stay calm and present my arguments in a calm and open-minded way. I simply offer my stance and stay open to constructive criticism. it doesn't work, they still write me off as a the quack of the group. I guess when you believe something for so long it's incredibly hard to accept that you were completely wrong the whole time.

Steven Low
11-22-2008, 06:50 PM
Yep, that sucks.

Good luck. I don't suppose you'd consider switching to something like exercise physiology? :p

Kevin Perry
11-22-2008, 08:53 PM
Lots of this going around. I have to deal with nutrition next semester. Everyone else here has said good advice to just bite your lip and ignore em.

Chris Salvato
11-23-2008, 08:59 AM
I find the best way to approach these kinds of people is to be prepared, and be subservient.

If you come off too strong, they will give you that "I am better than you" mentality.

For example:

Teacher: "Whole grains are very important to the diet?"

You: "Really? Why do you say that?"

Teacher: <<bullshit claims>>

You: "I just find that odd since I have read over a dozen studies citing that insulin resistance is caused by high GI foods consumed in massive quantities like grains. In fact, aren't you a bit compelled by all the studies at Experimental Biology (EB) 2008 that promote lower carb diet habits for insulin resistance? The results of the studies at this years conference had some stark difference from your claims today, which is why I ask."


I find this works best because no one, especially an authority figure, likes to be proved wrong. Also, it makes u seem less boneheaded. Additionally, you may become a "beacon of truth" for other students who see you do your homework on your own about this stuff.

Speak intelligently.
Know your shit.
Be Polite.

I find this link to provide a lot of insight since most of the stuff I do (IF, Paleo, GOMAD) is not "normal" and these techniques help me deal with people and their questions:

http://www.westegg.com/unmaintained/carnegie/win-friends.html

Win people to your way of thinking

1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.

Jay Cohen
11-23-2008, 11:35 AM
Why do you feel that you have to say anything. It becomes you vs them.
Get your degree, practice / preach how ever you want, but get over trying to change the world, or change anything for that matter.

There will always be at least three sides to every debate, your side, their side and the truth, somewhere in between.

You really need to take a few breaths, chill out and move on.

Grissim Connery
11-23-2008, 05:41 PM
right now i'm a junior undergrad majoring in "nutritional biochemsitry and metabolism." i'm actually entering the grad school at the end of this school year. i am also on the DPD track, so in 2 years i will enter the dietetic intership, and then take the test for the RD license. first i'll say that the biochem classes will explain a lot of what you really wanna know. the nutrition classes need to be approached differently. for example, this semester we had a few weeks where we were reviewing papers on dietary fiber and what not. the entire time i had 2 questions running through my mind.
1. are there any benefits from fiber intake from grains over fiber intake from fruits and vegetables?
2. what are other benefits (aside from obvious ones) to taking in fiber from vegetables and fruit over grains?

i found that my goal was to try to prove myself wrong. if the teacher made some statement that i felt went against my opinions on nutrition, then that was beneficial. since people are going to start asking you nutrition questions more and more often, its better to be ready. i don't feel that i necessarily have to argue with my teacher over any issues (although it sounds like my teachers don't make the same extreme statements that yours do), but instead i work to take their info for what it's worth.

when we were reviewing omega-3's and their benefits, i talked to my teacher after class about grass-fed meat. she admitted that she had not reviewed any material regarding whether there was a higher content/better ratio of w-3 to w-6 in grass fed meat. this was a good response. i did not attempt to argue with her at all, i simply asked if she had any knowledge on the subject and she responded that she didn't. i did not do this in front of anybody else. my goal was not to embarass the teacher or anything like that. i simply was curious what she knew on the subject. thus i could better under why some studies were picked by our teacher for our review as opposed to others.

not every teacher knows everything. what's hard for me in nutrition is to get as interested in a few specific sectors. for example, nutrition for burn victims has a lot of research. i find that most of my focus concerns diabetes, obesity, and heart disease since these issues tend to surround me more often. your nutrition teacher may have participated in studies involving babies with PKU disease and how to feed them. one of the biggest things i've learned in college is that it's hard to know everything. this may be as big as a divide between nutrition and aeronautical engineering, or may be as small as one biochem class that i can't take because i won't be able to graduate in time if i take it. people generally learn what they need/want to know. thus you should try to recognize when you're more familiar with a particular subject than somebody else. i do get frustrated with other nutrition students a lot. for a lot of them, they don't try to connect the dots with everything they're learning. for them, if you're skinny, then you're eating well. in some cases, they just need a major that will supply the right courses to take the MKAT. you should focus on becoming an expert on the things you want to know.

Grissim Connery
11-23-2008, 05:46 PM
my nutrition class this semester required us to write 2 big papers. my first was on IF. my next is to review soy protein and the past associations it has had with heart health (the association is not being supported anymore).

basically, try to exploit all the opportunities you can to get your opinions out.

