David Getoff is a nationally board certified Clinical Nutritionist and Traditional Naturopath. He has been in private practice for 20 years and has a 2-3 month waiting list for new patients.
David developed and has been teaching a course entitled Attaining Optimal Health for the past 15+ years and his classes fill up to capacity, every semester, often many weeks before they begin.
He is board certified in integrative medicine, is a Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine and is the vice president of the internationally renowned non-profit Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation in Southern California.
David is an elected member of the American College of Nutrition and he has produced over a dozen– one to three hour long educational DVD’s on topics including: cancer, diabetes, detoxification, healthy eating and emotional problems in children.
He lectures at medical, nutritional, dental, and organic food conferences around the country as well as conferences for the general public and he has been a guest on numerous broadcast and web based radio shows. David is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Thank you, David, for the interview.
Here is the recorded version, but you are also welcome to read it below:
What made—what made you interested in learning about nutrition?
What made me interested was a course I tool back in the ‘70s in New York at the New School for Social Research which was a college in New York City. They’re probably still there in Manhattan. And the course was taught by Robert Geller who’s a medical doctor. It was entitled, if I remember correctly, “Nutrition against Disease”. And it just opened my eyes because he was treating his patients with all sorts of different conditions and he was doing the same things with all of them. He was teaching them what healthy eating was. He was testing them for all sorts of allergies in a special manner in his office, not the blood test which was very inaccurate. Some blood tests are inaccurate, some are not. And he was doing hair analysis which was a little controversial to decide what minerals they were low in if they had a bunch of heavy metals. And he taught us all about that in a 16-week college course which I took for non-credit, just for fun. And it just got me so interested from that point on. I never stopped learning. I read all of Adelle Davis’ books. I subscribed to Let’s Live magazine. And then, later in life while I was doing other occupations, I kept learning. I got the point where I’d see a seminar somewhere in something interesting and I will just go take it. And that’s what got me interested. And now I’ve been doing this fulltime for about 20 years and I’ve spent huge amounts of money going to educational seminars and conferences. The only difference between the conferences I attended today and the ones that I attended maybe 15, 20 years ago actually many of them are the same, is being with the experts that’s recognized now. A lot of conferences actually fly me in and I am one of the lecturers at conferences that before I had to pay to attend.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules which can freely donate an electron to quench an oxidating or an oxidizing molecule. In other words, a molecule which wants to cause oxidation; is generally a molecule which is missing an electron or more in one of its outer shells and it grabs an electron from some other substance thereby oxidizing it and harming it. So, an anti-oxidant is a molecule which can donate that electron to quench that other substance to stop it from being an oxidizing substance and turn it neutral without itself becoming something that’s damaged. That way if—we can call it an anti-oxidant because it reduces, prevents, slows down the oxidation damage caused by this other molecule. But doesn’t itself become a damaging molecule. Otherwise, it won’t be helping anything.
What are some of the anti-oxidants found in fruit?
Probably the main one, even though there isn’t much there, would be vitamin C. Vitamin C is very unstable in liquid form and somehow however, it’s made stable when the fruit is attached to the plant of the tree. But if you picked an orange within 24 hours after you picked it, it is lost 50 percent of its vitamin C content. That’s been shown in a number of little trials. And so, since you’ve never had orange that’s only 24 hours old, unless you own an orange tree, most people will only buy an orange in the store, it probably was picked anywhere from a week ago to a month ago and sitting in refrigeration which does not help because even if refrigerated it loses 50 percent of its vitamin C. But nonetheless, the main anti-oxidant in fruit is probably still vitamin C. I’m sure there are a lot of anti-oxidants in there. That’s the one that comes to mind first.
A lot of people would say, for example, that there’s vitamin A in a lot of fruit like in red peppers, orange peppers, some things that are not fruit like carrots, peppers are actually fruit although people think of them, they think of them as vegetables. But that’s not true because vitamin A is not in fact available in the plant kingdom. There isn’t one single molecule of vitamin A in any fruit or any vegetable. It simply does not exist there. Vitamin A is only found in animal foods where it’s concentrated in the liver of animals. What’s found in the fruit and vegetables is a molecule called Beta-carotene or other carotenoids. And the body may or may not be able change some of it into vitamin A, depending on how your body is working but that’s an unknown. And the percentage of conversion can be very low. So, only Beta-carotene and only carotenoids are in fruit. There is no vitamin A in there. But this public is misled about that. Most dieticians will tell you that the fruit have vitamin A which is wrong. Most doctors they could tell as the public thinks it does whereas in fact there is no vitamin A in the plant kingdom.
