This article originally appears in the June 2017 edition of Portland Metro Living. https://www.willametteliving.com/portland-metro-living-octnov-2016/
Top 7 reasons you need a dietitian
Are you confused about nutrition information you’ve heard? Blogs, magazines, books, friends, family, and even doctors and naturopaths sometimes give confusing or conflicting nutrition advice. One article might say to avoid carbs or gluten, while another article might tout the benefits of grains. How do you know what’s right? Whom can you turn to for solid advice? Look no further than a registered dietitian!
A dietitian is more than a nutritionist. Dietitians are specially trained in evidenced-based medical nutrition therapy, and can translate complex nutrition information into real advice applicable to your own lifestyle and health needs.
A dietitian takes into account a person’s entire health status when working with a client, including health history, medications, supplement use, lab work, physical activity, and food allergies or sensitivities. Dietitians meet stringent educational standards and undergo rigorous training, as well as continuing professional education to maintain licensure.
A dietitian has more than five years of formal education in nutrition, often more. In contrast, a doctor usually only has about 25 hours of nutrition courses within their training. And anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even without any training or experience.
Here are a few reasons you might want to seek a dietitian’s advice:
- You diet a lot or are trying to lose weight. If you are caught in a diet cycle, are trying to lose weight but don’t know how, have a negative body image, or disordered eating, you need a dietitian to help you navigate this path.
- You have diabetes. A dietitian is key to helping you learn how to eat right to manage your blood sugars and prevent complications.
- You have heart disease or high cholesterol. Diet changes can help improve your overall health. A dietitian can teach you how to implement changes while taking into account your food preferences and lifestyle.
- You are active or an athlete. If you are looking for help with your next marathon, triathlon, or team sport, ask a sports dietitian for guidance. Proper nutrition helps enhance performance during training and competition.
- You are a child or adolescent. Kids have unique nutritional needs. Children/teens with food allergies, intense sports schedules, special needs, or under- and overweight kids, would benefit from a pediatric dietitian.
- You have digestive issues. Dietitians are experts at helping clients identify and treat food allergies and sensitivities. If you have a diagnosis such as celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome, see a dietitian ASAP.
- You want to eat smarter. A dietitian can help you decide what that means, explore why you’re wanting to change, and tailor strategies to help you be healthier.
When you have a legal question, you go to a lawyer. When you have a tax question, you go to an accountant. And when you have a nutrition question, go to a dietitian!
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