When it comes to health experts and fitness gurus, sometimes it’s hard to sort out who the really good ones are, and who the really bad ones are.  Add in the new boom of online personal training and nutrition coaches and you have no idea who is really giving you advice.  Hopefully after this article you will have a better understanding of how to find the good ones and how to avoid the frauds and fakes.  What you put in your body is perhaps the most important variable of your life.  It can effect almost every aspect of your life from health, wellbeing, longevity, and even state of mind.  Don’t trust your nutrition to just anyone.

What about the guy at the local supplement store? He is a sports nutritionist…

Probably the least credible certification out there is the sports nutritionist.  While it may sound important because it is called “sport”, the reality is that it just limits the information to things revolved around exercise.  These programs require little to no real knowledge of nutritional programming or metabolic functions.  As you can see in the video above, it really doesn’t take much to get certified by some associations.   A manual with 20 pages of outdated nutritional information followed by a test that is largely true or false hardly qualifies someone to give anyone nutritional advice.  Some franchise health and supplement chains have their own programs which are un-regulated and serve mainly as a training process on selling their products.  There is almost no teaching about what is in the products, the health implications, or any understanding of nutritional needs.  These programs are simply designed so that the employees can use fancy words to sell products that are probably not good for you.

What about a RD/registered dietician or CCN/certified clinical nutritionist

There are good and bad RD’s and CCN’s.  I prefer the CCN over the RD because the information taught is much better in my opinion.  It follows a more functional health mind set.  There are some RD’s who have quite an extended education beyond their university teachings, but the base program is very outdated though.  Both of these programs require a structured education base, and real testing for competency.  So at least you know people with these certifications have spent time on their education.  Other programs that I think are good are the BioSignature program by Charles Poliquin and the Precision Nutrition Certification program by John Berardi.  If you are looking for someone to help you with supplements and weight loss, a BioSignature Practitioner is hands down your best option.   In no instance is a personal trainer a qualified nutritionist without having further credentials and in many states it’s actually illegal for individuals without proper qualifications to give nutritional advice.


Biosignature takes nutritional information one step further and uses food and supplements to address hormones that are important for fat loss and muscle gain.  It’s not a program for serious health issues unless the practitioner also has a higher education in nutrition, but if improving body composition is your goal, it’s definitely the most effective approach.

Here is a check list for what a good nutrition program should have:

  • It’s about quality foods, not counting quantities like calories and points
  • It should focus on organic whole foods
  • It should be void of sugar, gluten, and processed foods
  • You shouldn’t be taking any supplements that are artificially sweetened, colored, or preserved.
  • It should be about controlling your hormones like insulin and cortisol
  • It should be high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants
  • It should follow these guidelines

If you find yourself unsure about a nutritionist online, check to see that they have a physical location, and credentials that you can look up.  For instance a BioSignature Practitioner can be found on the Find a Coach, portion of the Poliquin website, so that you know they are actually certified.  Any certification program without an online directory or registry probably is not credible.  If it is someone in person, ask what their nutritional philosophies are or ask a current client of theirs.  In terms of weight or fat loss results, nutrition can be responsible for up to 80% of your success, so hiring the right progressional to assist you can be the key to achieving the results you are looking for.  It also never hurts to subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook, so you can keep educating yourself as well.