Is it important to buy organic fruit, why or why not?
Well, organic simply means that it was not sprayed or treated with a pesticide, urbicide, fungicide or fertilizer that is not allowed to be used on organic fruits or vegetables. And since most of those are fairly toxic, then if you’d like to keep the amount of poisons coming into your body lower so you are less likely to develop cancer as you get older and less likely to develop various types of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s for example has been specifically identified off of a pesticide, then sure organic fruit will reduce your exposure to that if you eat organic fruit. And consequently, if I’m going to eat fruit, I eat organic fruit. Anything I can do to keep me healthy unto old age is great. I’ll be 60 in April and I intend to be just as healthy when I’m a 100 as I do right now, not taking any drugs of any kind and having lots of energy.
What are some of your favorite fruits and why?
Well, that’s an interesting one. My all time favorite fruit if I had to just pick one fruit is the cherimoya. Cherimoya is a tropical fruit sometimes called the custard apple. I rarely ever eat because it’s way too high in fructose and I keep my sugar content way, way down because it’s very much healthier to have it very, very low. But nonetheless, cherimoya would be my favourite fruit even if I have maybe two a year.
Next favorite after that probably, if they’re really ripe and really good tasting because there’s a lot of lousy fruit out there, would be pluat, some plums, peaches and nectarines. And how often do I eat them? Almost never. So, those are my favorites. You say why, simply because of their flavor.
But which of the fruit which I eat often, that’s another question. And I don’t know if you say it in there. I’m not sure if you asked me which one I eat often. But for me, my favorites or the ones that I eat more often are not the same because I just gave you my favorite. The ones I eat more often, which are also excellent and I love them, are blueberries, wild blueberries not cultivated, wild blueberries much smaller, much higher anti-oxidant content and the same color all the way through instead of the inside being a light color because it doesn’t have the anti-oxidants. So, wild blueberries and blackberries and raspberries and elderberries, all the berries and that’s because they are much higher in anti-oxidants, all sorts of different anti-oxidants, lycopenes and luteins and all the different colors are basically anti-oxidants and lower in sugar in compared to their anti-oxidant content.
And sugar, especially from fruit is a major, major problem. You didn’t really asked me about that but you’re talking about fruits and you said and why. So, I’m going to cover it. The most damaging of all the sugars that has been identified over the last, let’s say, 10, 15 years is in fact fruit sugar or fructose. And the reason is because it is insidious. It doesn’t do a lot to raise blood sugar because that is only done by fruits with a high—by sugars with a high glycemic index that rapidly turn into glucose which is what we call blood sugar. It does it damage instead by causing insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. So, the more fruit you eat, the more likely and the more rapidly you will get type 2 diabetes. And this has been pretty much shown but the public is not told this. Registered dieticians are not taught this. Doctors are not taught this. And so, they think anything that’s low glycemic is good for you even if the reason it’s low glycemic is because its sugar is all fructose and that is a low glycemic sugar. It is causing its damage differently by causing insulin resistance.
High fructose corn syrup for example is not damaging because it is from corn. It is not damaging because it is from genetically modified corn. It is damaging simply because it is high fructose and fructose is a very damaging sugar. As a matter of fact, we now have a new darling of the health food industry where we are not only going to do diabetes. We are not only going to not do that, we will probably increase diabetes because the new darling sweetener of the health food industry for the last maybe 8 years or so is a substance which is higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup and therefore, even more damaging. And that substance is called agave nectar. High fructose corn syrup is 48 to 50 percent fructose and agave nectar is 50 to 54 percent fructose. And so, agave nectar is worse for us although, neither of them are high glycemic. That’s not how they do their damage.
Do you take any anti-oxidant supplements? If so, which ones and why?
Yes. I take a lot of supplements because it is been very clearly proven that everybody is deficient in many, many, many different nutrients. As a matter of fact, dieticians are still taught and physicians are still taught that if you eat a well-balanced diet of adequate calories and all sorts of varied foods then you will not have any deficiencies. The problem is that although they are being taught that, there has never been a research that was ever able to validate that. It is always showing the opposite that no matter what you eat, everybody has multiple deficiencies. And that’s even when we look at the ridiculously low numbers they’re currently using to prove some of these deficiencies. Those who are not healthy numbers, those are just to make sure that you’re not so deficient that you actually get a symptom you are deficient way before a symptom comes.
So, I take all sorts of anti-oxidants. I take vitamin A, which does not exist in the plant world. There is no vitamin A in the plant world. Vitamin A is only in animals. The major source is the liver of animals. Plants have Beta-carotene not vitamin A and whether your body can convert it is anybody’s guess without an expensive test. So, I take vitamin A everyday otherwise I’ll be deficient. Everybody is.
