Dietitians and naturopaths require evidence-based nutrition information on organic food

Rachel Ojha, Soumela Amanatidis, Peter Petocz, Samir Samman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A pilot survey was undertaken to identify dietitians' and naturopaths' attitudes to and advice about organic foods, and to ascertain whether nutrition education is required. A questionnaire, which was not validated, was mailed to 240 randomly selected private practice dietitians and naturopaths in Australia. The responses were analysed by chi-squared and independent two-samples t-test. Each group had a response rate of 50%. More dietitians (n = 52) than naturopaths (n = 18) (P < 0.01) indicated a lack of difference in protein (88% vs 30%), fat (83% vs 33% where n = 49 dietitians and 20 naturopaths) and carbohydrate (85% vs 38%, n = 50 dietitians and 23 naturopaths) between organic and conventional foods. Significantly more naturopaths (P < 0.01) than dietitians indicated that organic foods contained more vitamins (85% vs 32%, n = 51 naturopaths and 19 dietitians), minerals (82% vs 25%, n = 49 naturopaths and 15 dietitians) and phytochemicals (72% vs 32%, n = 43 naturopaths and 19 dietitians) compared with conventionally produced foods. The majority of naturopaths indicated that organic foods have a favourable effect on health (97%, n = 58) and differ in taste (82%, n = 49). Dietitians were less certain with n = 21 thinking there is an effect on health and n = 15 indicating that there is a difference in taste (P < 0.01). More naturopaths (77%, n = 46) than dietitians (31%, n = 18) indicated that they have sufficient knowledge of organic food. Naturopaths discuss the topic of organic food with their clients 'sometimes' (55%, n = 33) or 'always' (32%, n = 19) whereas the majority of dietitians 'seldom' (51%, n = 30) or 'never' (7%, n = 4) do so. Naturopaths recommend organic foods more often than dietitians (P < 0.001). The survey results suggest that evidence-based educational programs would be useful for both groups of health professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-36
Number of pages6
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


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