Nutrition Expert vs Quack: Here's How to identify them In Nigeria

Joseph Mmeyene Victory, Nutritionist and Founder of VICOFOP

By  Joseph Mmeyene Victory
(Nutritionist and Founder of VICOFOP)

In Nigeria today, most people turn to medical doctors or other health care professionals for dietary advice, expecting them to know all about health-related issues. Some even go as far as receiving dietary advice from unprofessional that have not gotten any educational background necessary to deliver reliable nutrition advice and care.

When you need a sound dietary advice, whom should you ask? 

Most health care professional appreciate the link between health and nutrition, those who have specialized in clinical nutrition are well qualified to speak on the subject. Few, however, have the time or experience to plan a diet and offer detailed dietary advice for clients. Often they wisely, make referrals to a qualified nutrition expert.

The big question is Who Is A Qualified Nutrition Expert?

A qualified nutrition expert must be knowledgeable in the science of nutrition and dietetics. They include:

- Registered Dietitian(RD)/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist(RDN):
A person who has completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics at an accredited university or college and has undergone a one year dietetic internship, taken and passed the national registration examination for dietitians and maintain up-to-date knowledge and registration by participating in required continuing education activities such as attending seminars, taking courses etc. a RD/RDN is a typical credential to work in the medical/health care field. It signifies professional competence.

- Certified Nutritionist:
A person who has completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics at an accredited university or college and is yet to undergo the one year dietetic internship, and to take the national registration exam.
A certified nutritionist is not licensed to work in the medical/clinical field, but has employment opportunities in other areas of food and nutrition.

In contrast to this, many people possess fake nutrition degrees and claim to be nutrition consultants or doctors of “nutrimedicine”, they lack the established requirements/credentials according to the nutrition and dietetic body in Nigeria.

If you look closely you will see signs of fake expertise. Consider educational background, a fake nutrition expert may display a six-month correspondence course such a degree simply falls short, also they sound too good to be true, and promise a quick fix what I call miracle.
By knowing what qualifies someone to speak on nutrition consumers can determine whether that person’s advice might be helpful or harmful.