I take a complex form of vitamin E, complex called Unique E which is the only form of E on the market that has all of the different parts, the four different alpha-, beta-, delta- and gamma-tocopherols, the way nature provides them instead of the way man decides to skew them.
I take fairly good size doses of vitamin C a day usually at least 1,000 mg a day because we have a genetic defect. Humans do. We only share it very few animals. I believe one monkey, guinea pig and a particular bat. Every other animal of the planet from elephants down to the mice makes its own vitamin C and we don’t but we still need it. So, I take quite a bit of vitamin C and certainly a number of others. And so, yes I take quite a few anti-oxidants. And why? Because we need them, the body needs them and there’s no way to get enough of them in our food. There might have been, a long time ago when our food was never hybridized, when it was always picked and eaten fresh and not stored or transferred around the world and when the amount of pro-oxidants from the amount of poisons in our environment, in our cleaning fluids, in our houses, in the air we breathe, etcetera wasn’t so high that the amount of anti-oxidants and nutrients we need, you know, had not yet tripled or quadrupled. Maybe we could have gotten enough, then. Now, we cannot. And there is no research to show us that we can although, it’s still being taught that way.
When it comes to fruit, is there anything we should watch out for?
Yes. We should watch out from eating too much fruit. I eat—most days I don’t eat any fruit because there is nothing required in fruit. As a matter of fact, you may know as you’re going through your training, that there’s a word in nutrition, nutrition biochemistry, having to do with any substance that the body cannot make itself and therefore must get from our food. That word is essential. If you have a particular type of food that is considered essential, then we can live without it very well as long as we get things, you know, in some other way. But if it’s essential, we have to bring it in food or supplements because we can’t make it. So, there are essential amino acids, those are proteins, parts of protein. There are essential fatty acids, different types of fats, omega 3’s, omega 6’s, omega 9’s and there are vitamins which are essential. As a matter of fact, vitamins are essential, almost by definition. There are many minerals that are essential. The amino acids, there are some that are essential, some that are conditionally essential, some that are not essential.
There’s only one classification of food for which they have never found any part which is required for long term health and that is the entire, gigantic, huge, gamut of things that go under the term carbohydrate. That would include all sugars, all fruit, all vegetables and all grains. Those are all carbohydrates. And there is not and has never been found an essential carbohydrate. And therefore, we know from the different tribes that have been studied that have never eaten any carbohydrates are in perfect health. They are not essential, that doesn’t mean that they won’t contain some things that may be healthy for us. It’s just that they are not essential.
The other thing that people need to understand about fruit is that traditional populations could only eat for about three or in my amount three months a year because that’s when it’s being ripened in their area. And we didn’t have planes or boats or trains. We didn’t have refrigeration. We have no electricity. And so, during the rest of the year, there was no fruit available because it couldn’t—they couldn’t go to a store and buy it. They couldn’t go to the cupboard and get it. There wasn’t any can. And so, we used to eat way, way, way less fruit than anybody eats today because now it’s available 12 months of the year. And that’s one of the reasons, one of the many reasons we have so much diabetes because of all the fructose people are eating.
The second thing that’s very, very important to understand is that when people are consuming fruit, especially children, we need to contain—we need to consume body weight appropriate quantities. If you write all this up into a report, you’re going to have the most complete report of anybody in your class or anybody in your school. And for example, let’s say you have an adult who weighs between 130 to 180 pounds and that person eats an apple. And then they get hungry maybe 45 minutes later and they have a banana. I would say that that person in 45 minutes consumed two fruits or two fruit or two pieces of fruit but two entire fruits. Now, let’s say that that person has a child and the child weighs depending on its age, at the moment let’s say the child weighs between 40 and 55 pounds. And the child says, “Mommy, I’m hungry.” And so, the parent gives the child an apple. The child eats the apple and goes back to playing and maybe 40-45 minutes later, they’re hungry again because what keeps us from being hungry is fat and there’s not fat in the apple. So, 45 minutes later the child’s hungry again and says, “Mommy, I’m hungry.” So, mommy or daddy gives the child a banana. The child eats the banana, goes back to playing. And in many cases, within not too long the kid’s bouncing off the walls but that’s a separate issue.
