There is so much health and diet advice out there, why should you bother seeing a dietitian? One good reason is that there is so much information out there … and a lot of it conflicting. It’s difficult to know what to believe.
Dietitians are trained to know how to sort out fact from fiction. We are taught how to look beyond those sensational headings and research the facts. We realize the importance of looking at multiple studies, sources and outcomes to determine if the results are reliable. We also talk to our clients about what their lives are all about. We determine how the evidence fits within their lifestyles and what they have previously experienced.
I like to think of dietitians as the Master Builders of the nutrition world. Dietitians are nutritionists who have continued to study at university for a further 18-24 months. Dietitians are health professionals and must be registered with the Dietitians Board. Each year dietitians have to prove that they are continuing to learn and update their knowledge. Dietitians have to prove that they practice in a way that is in the best interests of their clients. This means that, as a client, you have the added reassurance that the advice you are receiving is accurate and based on fact and quality studies and experience.
Nutritionists can be a great source of nutrition advice. Unfortunately not all nutritionists are created equal. There is no regulation about who can call themselves nutritionists – it doesn’t matter whether their qualification comes from a six-week on-line course or a university degree. There are some fantastic nutritionists but it does pay to do some checking first.
Doctors have a wealth of knowledge about a wide range of health and medical issues and while many of them have a real interest in nutrition they are not the experts. Doctors often and should rely on dietitians to provide nutrition advice and guidance to their patients.
The media has a lot to say about nutrition and health, particularly about obesity. It is important to remember that they are not interested in increasing health but in increasing readership and profits. It can be difficult to work out the hype from the facts. Apply the well-known saying - If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is; no matter which celebrity is endorsing it.
Dietitians are trained to provide practical advice on a wide range of health topics. If you have concerns about your diet and health talk to Andrea at Food Habits today or find a dietitian near you at www.dietitians.org.nz.