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  • Anyone here studying nutrition?

    I have to decide what to study at uni next year and I'm considering studying nutrition because I find it interesting, but at most universities here, chemistry is a pre-requisite and I don't even understand the most basic chemistry because I never really thought I'd need it. I've found a couple of places that don't require chem but of course it'll still be involved in the course. So to anyone who is studying/has studied nutrition, I have 2 questions:
    1. How much chem do I really need to know and should I be trying to learn it before I start the course (if I do it)?
    2. I know of 2 universities that don't have chemistry as a pre-requisite. One of them is quite small and alternative and specialises in natural health. The other one is relatively large and doesn't really specialise in anything. If I'm going to work as some sort of nutritionist when I'm older, would employers be more interested in hiring me if I went to the smaller, specialised uni, or the bigger, much more well-known, non-specialised uni?

  • #2
    I'm in NZ, so our uni is similar to yours. If they're good unis, you'll have biochemistry in your first year at the very least. I wouldn't really want to go into biochemistry with no chemical background to be honest. I have done first year chemistry, biology and biochemistry but found the biology & chemistry on their own easier than the biochemistry. The biochemistry is all about metabolic pathways (if you've done bio you'll know about the enzyme lock and keys etc, and the chemistry side of it is about gradients and ions and various reactions) and I do think it'd be hard to learn all of that AS WELL as trying to pick up on the background bio and chem that others will already have, giving them an advantage.

    I work with a nurse who was studying nutrition and dropped out (and became a nurse, lol) because she couldn't pass the chemistry component of the nutrition degree.

    As well, a secondary thing to consider is that all you're going to be taught is mainstream CW. Obviously you're on this website so potentially don't believe in mainstream nutrition, are you sure you want it shoved down your throat in class every day?

    As for the employer thing... it's almost impossible to tell. I have worked in HR before and when hiring, the university someone went to usually is not a huge consideration, unless it's a highly prestigious or demanded role. Well-known uni's are arguably better for overseas opportunities though, and I'm always wary of any small institution that specialises in something like "natural health"... ironic given that I'm on this website but it is how I feel.

    This is one of the first things they'll likely teach you in biochemistry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1DjTM1qnPM
    To give you an idea of the kind of chemistry. It's not exactly in detail but you'd want to know what oxidation is, what an ion gradient is and what it does, what an iso- is, how the molecules are "re-arranging" themselves, all that kinda stuff. So it's th background of the content, rather than being the actual content itself
    Last edited by nixxy; 08-01-2012, 03:48 AM.
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    • #3
      Not only will they make you take chemistry, they might make you take organic chemistry. Universities like to use hard courses to weed students out. Organic chem and physics are notoriously hard classes.

      But in general, ribbons, I'm not sure primals should study nutrition at all. You'll have to spew back conventional wisdom crap just to pass the tests. For years. And then as a nutritionist, you'll probably have to live within the system and recommend CW to your patients. Can you do that?

      As for universities, I've been to a few, big and small (American). I always recommend the larger one. Small schools like to sell you on "personal attention," but it's bunk. Personal attention means that you're one of a few students in the major. Sounds like a great idea if you're on their good side. BUT on the flip side, if you have an issue with a faculty member, or get into a fight with one of your classmates, you're stuck with them all four years. The conflict WILL affect your grades.

      At a larger school, you can hide, or run away to find other mentors and friends. Also, larger school have more students, more study groups, more clubs to join, more help centers, more class sections, and more majors in case you change your major.

      As for jobs and stuff, at least in America, people tend to rate how good the school is by the basketball team.
      5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.

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      • #4
        I have a degree in nutrition that is useless unless I get my Master's and become an Registered Dietitian which I am thinking about doing even if I have to go through studying CW... maybe as an RD I can help make a change. Right now I am drowning in student loans that mean nothing so I need to take it all the way. I wouldn't advise anyone to study nutrition unless you have clear plan. It's impossible to get a job in the US unless you are an RD or someone like Mark who writes his own book/blog.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nixxy View Post
          I'm in NZ, so our uni is similar to yours. If they're good unis, you'll have biochemistry in your first year at the very least. I wouldn't really want to go into biochemistry with no chemical background to be honest. I have done first year chemistry, biology and biochemistry but found the biology & chemistry on their own easier than the biochemistry. The biochemistry is all about metabolic pathways (if you've done bio you'll know about the enzyme lock and keys etc, and the chemistry side of it is about gradients and ions and various reactions) and I do think it'd be hard to learn all of that AS WELL as trying to pick up on the background bio and chem that others will already have, giving them an advantage.

          I work with a nurse who was studying nutrition and dropped out (and became a nurse, lol) because she couldn't pass the chemistry component of the nutrition degree.

          As well, a secondary thing to consider is that all you're going to be taught is mainstream CW. Obviously you're on this website so potentially don't believe in mainstream nutrition, are you sure you want it shoved down your throat in class every day?

          As for the employer thing... it's almost impossible to tell. I have worked in HR before and when hiring, the university someone went to usually is not a huge consideration, unless it's a highly prestigious or demanded role. Well-known uni's are arguably better for overseas opportunities though, and I'm always wary of any small institution that specialises in something like "natural health"... ironic given that I'm on this website but it is how I feel.

