Why I Won’t Sell Supplements

I earned my RD, or Registered Dietitian credential, in April of 2011.  I had recently finished my internship in Las Vegas and was anticipating the beginning of grad school that fall.  In the mean time, I needed to find a job, and was psyched to put my new credential (and, hopefully, it’s money-making potential) to use.

I applied a few places, and scored an interview with “Big Corporate Gym”, or BCG. This seemed like a good fit for me — I’d worked at the campus gym during college, and was planning to study sports nutrition in graduate school.  I eagerly awaited my scheduled phone interview.

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The first part of the interview that should have sent up a red flag was when the interviewer asked if I would be comfortable working on commission.  I can be shy, and was a brand-new RD, so the idea of selling nutrition counseling sessions was a little scary to me…although, as it turns out, that was NOT what they intended for me to be selling.

Once I found out the role of the RD largely entailed selling BCG’s own brand of supplements, I let the interviewer know I was not comfortable with that.  He seemed fairly surprised, especially when I went on to say that I did not feel comfortable receiving money based on an individual’s purchase of a specific brand of supplement that they may not even need.  The memory that really makes me laugh is when he asked if I truly believed that humans could get ALL the nutrients they needed JUST FROM FOOD. Well, erm, YES.

Needless to say, that concluded the interview.  I want to point out here that I am not anti-supplement.  I have frequently recommended them to individuals based on their personal health status and/or food journals.  I use some supplements myself. When I recommend a supplement, I often try to name a few reputable brands, but I make no money on someone’s utilization of my recommendation.  This allows me to make recommendations I truly feel are in the individual’s best interest.

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I caution consumers to be wary of nutrition and other health professionals that exhort the use of supplements and conveniently have a specific brand available and are willing to tout the benefits of their supplements above others.

If you have thoughts on supplements, health professionals selling supplements, BCGs, and more, I would love to hear them.