So, what did we just give that child? Well, if the child weighs 40 or 50 pounds, we gave the child 6 pieces of fruit in 45 minutes, 3 apples and 3 bananas because the amount of something you partake of is in relation to your body weight and not in relation to just the fact that you are a name on a piece of paper. So, the child’s weight is 1/3 of the adult and yet instead of giving them 1/3 of an apple and a 1/3 of a banana, the parent that does not know any better gives them a whole apple and a whole banana and it is trying to promote diabetes by causing insulin resistance as they get older because they just gave them the amount equal to three times more than they ate. So, that’s something else we should watch out for.
What’s the difference between dietician and a nutritionist? And which one are you? Or which one am I?
That is completely dependent on somebody’s belief system because if you look in a dictionary under dietician my guess, because I don’t think I’ve looked in the dictionary, my guess is it will probably tell you that a registered dietician is a trademark that was asked for and granted and given to the American Dietetic’s Association. And therefore since it’s there—since they own it because they apply for it, I mean, you and I can apply for some other trademark if we wanted. But the ADA applied for that one that they decide what a registered dietician is. And most people when they think of the word dietician are thinking of an ADA registered dietician.
And so, what is a registered dietician? A registered dietician currently is somebody who has gone through whatever training the ADA currently requires which is currently a bachelor’s degree in nutrition. Although, years ago they allowed thousands and thousands of people to come in several of which have never graduated college, many of which were just cooks and doing everything wrong because they wanted to have larger numbers to have more political power. And when they were found out, and I can there’s an article, when they were found out they didn’t kick them out. So, a lot of dieticians out there that know very, very little of anything of what is currently required for them to know. And whatever it is that ADA is currently requiring, so of course you know, they have to have an accredited degree, Bachelors of Science I believe in Nutrition but you can check that on the ADA website. And therefore, they know many good things. They’ve been taught some things that are factual of course, quite a few. I believe they probably have some anatomy and physiology in Bachelor of Science in Nutrition but I’m not certain. That might depend on the school.
However, they’ve also been taught a lot of things that have been proven wrong for over a decade and they’re still being taught these things. So, they’re still being taught, for example, that there’s nothing wrong with artificial sweeteners and it doesn’t matter how many studies are out there showing they cause cancer or neurological diseases or brain tumours. They’re still being taught that the sugar is not a bad food and it doesn’t matter how many research study shows the opposite. And if you want to learn about that, the best movie on it is called “Sweet Suicide” by Dr. Nancy Appleton. That’s a good documentary on the damaging effects of sugar and why so many people still think it’s not a problem. You can buy that DVD online. They’re still taught that supplements are basically not necessary unless somebody has a deficiency disease even though there is no research to validate that teaching. And in fact, lots of research to show that everybody they study always have nutritional deficiencies even if they think they’re eating well. So, a tremendous amount of what registered dieticians are being taught is wrong. Now, that’s not the dieticians fault. But if you want to learn more about this, go to my website. Go to the mp3 lectures and recordings area and listen to my—don’t remember how long—20 minute, 40 minute talk on dieticians and nutritionist. And you’ll get a lot more than I’m including here.
Dieticians are also taught meal planning for institutions. So, how many number tin cans of this, how many pounds of that, how to figure that out for, you know, a large number of people. And that’s the reason a dieticians, that and the fact that the government believes they know what they’re doing. So they are used to, for example, figure out meal planning to the three large groups that our government study a number of years ago, showed have the worst—the worst diets or the worst nutrients and that is schools, hospitals and criminal institutions or jails, prisons. So, that’s what they’re taught.
A nutritionist in my eyes, everybody’s going to have their own, you know, ideas, is somebody who is taught how to deal with one-to-one with public on how to help them with nutrition. That would include diet, all the different aspects of diet. It would include all the different types of nutrients and minerals and amino acids and vitamins and how to get people on the right ones because that’s all part of nutrition. Whereas, it’s not part of dietetics, it is excluded from dietetics because they people if they eat right, they don’t need it.
That’s the biggest difference. And I really would suggest that you listen to my recording. That will give you a lot more information.
Which one am I? I’m a nationally board certified clinical nutritionist. The credential that the organization that started that, you know, got it from the federal government, is CCN and that’s Certified Clinical Nutritionist. And unless somebody is violating a federal law, which some people do, you cannot put CCN after your name unless you passed the exam from the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board, CNCB.org. Dieticians would never be able to pass that because it’s not their fault because of how much of what they’re taught is wrong. So, we do have a number of dieticians that have discovered that what they were taught was wrong. Those are the ones who are open-minded and wanted to keep learning and decided that they wanted to get CCN after their name and learn a whole bunch of additional information. And if they met all the requirements, they sat for the five-hour exam and became certified clinical nutritionist.