          This is one of the first things they'll likely teach you in biochemistry: Citric Acid Cycle - YouTube
          To give you an idea of the kind of chemistry. It's not exactly in detail but you'd want to know what oxidation is, what an ion gradient is and what it does, what an iso- is, how the molecules are "re-arranging" themselves, all that kinda stuff. So it's th background of the content, rather than being the actual content itself
          Thanks nixxy! I think the first semester includes both biochemistry and chemistry, and I was thinking of getting some high school chemistry text books and teaching myself the basics so I won't be completely lost. I did biology up to year 12 as well so I vaguely remember how enzymes and cells and stuff work. I'm doing health at school and earlier this year we were learning about nutrition and it really was painful to have to listen to my teacher lecture the class about how important it is to consume lots of low-fat dairy and whole grains. Somehow I still enjoyed learning about nutrition in general though, and there isn't really anything else I want to study.
          Also thanks for the youtube video
          Originally posted by oxide View Post
          Not only will they make you take chemistry, they might make you take organic chemistry. Universities like to use hard courses to weed students out. Organic chem and physics are notoriously hard classes.

          But in general, ribbons, I'm not sure primals should study nutrition at all. You'll have to spew back conventional wisdom crap just to pass the tests. For years. And then as a nutritionist, you'll probably have to live within the system and recommend CW to your patients. Can you do that?

          As for universities, I've been to a few, big and small (American). I always recommend the larger one. Small schools like to sell you on "personal attention," but it's bunk. Personal attention means that you're one of a few students in the major. Sounds like a great idea if you're on their good side. BUT on the flip side, if you have an issue with a faculty member, or get into a fight with one of your classmates, you're stuck with them all four years. The conflict WILL affect your grades.

          At a larger school, you can hide, or run away to find other mentors and friends. Also, larger school have more students, more study groups, more clubs to join, more help centers, more class sections, and more majors in case you change your major.

          As for jobs and stuff, at least in America, people tend to rate how good the school is by the basketball team.
          I don't think I even want to know what organic chemistry is - it sounds hard lol.
          The smaller uni seems more open-minded which is why I thought it might be better for me because I went on their twitter and nearly everyone who goes there is either vegan or paleo. But I can also see why employers might look down on that, so maybe the bigger uni is better. Also you make a good point about how I'd be stuck with the same people the whole time and I'd have less choices.
          Originally posted by healthy11 View Post
          I have a degree in nutrition that is useless unless I get my Master's and become an Registered Dietitian which I am thinking about doing even if I have to go through studying CW... maybe as an RD I can help make a change. Right now I am drowning in student loans that mean nothing so I need to take it all the way. I wouldn't advise anyone to study nutrition unless you have clear plan. It's impossible to get a job in the US unless you are an RD or someone like Mark who writes his own book/blog.
          Thanks, I was thinking of getting my Master's if I ever get good enough at science because dietitians always seem to earn much more money than nutritionists and are taken more seriously. I have no plan though. I have no idea what I'm going to do but I have to decide on something soon and there isn't really anything else I'm all that interested in.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ribbons View Post
            Thanks, I was thinking of getting my Master's if I ever get good enough at science because dietitians always seem to earn much more money than nutritionists and are taken more seriously. I have no plan though. I have no idea what I'm going to do but I have to decide on something soon and there isn't really anything else I'm all that interested in.
            Same here... nutrition is my passion. Sometimes I try to get away from it because it's frustrating, but I always come back to it. Guess you can't get away from what you are meant to do even it's it rough along the way, huh? Make sure you find out what's required in Australia to get your license and you'll be on the right track. I was mislead and didn't do my own research. If I had chosen the right school from the start I wouldn't have had to get my Master's and would have saved a lot of money, although maybe I would have gotten my Master's anyway. Things happen for a reason, I believe. Best of luck to you. We need licensed Nutritionists and Registered Dietitians who believe in this way of eating to really make changes!

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            • #7
              I'm a Nutritional Therapist & RN

              I am a nutritional therapist and RN. I began my career as an RN and became frustrated with conventional medicine and the neglect to focus on simple lifestyle behaviors as the root cause of disease. So I went back to school and became a nutritional therapist. The chemistry is not so bad however I thought nursing school in itself was like boot camp compared to nutrition. If you have the drive and motivation it is a wonderful career.
              I continue to work as a nurse part time and I see clients one on one for nutritional therapy. The primary goal I have with people is looking at -what is at the core of the eating behavior? People can have all the Primal/Paleo Dietary information but breaking the cycle of years of patterned eating is the biggest challenge.
              I love what I do. It is my passion.....So REWARDING
              I have always worked with people on taking gluten out but in the last 4-5 years really focused on elimination of all grains as I became serious about it myself and saw the amazing results.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by AnnieJames View Post
                I am a nutritional therapist and RN. I began my career as an RN and became frustrated with conventional medicine and the neglect to focus on simple lifestyle behaviors as the root cause of disease. So I went back to school and became a nutritional therapist. The chemistry is not so bad however I thought nursing school in itself was like boot camp compared to nutrition. If you have the drive and motivation it is a wonderful career.
                I continue to work as a nurse part time and I see clients one on one for nutritional therapy. The primary goal I have with people is looking at -what is at the core of the eating behavior? People can have all the Primal/Paleo Dietary information but breaking the cycle of years of patterned eating is the biggest challenge.
                I love what I do. It is my passion.....So REWARDING
                I have always worked with people on taking gluten out but in the last 4-5 years really focused on elimination of all grains as I became serious about it myself and saw the amazing results.
                How did you become a Nutritional Therapist Annie?

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                • #9
                  I didn't study nutrition, but I found first year gen'l chem to be a bitch. Once I got to biochem and organic chem, everything made sense.

                  "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life." I don't know who said that, but I wish I'd known it way back when.
                  "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

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                  Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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