Thursday, December 10, 2009

State of the Nutritionist

2009 in Review.

Three topics dominated the public health landscape:

  1. H1N1 (Swine) Flu.
    While the story is still playing itself out, it has been nine months and H1N1 is no more virulent than the seasonal flu, even less so, according to most experts.
  2. Health Care Reform.
    Of the $2.2 trillion we spend on health care in the US, $660 billion is spent on hospital care, $462 billion on doctors, and $220 billion on drugs. Where is the piece of the pie for prevention? When we asked this question, the White house wrote back and basically referred us to Forty percent of the nation pays out-of-pocket for complementary and integrative therapies. A recent survey found that 71 percent of Americans favored more investment in disease prevention and 44 percent in prevention. 96 percent of primary care physicians believe that treating and managing chronic disease should focus on nutrition. However, 80 percent refrain from addressing it due to the lack of reimbursement for nutrition services. While studies continue to prove the best way for improving the health is diet and lifestyle, disease-driven care dominates this legislation. The bottom line is: Big Pharma and Health Insurance lobbies are too powerful to accomplish sweeping reform.

  3. Wellness and Prevention.
    Despite the lack of reimbursement and a horrible economic year with many Americans cutting back, statistics show that prevention and wellness are thriving. Confidence in dietary supplements is at an all-time high. Whether by necessity or choice, many are shunning medications and surgical procedures and taking responsibility for their health via diet and lifestyle changes. If our clients are an indicator of what can occur with continued vigilance in adhering to a healthy diet and lifestyle, then Nutritional Concepts should be a model for the rest of the country. In a “Lifestyle Habits” survey performed earlier this year, our clients were asked if they adhered to five healthy lifestyle habits: exercise at least twelve times monthly, eat five or more fruits and vegetables daily, maintain a healthy weight (BMI of 30 or less), mild alcohol use, and no smoking. To our delight, 75% answered yes and 25% said no. Any public health professional in this country would salivate at those numbers.

Wellness Victories.
It is always makes me proud to see wellness principles that I have touted forever become mainstream.

  • Mediterranean-style cuisine that balances lean protein, carbohydrates that are lower in gluten grains and higher in fruits and vegetables, as well as heart healthy fats, is preferred for a healthy human population.
  • Probiotics, Omega-3’s, and vitamin D are now part of standard medical vernacular because their positive effects on overall health cannot be ignored.
  • As predicted in last year’s issue, stevia has exploded onto grocery store shelves and is eating up artificial sweeteners’ market share.
  • Researchers finally admit that currently, the only effective method to treat Alzheimer’s disease is prevention through diet and lifestyle modification. Furthermore, the increased use of anti-psychotics has caused numerous unnecessary deaths.
  • Experts now tout foods that act as pain relievers. Does anyone recall when I published my Pain Relief Diet Action Plan? This is real old news!
  • Antibiotic use is down 25 percent, confirming that a much-maligned public health campaign is finally producing results.
  • As I alluded to in last year’s issue, scientists have confirmed that genetic analysis is essentially useless in predicting a person's risk of cancer, heart attack or other common diseases. Rather, it is how genes are expressed through diet and lifestyle (Epigenetics) where scientists will be focusing future research.
  • Closest to my heart were numerous studies confirming that meeting frequently with a nutrition/dietary professional should be treated as importantly as meeting with your primary care physician.

The Battles Still Rage On.

