Wow I am alarmed by your feature on Super Foods. This is not what a Registered Dietitian (the leading expert/authority on nutrition) would typically consider super foods as. Super Foods (AKA Functional Foods or Nutriceuticals) provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition. They can be naturally occurring in a food like oatmeal which contains beta glucan to reduce cholesterol. Another example the many phytochemicals in fruits/vegetables which have been shown to prevent cancer by neutralizing free radicals. A functional food can be created by enriching or fortifying a different food with the substance that provides health benefits.
The “Doctor” you featured mentioned that there are no are no side effects, just like there are no side effects to garlic. Well sorry to say, this is untrue. For example, garlic would be contraindicated on someone on Coumadin as it can further thin the blood! Also, some of the products Dr. Duncan discussed may not be considered a food, but rather as a “supplement” which does not go through the same FDA review for safety/health. Green coffee bean contains caffeine which does in fact include side effects! Current research on green coffee bean is limited as well. Caffeine in general can cause insomnia, restlessness, stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate, increased respiration. In our society, there is a common trend that if a certain amount is good than more must be better! So, consuming large amounts of caffeine through this supplement may result in headaches, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and irregular heartbeats. Taking in excess caffeine leaches the bones of calcium which is needed to prevent osteoporosis. Those with cardiac health problems or on certain medications may be instructed to only have decaf coffee, therefore this supplement may also be unsafe. In 2010, the FDA issued a “warning letter” to Xenedrine for including a label claim that the green coffee bean extract reduced the amount of carbohydrate absorbed. The FDA concluded that research in humans did not substantiate this claim. I would not recommend products containing green coffee bean extract as there is limited research on its effectiveness in general, in addition to not going through stringent FDA trials/analysis due to marketing as a supplement. Raspberry Ketones are another supplement in this category! Let’s be clear these are not foods and are not well studied for effectiveness as well as safety. To further illustrate my point, do you remember ephedra which was in many weight loss drugs? It wasn’t until serious health effects (heart attack, death) occurred that regulations were made banning the use.
The first step in evaluating a product should include assessing the reliability of the source. If they are funded or receive financial gain as a result of promoting the product, one should question the credibility of the information. If I were selling a supplement and published a study on it or promoted its sale, this would be an alert that I may not provide an unbiased view. Lindsey Duncan sells supplements including the green coffee bean extract that he promotes. I would be cautious with how well he will present an accurate portrayal of the product since it impacts his financial gain. In addition, if only the positives are presented, it raises the question as to whether the person is a credible source of information. Then it is important to evaluate the credentials of the person for credibility. Do they have the expertise in the area? I would like to know more about Lindsey Duncan’s credentials and education to determine this. His background seems vague. I could not determine what education he has gone through to become a Naturopathic Doctor (ND). Only 16 states in the US recognize the credential of ND. ND training includes basic medical diagnostic tests and procedures such as medical imaging and blood tests, as well as vitalism and pseudoscientific modalities such as homeopathy. Some states do view the ND as similar to a primary care physician. The scope of practice which determines what a particular health professional is able to do varies widely based on location, and naturopaths in some unregulated jurisdictions may use the Naturopathic Doctor designation or other titles regardless of level of education. Critics of the ND indicate that “evidence based practice/medicine” is not included in this profession. Meaning that as other professions are moving towards basing recommendations on scientific evidence, naturopathy is not. Now moving on to the letters “CN”. A CN is not a registered dietitian. In some cases it is a “certified nutritionist” whose education include 6 distance learning courses followed by a test. This is not a qualified nutrition professional. Unless a state has licensure over the term “nutritionist” the title can be used without professional expertise. For example, I am a LDN (Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist) because the state of Pennsylvania has established licensure for the term “nutritionist” which prevents unqualified individuals from calling themselves nutritionists. A Registered Dietitian is the professional that can be considered a Nutritionist in Pennsylvania. However, in New Jersey (where I was raised) licensure for the term “nutritionist” has not been passed yet. Technically, a plumber in NJ could hang a sign outside calling himself a “Nutritionist”, so an RD (Registered Dietitian) is the credential to look for when seeking nutrition advice. In Lindsey Duncan’s web introduction, it became evident that he may be using the term “CN” to abbreviate “celebrity nutritionist”. To me, this is highly deceiving.
Going forward, I would strongly urge The View to consult Registered Dietitians with regard to segments on nutrition, weight loss, supplements, etc. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org) can provide you with RDs who are available for such segments as well as a plethora of nutrition information that is evidence based. Some of us are just as congenial as people who are typically featured to sensationalize nutrition.