Including “the world’s largest nutrition school”
Describing themselves thusly, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) boasts 25,000 graduates from all 50 states and 90 countries around the world. But what exactly are they teaching? It depends on which one of their twenty-four experts is doing the talking.
Upon first discovering their website and seeing that three of my highly-respected plant-based colleagues were on their list of experts, I initially thought that the IIN would be a good place for me to help spread the word and further promote our book. But, the more I learned about them, the more skeptical I became.
After reviewing my concerns with Dr. T. Colin Campbell, I decided to write a blog on this subject—and Colin told me that he would like to contribute a comment within that blog. (His statement included below)
But first I wanted to reach out to some of the IIN experts who had endorsed my book. Maybe they were seeing something that I wasn’t seeing. So I sent this note to several of them:
Dear fellow plant-based enthusiast and author:
I am writing you today about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I am a bit confused about what they are really teaching and what they expect their graduates to teach to their future clients. There seems to be a great deal of contradiction among their experts. The panel of 24 people on the website ranges from Dukan, Agatston, Sears and Fallon on one end of the spectrum to three people on the other end who have endorsed our book: Barnard, Fuhrman and Lyman.
I recently spoke with a young woman who is in her first year of the IIN program. When I asked her how the students are supposed to know which “guru” to follow, she said that she really didn’t know. So how is she supposed to counsel her clients when she becomes a “certified health coach?” What does certification from the “world’s largest nutrition school” really mean? With so much contradiction within their curriculum, it almost seems that the graduates are “certified to be confused about nutrition”—at least as far as promoting health is concerned. Best regards, J. Morris Hicks
My inquiry to them yielded only one response—“that I had raised some very good points,” but provided no further explanation. So, I spoke with Dr. Campbell again and decided to write this blog.
Highly profitable venture. My suspicion is that the IIN is a powerful money-maker. With 25,000 graduates at about $5,000 each, that adds up to a tidy $125 million of revenue over the past twenty years. And with a mostly-electronic delivery model, I would imagine that a big chunk of that fortune flows directly to the bottom line.
Where are Mr. Rosenthal’s credentials? You would think that the “founder, director and principal teacher” of the world’s largest nutrition school would provide a detailed summary of his educational background as well as his entire career. This is all I found on his extensive website.
Joshua Rosenthal has been working in the nutrition field for over 25 years and is the driving force behind the school. His experience spans the fields of curriculum development, personal coaching, business and nutritional counseling. He is an insightful healer whose simple approach allows people to quickly and successfully reach new levels of health and happiness. He is also the author of “Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health & Happiness.”
I read somewhere that he has a masters of science degree in education, specializing in counseling. Why is there no mention of his educational background on the IIN website? Could it be that the head of the world’s largest nutrition school has had no formal training in nutrition? Also curious that he has no page on Wikipedia.
My Bottom Line. All of us are either part of the solution or we are a part of the problem. And in my opinion:
Confusion is a major problem. Clarity is the obvious solution.
At the IIN, the student is exposed to diametrically opposite points of view and is somehow expected to sort through it all and decide how to counsel their clients once they become certified. Perhaps their certificate should read:
Mary Jones is hereby certified by the world’s largest nutrition school to be thoroughly confused about nutrition. After learning from a panel of experts who disagree on everything, she will now venture forth with her IIN certificate to join the overall “confusion over clarity” emphasis that exists in our dysfunctional “system” of helping the citizens of the world learn what they should be eating.
Bonus Video. A picture is worth a thousand words, and this video says it all. Featuring several of the plant-based experts on the IIN panel alongside at least two of the meat-based members of the same panel—this 2-minute video may help the IIN students decide which “guru” they should be following.
Statement about IIN from Dr. T. Colin Campbell
I lectured to a live IIN audience in New York City about six years ago and, subsequently, my lecture remained on the IIN website for a few years, only recently coming to my attention that it was still there (I therefore requested that they remove it and this has been done).
Although the audience for my lecture was welcoming and quite interested, I found the program’s mission to be most disquieting. My reason for giving the lecture was because a former student of mine at Cornell had signed up for the course a year before and was very confused with the purpose of the lecture series. She, in turn, worked to have me invited.
The speaker roster included a mixture of professionals and non-professionals, some of whom had serious conflicts of interests and some of whom pretended to be authorities when they were not. There is no question that there is a great need for public nutrition information but I strongly believe that this program does more harm than good.
Even though the enrollment fee for the course was exceptionally high, a surprising number of students were nonetheless enrolling, suggesting to me an intense interest in this topic. On the basis of the information that I had at the time, there is no way that this course should receive professional recognition in the teaching of the relationship of diet, nutrition and health. The fact that the students are led to believe that they are credentialed in this subject is a disgrace.
I am very much sensitive to the public’s participation and interest in this topic but enrolling in this lecture series is, in my opinion, a huge waste of time and money.
T. Colin Campbell (July 5, 2012)
Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus
of Nutritional Biochemistry
- Dr. Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Course at Cornell posted in 2011
- Another independent review of IIN by Stephen Barrett, MD. I spoke with Dr. Barrett before writing this blog.
- Link to IIN: Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a very “slick” website that is 100% about selling their $5,000 program.
- Another independent review about the IIN (and its relationship with now defunct, Clayton College)
- Not much money to be made in the “health” business; most of the money is made in the “disease” business. Earning a living as a health coach can be difficult…
Looking for clarity and integrity in your nutritional training? Click on the banner at the end of this blog. The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies has partnered with eCornell, a division of Cornell University to provide this powerful online course in plant-based nutrition—now available all over the world. About 25% of the students are medical doctors who earn CME credits. I earned my certificate in November of 2010.
Ready for a hefty dose of Clarity? For less than $60, you can take charge of your health now and affect the health of your family for generations to come:
Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
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