  • While the number of children on antidepressants and attention deficit medication has dropped, 1 in 10 Americans still take antidepressants. ADHD med use has expanded to college students and adults who want to maintain focus on less sleep.
  • The luster is wearing off on exotic superfruits such as acai, mangosteen, and goji. However, there are more in the pipeline: baobab, breadfruit, chupa chupa, jackfruit, maqui, miracle berry, and yumberry. Like other industries, supplement companies have to continually come up with the “next big thing.” My advice: stick with berries and pomegranate.
  • Despite public outcry, few restaurants disclose the ingredients and caloric/nutrient content in their dishes. Getting them to print this information on menus is even further away. The National Restaurant Association is a powerful lobby. They know that if the public were to see the amount of fat, sodium, carbohydrates, and cholesterol on restaurant menus, they would go ballistic. Check out the shocking numbers on PF Chang’s website.
  • Despite numerous studies discouraging healthy persons from taking aspirin as a preventative, it is still one off the most common recommendations doctors make to their patients.
  • Finally, while the new regime at the FDA is making progress, prescription drugs and immunizations are still being approved and consumed by the pubic well before their safety has been established. Based upon the billions paid in recent injury and off-label marketing settlements, Big Pharma has not exactly built up trust with the American people.
-->Vitamin K. While it will not come close to the kind of heat vitamin D has garnered, vitamin K will be the next under-appreciated vitamin to receive its due. We will break down vitamin K in one of our early 2010 eNewsletters. What Did We Accomplish in 2009?
Bonnie privately counseled over 350 new clients. We consulted for several local school districts, creating and implementing Wellness Plans. We have published 23 Action Plans to date, including the newest installments: Best of the Mediterranean, Improve Your Mood, and Sports Nutrition Optimized. We posted a record 650 blog entries and emailed 30 eNewsletters. Our eNewsletter reaches 3000 subscribers. We are on Facebook and Twitter. Our Far Infrared Sauna continues to provide valuable healing for many of our clients’ maladies. Our continued effort to provide a wide variety of high quality, effective, and price sensitive dietary supplements makes it very easy for our clients to adhere to their daily regimen.

What's in Store for 2010?
It is hard to believe that we are celebrating our 25th year in business. Many of you have been with us from the beginning. Whether or not you have utilized our services recently, it is an exciting time for us. We have a plethora of exciting activities and prizes planned this year to celebrate our quadrennial. To receive notices throughout the year, you must register to receive our eNewsletter, check our website monthly, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Work With a Dietary Professional.
    Nothing is more important than diet. Having a trusted expert by your side to help navigate the dietary peaks and valleys is paramount. The first order of business for 2010: get you and your family’s nutrition and wellness goals in order with a consultation. You should fine-tune your diet, supplements, and blood work every year minimum. Research says that you should visit your nutritionist as often as you visit your primary care physician. For many, that may mean 2-4 times per year. A consult early in the year sets the tone for a very successful and productive 2010.
  • Truth in Advertising, Labeling.
    After the Cocoa Krispies fiasco, where Kellogg had to remove language on its boxed cereal claiming to “boost childhood immunity,” the government is stepping up its efforts to crack down on manufacturers misrepresenting their products. The FDA is creating its own front-of-pack labeling system because many manufacturers have created their own, thus confusing the consumer and allowing for a wide interpretation of what is considered healthful.
  • GMOs and Pesticides Are “On the Clock.”
    A ruling barring Monsanto from growing genetically modified beets may be a barometer of what is to come regarding GMOs. While it is impossible to remove GMO crops already in the food supply, most of which do not have proper safety studies, we can prevent new ones from being introduced. The USDA has promised to take a harder look. The Obama administration’s announcement that a 33-year-old law governing how the Environmental Protection Agency controls toxic chemicals is inadequate to protect Americans is a major first step.
  • Eat for Longevity.
    You’ll be hearing this phrase a lot in 2010, especially after a recent study found that subjects with the best diets reduced their risk of death by up to 25 percent over a 10-year period. What better impetus could there be to eat well?
  • Good Manufacturing Practices for Dietary Supplements (cGMP) go into effect for all dietary supplement manufacturers. This directive has already weeded out some of the large “bad apples” that adulterate or skimp on quality in their products. Now some of the small and medium players will have to “shape up or ship out.” Vitamin K. While it will not come close to the kind of heat vitamin D has garnered, vitamin K will be the next under-appreciated vitamin to receive its due. We will break down vitamin K in one of our early 2010 eNewsletters.

Has Nutritional Concepts Improved Your Life?
We encourage you to post your story on our client comment "Wall," send us an email, or write a letter.

Come Celebrate with us January 7th!
To thank you for your continued support, we have set aside a day for Client Appreciation. It is the actual 25th birthday of our incorporation. Share food, fun, prizes, free gifts, and of course, plenty of nutrition and wellness advice. Please Make Your Reservation Here.

Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday & New Year,

Bonnie, Steve, Carolyn, Sharron, and Lilo

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