Ep. 098 – How to Be A Certified Food Scientist Without Being a Food Scientist with David Despain, Director of Science Communications at Isagenix International

I met David before joining Isagenix during my first meeting in Cactus IFT, the Arizona section of IFT.

When I interviewed at Isagenix about a year later, I said “wait, I know you”

Over time, David and I have become best coworkers and we talk about food, travel, IFT leadership stuff, and developing cool products for Isagenix.

David is passionate about many things. Nutrition, exercise science, traveling, nature and of course, food science. He is a writer, or rather, a writer who manages other writers. However, as an avid learner, David decided to get his Certified Food Scientist certification after being heavily involved in IFT.

Whether you’re interested in the CFS certification or not, we talk about the whole process and what it takes to become one including some insider and candid tips for success.

Since David is a science writer, we also talk about how to write well, and where to find information to write about. For example, some websites and organizations have more credibility than others, and the source that not many people know about, happens to be nutrition conferences!

About David

David Despain, MS, CFS, is a science and health writer, a nutritionist, and a budding Certified Food Scientist who is based in Gilbert, Arizona. David has had over a decade of experience being involved in the world of food and nutrition yet he only recently earned his CFS credential from the Institute of Food Technologists in August 2017. He’s currently the Director of Science Communications within the Research and Development Department at Isagenix, a health-and-wellness company. Previously, David has also written for various publications about food and nutrition including Food Technology magazine, American Society for Nutrition’s Nutrition Notes Daily, Outside Online, and Scientific American Online.

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Key Takeaways

  • How David became a part-time stock broker
  • The best place to find quality nutrition news
  • How David started to develop a passion for science writing from an English Professor

Question Summary

Cal Poly Professors: Dr. Amy Lammert and Dr. Robert Kravets
Prep course IFT2017
When someone asks what you do for a living: I’m a nutritionist who works for R+D and head a team of nutritionists that educate the consumer
Best Thing about Your Job: To learn something new every day
Nutrition Conferences
Exercise Science Conferences
Describe the path that got to where you are today: I studied Biology. Got a MS in Nutrition Science. Found out how Nutrition Science had a lot of conflicting views. Got interested in Nutrition Science first, then Exercise Science, then Food Science!
How did David get involved in Food Science?: Chair of the Cactus IFT person asked David to create the newsletter. Then David was hired on as a writer in IFT

Notes on the CFS Course
For me, it was a 2 year process
I attended 2 CFS short courses
I read all of the textbooks, and I had a challenge with Food Engineering
The test was a lot harder than I thought, but I passed
I argued with Adam about the questions
I memorized a whole lot of equations and the test didn’t have many equations
Most questions had to do with problem solving. You had to know what you knew and solve a problem
Some questions all sound correct but one was “most correct”
Questions on the practice test were not the same! However, they were useful to getting me to practice.
The organizers said to read the questions but not memorize the answers

If you were to tell someone who was about to take the test some advice, what would you tell them?: I came from a nutrition background, so it’d be helpful to be in a food science background. Also, a lot of people overthink the test
Was it worth it?: Yes!
CFS resources: One is always in IFT, there is an online CFS course
On writing well: Writing is a learning experience. If you find stuff online, write about it. Even in podcasting, you have to research more
When assigning something, ask to write 10 things about a subject
Where do you recommend to get more valuable information?: Food Science and Technology. Nielson, Mintel. Scientific American, Outside Magazine
As a writer in Nutrition, it’s important to understand that Nutrition is a process
My Food Job Rocks: I get to learn every single day
Food Technology: Sports Nutrition and segmenting nutritional plans based on activity, Nutrient Timing,
New ways of finding ways of having people eat their vegetables in burgers of bars
Taking kale and using it in different applications
What’s one thing about the food industry you’d like to know more about?: I want to look more into what I read studying for the CFS exam. Also brewery, and dairy
Dr. Michael Kolgan
Generalist vs Specialist
Innovation: combining 2 different topics
Favorite Quote: Richard Dawkins: Science writers are the soldiers against Ignorance
Best meal you ever ate: I just spent 3 weeks in Argentina. They cook stew in a plow disc. It’s the best feeling in the winter. Lamb Stew on a Disc.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to get into the health and wellness industry?: A degree in Food Science or Nutrition is helpful, but you can also get it from the Marketing end and the Manufacturing end.
David Despain is mostly on twitter: @daviddespain

Other Links

Certified Food Scientist
Product Development
Product Education
High Pressure Processing
Alex Hutchinson
Villifying sugar
Omega 3
Omega 6



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