Letter to the Editor: Food not pills. New nutrition store not needed.

By: University instructors  Joan A. Marn, MS, RDN, LDN  Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics and Tania Rivera, MS, RD, LDN, Director, Coordinated Program in Dietetics


This editorial is in response to your June 25, 2014, article “FIU to open nutrition store in new parking


Since there is a nationally accredited and highly science-based Dietetics & Nutrition program on campus administered by the Dept. of Dietetics & Nutrition, we would have liked to have been consulted before EXN Nutrition or any such supplement establishment was allowed to open a store on our campus.

You begin the article addressing the normal, average person who wants to stay in shape by exercising. This is the last person who needs supplements because by extension of a fitness-leaning lifestyle, he/she most often watches what he/she eats.

Current research is showing a move away from popping pills and concentrating on FOOD with a well-balanced diet and moderation in all aspects of eating. Single (or worse, multiple) supplements most often have untoward negative consequences because our bodies evolved to handle food, not pills.

As the article moves to the inside page 7, the conversation shifts to sources of food on campus, not supplements. The University does have many healthy-option restaurants. But in reality, with a basic knowledge in nutrition (which our courses HUN 2000 and/or HUN 2201 provide) everyone can make healthy choices at nearly all restaurants.

Then, the article speaks of scholarships, discounts, and rewards from EXN Nutrition. This may end up enticing someone away from otherwise healthy food choices to leaning towards more supplements which are ALWAYS MORE EXPENSIVE than food.

Only in the last two columns does the article start mentioning athletes with the simplistic statement: “Student athletes will also gain POSSIBLE (our emphasis) advantage to (sic) EXN.” For EXN to “sponsor athletes with supplements and sportswear” is waving an overly enticing red flag in front of the athlete to take supplements instead of eating a well-balanced diet of regular food.

Notice further down in the article when it is stated “90% of [EXN] employees compete and take their (EXN) products, so consumers won’t be receiving tips and information from someone who does not know the product firsthand.”

This only says that they “know their products”; they do not know the health and family history of the person intending to buy their products. There is a nutrition licensure law in FL (and most states), wherein anyone teaching one-on-one nutrition therapy or counseling for specific health-related issues is in violation and will be prosecuted.

Any buyer of any product should note that supplement stores have a self-serving interest in SELLING their products, not about how healthy you end up. It takes a thorough nutrition history and analysis by a Registered Dietitian to know what nutrients are low (or too high) in an individual and how nutrients interact with each other, and then to counsel the client on it.

We believe that the University is “playing with fire” in allowing this for-profit supplement company to open its doors on campus.




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