Chris H Laing
12-03-2008, 04:45 PM
I say get your teachers to fight you, on the grounds that if their diet is healthier they should be in better shape. Once you whoop their asses they'll all see you were right :D

Greg Battaglia
12-03-2008, 07:48 PM
Jay,
I thought I made it pretty clear that I'm not trying to "change the world". I'm simply frustrated at the fact that my professors refuse to at least consider the research that I present them. Like i said, I do it in a calm and professional manner. I don't stand up in the middle of class and boldly proclaim that the teacher is a complete fucking moron, as much as that might be the truth. An academic setting should be open to new ideas, not set in dogmatic beliefs regardless of contradictory findings.

College is expensive. I think I have every right to be concerned that I'm not getting a very good education.

Gittit Shwartz
12-03-2008, 10:43 PM
Greg, I'm in the first year of college too. I put it off for a long time (I'm 26) partly because of this very concern - that I would be wasting my time studying things that were unimportant, irrelevant to what I want to do, or just plain wrong.

You have to understand that your education is in YOUR hands. There's nobody in the world, no institution, that you can go to, say "gimme an Education", and then just sit back and absorb it. The world is full of opinions and bad science right up to the highest levels. Almost everything needs to be questioned at some point. Just accept what you're getting in college for what it's worth: a degree that'll open doors for you, some useful information, some trash that you can use to hone your acuity. If it's worth it to you, good; if not, get out - college isn't the only way to learn. Personally I'm still undecided.

My majors are psychology and biology and when I see the 20-year-olds in my class swallowing Freudian theory like it's the gospel truth I'm really glad I waited til I was older.

It sounds like you've always been active about learning, and you're keeping your head on, that's the important part. Good luck :)

Garrett Smith
12-04-2008, 06:28 AM
If you think what they have to offer (degree, certification) is worth it, jump through their hoops.

People are addicted to their grains and sugar, they will not believe your other presentation (most likely).

I had a nutrition minor. While I didn't know very much on our favorite nutrition topics back then (Paleo, low-carb/GI, etc.), I still felt that those classes were more enjoyable than taking more chemistry classes...

Eyes on the prize.

Camille Lore
12-04-2008, 07:35 AM
I say get your teachers to fight you, on the grounds that if their diet is healthier they should be in better shape. Once you whoop their asses they'll all see you were right :D

:rolleyes:

I'm entertaining a career switch to physical therapy, just bc I think it would have a lot in common with what I learn now...or maybe not. I would go a little nuts in that class too. I like the idea of using your papers to open some eyes.

Gant Grimes
12-04-2008, 09:42 AM
An academic setting should be open to new ideas, not set in dogmatic beliefs regardless of contradictory findings.

This thinking went out the window circa 1900.

Grissim Connery
12-04-2008, 10:05 AM
I had a nutrition minor. While I didn't know very much on our favorite nutrition topics back then (Paleo, low-carb/GI, etc.), I still felt that those classes were more enjoyable than taking more chemistry classes...

Eyes on the prize.

i'm in the chemistry professional fraternity. we don't do much, but we think chem is pretty legit. we had to learn alchemy history for initiation. that's a quirky bit of history.

Garrett Smith
12-04-2008, 10:32 AM
Grissim,
I only meant to imply that I didn't enjoy chemistry that much--my choices were either to take 1 or 2 extra chem classes for the chem minor or to do some more nutrition classes for a split nutrition/chemistry minor.

After organic chem, which kicked my butt, I definitely did not want to pursue that any further. Chem is legit, IMO, it's actually downright criminal how much modern medicine ignores basic biochemistry when it comes to human health.

Greg Battaglia
12-04-2008, 11:30 AM
Thanks for the good advice. In the long run the degree will help me (I think, at least). My goal is to open a CF affiliate with my buddy Bryan since we just got certified in August. I'm sure the RD credentials will be useful as a marketing tool.

Gittit,
I hear that. Freud was a brilliant neurologist, but he's an amateur philosopher. Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy is the good stuff IMHO.

Mike Prevost
12-07-2008, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the good advice. In the long run the degree will help me (I think, at least). My goal is to open a CF affiliate with my buddy Bryan since we just got certified in August. I'm sure the RD credentials will be useful as a marketing tool.

Gittit,
I hear that. Freud was a brilliant neurologist, but he's an amateur philosopher. Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy is the good stuff IMHO.

Greg

I spent 10 years in college (well, more like 12 since I am about to finish an MBA) and finished up with a PhD in exercise physiology. Professors do not know it all, that is for sure. Many are open minded enough to consider that they might not know everything, some are not. In the end, I found the classroom to be a good place to stimulate my interests and introduce some basics, but most of my learning came on my own, in the library. I learned much more by researching further what was discussed in class, than I did in the class itself. Use the basic knowledge you are getting in class as a springboard to build more knowledge. Spend some time in the library and learn as much as you can. If you find a professor is not receptive to information that counters what they are teaching, don't even waste your time. Been there...done that.

