Integrative Nutrition® is a concept trademarked by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® that states that food is not just about physical nutrition, but also has an emotional, mental, and spiritual component. Many parts of this concept are more broadly known as holistic nutrition, and are taught by nutritionists who are not certified by the institute. This method has both proponents and detractors, but many people report positive results by adhering to this approach. Critics cite the expense of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®'s programs and the possibility of scams.
Holistic nutrition views food, eating, wellness, and exercise not just in terms of calories or weight loss, but in physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual terms. A nutritionist working in this field learns a lot about the different aspects of his or her clients; lives, including their state of mind, their health history, and even their sleep patterns. Though holistic nutritionists can and do help with weight loss, they can also help with disordered eating, anti-inflammatory diets, diabetes diets, and diets to extend a person's active years.
A person's emotions and spirituality are also important in holistic nutrition. Since the body is seen as being connected to nutrition in this practice. Food is seen as just one part of what a person needs to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Nutritionists help people to choose food on the basis of what they like and what makes them feel good, rather than strictly based on its nutritional content. They also ask people to explore their emotions as they connect to food, and see how things like their careers or relationships impact the person's relationship with food. Additionally, many see food as having a spiritual component, and work with clients to determine what kind of spiritual impact eating makes for them.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition®
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition® in New York City emphasizes the importance of health and well-being, as well as the personal, social, and even political aspects of eating. It provides information about vegetarianism and veganism; macrobiotics; specific diets, such as the Atkins diet; and practices like ayurveda. This school of thought seeks to provide its students with a new way of looking at health by taking into consideration all of the elements needed to be not just healthy but also happy. It was founded by Joshua Rosenthal; well-known graduates include Deepak Chopra and Jared Koch.
Holistic or integrative nutrition® is seen by proponents as providing more complete nutritional care than other types of dietetics, since it addresses components of nutrition that are often left out of other practices. In particular, many people like the social and spiritual aspect of integrative nutrition®. Some people have more success with weight loss or diet changes with this type of nutrition than with others, as plans may be more tailored. This method is sometimes seen as being very balanced, since it focuses on helping the client get the nutrition he or she needs from whole foods, rather than through supplementation.
Some critics of this approach feel that it is contradictory or not well-founded in nutritional science. In terms of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition® specifically, some people have criticized it for being expensive and not providing its students with enough training to provide appropriate dietary advice. Since there is no one accepted definition of what holistic nutrition is, standards of care among nutritionists offering this service tend to vary. Also, since there's no international credential-granting body for all integrative nutritionists, some people feel that there's no way to really know the quality of a nutritionist offering integrative advice, which leaves people open to scams.