Should Amateurs Blog About Nutrition?

Recently another blogger, Manav Gaba, criticized my site, saying it was not credible in comparison to a site by professional dieticians in Canada. (that looks like an excellent site, by the way). Some of his criticism I found a bit unjust, for example he stated my posts on nutrition were not as well-referenced as theirs. I actually take great pains to give references to back up anything I say. The second criticism was that I did not give my name in my “about” page. My name is clearly visible on the book jacket there. But in response I have modified my about page to state my name up front. Nevertheless, Manav has a valid point that information from professionals, on any topic, is superior to information from amateurs.

If you want to learn about nutrition, by all means go to a site by professionals like the dieticians of Canada site. My personal favorites are Dr. Christine Rosenbloom’s site, and Dr. Michael Greger’s site. Dr. Rosenbloom has a Ph.D in nutrition and many years experience teaching it, and is coauthor of the excellent book Food And Fitness After 50. Dr. Greger is an M.D. with extensive knowledge of nutrition and its effects on health. He and his staff at his nonprofit read thousand of papers in this field every year.

In contrast, I am a layman in the field of nutrition, though I have read extensively on this topic as a hobby and out of concern for my own healthy aging. But I readily admit to being an amateur. As I discussed in a previous post, I was initially reluctant to say anything more about nutrition other than that most experts seem to agree we should not eat junk and we should eat more fruits and veggies. As an engineer, I sometimes wince at the things non-engineers say about engineering matters. This comes up a lot in cycling forums. I am concerned that I may be equally annoying to dieticians and nutritionists when I talk about their field. I apologize to them if this has ever been the case. I will continue to discuss my amateur’s opinion on these matters if I come across an interesting topic, but it is only that, my non-professional opinion, preferably backed by evidence.

Manav’s site looks like it will be interesting and useful. He is a chef with concerns about cooking for good health. We need more chefs coming up with recipes to make healthy food taste good.

18 thoughts on “Should Amateurs Blog About Nutrition?

  1. Hi! I blog about nutrition as an amateur too, and I just started it. I can see the point of people who criticise it, on the other hand, I see it as a big issue in our society that people are eating junk food and I felt like I have to do what I can do to change it. I am personally happy to see when someone cares about this topic, even if you are not a professional you can still have a good influence on others, I think it already worth it.

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  2. I’ve enjoyed reading your views on diet, especially from the perspective of an older person (such as myself). At no time have I thought you were trying to pass yourself off as a professional dietician or peddle some kind of “snake oil” diet cures. To me you’re a thoughtful amateur who tries to understand and explain sometimes confusing dietary information from their own perspective.

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  3. Thanks for the nice shout out; I think your posts are always thoughtful and well-referenced so the criticism from others in unwarranted. In nutrition, there are some controversies, such as the glycemic index. Some well-respected doctors swear it is the best way to eat while others think the GI is a useful tool that can be used to guide food choices but isn’t the answer to everything. What I like about your posts is the care and thought that goes in to each post and your desire to live your best life and you have found what works for you. Personalizing, rather than criticizing, is the best path to good health! Stay well, my blogger friend!

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  4. There is a lot of bad advice on the internet and there are too many fad diets like ketogenic and vegan. The message is only as good as the messenger. Trust the wisdom of Indochina and get health advice from a qualified practitioner of TCM or Ayurveda.

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  5. Hi sir my name is Manav Gaba and i have emailed you apologizing for my blog and also stated the reason. Please read my email and forgive me for that. Please reply to my email as i am feeling guilty about that.
    Thank you sir.

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    1. All is forgiven! I did not post “Should Amateurs Blog About Nutrition?” because I was angry about it, but because I thought it is a valid question.
      I think it is great that a chef is as interested as you are in healthy cooking, and look forward to seeing healthy and delicious recipes on your blog. šŸ™‚

      Like

  6. I’ll be honest, I’ve only ever seen this post by you. But as a nutritionist myself, I do occasionally come across blogs and articles written by non-nutrition trained writers (including those written by medical doctors!) that are full of nonsense. But as “nutritionist” is not a protected title (“dietitian” is), anyone can call themselves a nutritionist with minimal training or education in the nutrition sciences. I personally only get itchy when nonsense is being pedalled, based on the flimsiest of scientific evidence or no science at all. So long as you reference your claims and know how to critique research papers in nutrition, then I don’t see a problem. But many don’t, as nutrition science is fraught with problems and you really do need to understand how the human body works once food is put into it to properly review the science. And I’m sad to say, but – even medical doctors get it wrong, as many dietitians and nutritionists will tell you, because to fully understand nutrition, you have to do a four year degree in the subject and even then you’ll come out with more questions than answers as nutrition is vastly under-researched as there’s little profit in it! So yes, by all means blog, especially if it’s about your own experiences with nutrition – but be super careful with the science, as it’s a bloody minefield!!

    Liked by 1 person

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