Mike

Chris Salvato
12-07-2008, 05:10 PM
Greg

I spent 10 years in college (well, more like 12 since I am about to finish an MBA) and finished up with a PhD in exercise physiology. Professors do not know it all, that is for sure. Many are open minded enough to consider that they might not know everything, some are not. In the end, I found the classroom to be a good place to stimulate my interests and introduce some basics, but most of my learning came on my own, in the library. I learned much more by researching further what was discussed in class, than I did in the class itself. Use the basic knowledge you are getting in class as a springboard to build more knowledge. Spend some time in the library and learn as much as you can. If you find a professor is not receptive to information that counters what they are teaching, don't even waste your time. Been there...done that.

Mike

Great advice Mike -- almost inspires me to go back to school for a Ph. D :P

Mike Prevost
12-08-2008, 02:40 PM
Great advice Mike -- almost inspires me to go back to school for a Ph. D :P

I am done with school! When I finish this MBA, no more school for me.....at least until I retire in 7 years ; )

Mike

josh everett
12-08-2008, 05:37 PM
didn't read all the posts so I hope this isn't redundant... if you want to make a change... join the system... move up in the system... then change the system from the top.

Nikki Young
12-08-2008, 06:10 PM
didn't read all the posts so I hope this isn't redundant... if you want to make a change... join the system... move up in the system... then change the system from the top.

You did miss a bit :)
Greg isn't intending to change the system, he's just frustrated with it.

I'm kinda in a similar position, although I'm not studying nutrition i still have teachers who are just dumb, to say it nicely. Comments like "most people create presentation slides using Microsoft word, not powerpoint" and assistance like the following when asking a question 'i can't seem to save my project to the right file type, can you help me?' reply "just make sure you're doing it right". And when having a slight browser compatibility problem "that can't be fixed, it's just browsers, there's nothing you can do about it", which i later figured out how to fix :rolleyes:

It's definitely frustrating but the piece of paper at the end of the day will defiantly mean a lot. I think you're at a HUGE advantage already though because you know so much about nutrition and a lot of the time most of the stuff you probably will learn will be learnt outside of school in further reading, especially in regards to nutrition. It's similar to a couple of books i have read, including the Ultra Prevention Diet, how doctors who after years of teaching medicine realise that they haven't been treating the problem of why people are sick, but just masking the symptoms so they change there approach to treating people. They would have learnt probably everything opposite to what they already know and learnt at medical school through their own reading and research which is exactly what you're doing.

Greg Battaglia
12-09-2008, 12:13 PM
Nikki,
I hear ya, it's tough dealing with ignorance like that. Once people are in a position of authority the input of the people "below" them isn't even considered. It's just kiddy stuff to them. Anyway, hope you're doing well with school. Tough it out, it'll be worth it.

Leo Soubbotine
12-10-2008, 04:42 AM
Things like that always remind me of "Atlas Shrugged" and "Fountainhead"

Bo Bolund
12-25-2008, 08:43 AM
Ok, so this year was my first semester as a Dietetics major in college. So far, I've realized that dietitians generally know absolutely nothing about healthy eating. Zilch. Which brings me to the point of this post.

Yesterday in my nutrition class we were having a class discussion on the health benefits of whole grains (big surprise, right?) and the professor said the following (try not to laugh or cry too hard):

"The reason we recommend that people get half of their grains in whole form is because refined grains and white bread are actually more healthy than whole grains in some situations. Since refined flour is enriched with folic acid it's an excellent choice for pregnant women, since the whole varieties are lower in folic acid" She then went on to say "Whole grains are great because they are the richest food source of dietary fiber in our diets. They contain phytic acid, which prevents the body from digesting certain minerals in the grains, but this effect is minimal since we know that whole grains are the healthiest foods."

I was literally dumbfounded when she made this statement. I honestly felt sick because of her blatant stupidity. The sad thing is that the other students thought that this was great stuff. One girl was like "Wow, I didn't know white bread was that healthy". I've questioned this particular professor and other professors numerous times on their ridiculous claims and every time they give me the "I'm the professional, so I'm always right" mentality.

They are completely closed minded and any time I present them with the scientific research that clearly proves their claims wrong they say "That's interesting, but we need more studies on that". When I show them more studies they say, "Well, I think if that were a significant issue the ADA would have adjusted the recommendations by now".

One time the teacher actually said that low carbohydrate diets CAUSE insulin resistance. I immediately asked her in front of the class to provide even one scientific study that supported that claim. She had none, she said it was just "common knowledge". I then went on to explain that the vast majority of research shows quite the opposite and I would be willing to present an analysis and interpretation of those studies to the class. Of course she then changed the subject and said "It seems you've found what works for you, but for most people the food pyramid is the healthiest option."

I really don't know how to handle this idiotic behavior, what can I do here? These people are either 1) incredibly stupid 2) brain washed, or 3) being paid by someone to lie (which I doubt is the case).

I feel like I'm wasting time and money of this education (if that's what you'd even call it). It's very frustrating.

Mainstream scientists often seem to support grain diets, often biased by their own preferences. She totally missed comparing grains with non-grains.
That was her biggest mistake.

Personally I love the taste of grains, I just hate what it does to me. :D

Low carb diets effect on insulin is tricky business. Yes, low carb diets lower insulin levels and blood glucose. But saturated fat will lower insulin sensitivity, making many low carbers vulnerable if they ever load carbs.