We’re back with our latest episode of the Fit Farmer podcast. Co-hosts Shaun Haney and Gary Chambers talk with Kira Sutherland, Australian Naturopath, to talk all things nutrition and the importance of knowing that everyone has different genetic make-up.
To start off, Sutherland goes through the differences between a nutritionist, dietician, and naturopathic nutritionist.
Sutherland says that a nutritionist is what you’d think of as a dietician.
“So that’s university education, government regulation. Dieticians are all in your hospitals. They are in charge of a lot of government policies around foods and food safety. Plus, they are working with clients and also working with athletes. They tend to be the ones in charge of sports teams and big institutes of sport.”
Naturopaths also have educational requirements. In North America, this means an undergrad science degree, and then a doctorate in natural medicine.
“So that’s doing nutrition, herbal medicine, as well as mainstream study. But just looking at more traditional styles of treatment and a lot more going back towards what I would term holistic nutrition principals,” says Sutherland. “So a lot bigger of a dive into the micronutrients and herbs, rather than just looking at the macronutrients. I’m not saying dieticians don’t look at that, but they are very macronutrient focused.”
A holistic nutritionist is a whole new wave of study, says Sutherland, and can be a bit of a grey area depending on what country you are in.
“There are degrees in nutrition without being a dietician, so that’s where some of these people are coming from. And then there are other, shorter, kind of two-year nutrition holistic diplomas that people are practicing basically just nutrition. And I don’t think people in those non-degrees are able to do any supplements. Whereas in Australia, we are a nutrition degree.”
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There are two types of nutrients in your body, macronutrients, and micronutrients. Macronutrients being carbohydrates, proteins, and fats; and micronutrients being vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Sutherland says the big focus of this at the moment goes into genetics and DNA, and how our bodies function.
Often times, when it comes to working out, many of us are focused on what we see on the outside, ignoring the benefits of nutrition on the inside. If we don’t see anything broken or wrong on the inside, we often take their health for granted, which is why Sutherland says they focus on the exterior.
“It’s a lot of groundwork, step by step convincing people how much better they are going to feel. Or you have to sell it with more energy, mental clarity, etc. It’s a baby step process, and not until they give up some of their not-so-great habits — which they were using as a sort of crutch for stress or whatever — do they realize that they actually feel better. But the problem is, true health is quite subtle. It’s not glamorous, and it’s a lot of work, which is why people don’t want to do it.”
Societal trends are another issue in the world of nutrition, especially when they focus on what celebrities are doing, rather than looking at what our own individual body needs.
“The trend that scares me is the plant-based trend. There’s such a push for vegan, and there is a lot of celebrity money behind it. There’s a lot of ‘documentaries’ on Netflix, which if you ask me, aren’t documentaries — they are kind of more like infomercials for some people’s beliefs. If we all ate 70 per cent of our diet from plants — especially vegetables — that would be amazing. But the push to make people vegan… we are all so biologically different. As much as we are all human, some people strive on a plant-based diet or a vegan diet, and other people, its an absolute disaster.”
Sutherland adds that what she wishes more than any trend disappearing, is that “we would have a trend of people going hey, we are all unique, and we need to go back to the individual and see what works for me,” rather than responding to celebrities and taking that as expert advise.