Thursday, February 24, 2011

Biochemistry for Artists?

We decided to order a biochemistry text book to read. I know, most people don't read biochemistry text books for fun, but then, we're not really like other people. I read the first chapter last night on amino acids, and was wishing that I remembered more of the one chemistry class that I had years ago, and that I had taken more of them. Luckily mum-in-law has a master's degree in Mycology... I'm relying on her to explain some of what I read LOL

I realized reading it, that most "professionals" that are telling you what to eat, don't know anything about biochemistry. And the prime example, is registered dietitians. I always thought that most people who became registered dietitians did so because they couldn't hack it in a real college. I figured most of them were beauty school dropouts. I suppose it just seems that way. They do have to have a four year degree and pass an exam, but there doesn't seem to be any standards about how many science classes they take, or if they even have to have an understanding of biochemistry. It seems they can have a four year degree in food service management with just the minimal science classes required to graduate with a bachelor's degree, and become one. I'm sorry, but there's something wrong with that.

Registered dietitians used to have the job of taking the orders of patients in hospitals for what they wanted to eat for their meals. Now, registered dietitians tell you what you should eat, with little or no understanding of biochemistry or the roles of fats and cholesterol in the VITAL FUNCTIONING OF CELLS. When you listen to dietitians, you're letting someone with an inadequate education and understanding of human biological processes tell you what to eat. You don't let your hairdresser perform brain surgery on you. Listening to a registered dietitian about what you should eat, is for lack of a better word, stupid.

It ought to be that anyone who wants to dispense dietary advice as a "professional" have a degree in biochemistry. Otherwise, they don't understand what they're advocating. If registered dietitians had biochemistry degrees, they wouldn't tell you that fat is bad for you.


  1. Registered dieticians simply regurgitate what they were fed. In all fairness however, I am guilty of the same. As a young man, I was very proud of my pharmacy degree, but in hindsight, I also regurgitated what I was taught. I simply accepted everything I read in my testbooks. Later in my life I earned a chemical engineering degree and I started to view science a little bit differently. The most valuable lesson I learned in engineering school wasn't thermodynamics or fluid mechanics, but critical analysis. What do I really know versus what do I think I know.

    Every doctor I've known is great on logic but very weak on quantitative analysis. None would know how to read a medical study and map out all the areas of uncertainty. Most of the studies I read in medical and research journals overstate their findings. The introduction of each study is basically a statement about the researchers biases and prejudices. The results are where they discuss how their results meet their biases. What I really find amusing is when the results do match their expectations. It's fun to watch how they try to explain away the discrepancies.

    Asking Registered Dieticians and doctors to re-evaluate their professional opinions is asking a lot. With certainty comes emotional assurance. Most find the idea that a lot of what they were taught was deeply flawed too disturbing. It's much easier to stick with the pack.

    I no longer expect health care professionals to understand my philosophy to nutrition. Changing a mindset is difficult work. I remember how angry I felt when reading "Good calories, bad calories". My simplistic world view was taken away, only to be replaced with a wonderment that I had finally found an explanation that made sense.

    I am eternally grateful to blogs like yours that provides a channel for those seeking truly useful information. Keep up the good work.

  2. "Most find the idea that a lot of what they were taught was deeply flawed too disturbing."

    And this is why I say that it's almost like a religion to people. They don't want what they believe to be wrong, so much that they'll ignore evidence to the contrary.

    Sorry it took me so long to publish your comment. I was out of town for one day, was whooped when I got back, and got sidetracked after and didn't check in :)