What a dietitian does
A dietitian teaches people the tools needed to make healthy and balanced nutrition choices in a way that can achieve and maintain a healthy weight. A dietitian does not recommend a blanket approach to eating, as do many popular diets. They do not restrict any foods from someone’s diet but rather educate them on healthy portions and servings.
Our approaches are sustainable and conductive to good health, long term. We tailor advice to each individuals needs and appreciate that what works for one person may not work for the next.
Why choose a dietitian over a popular diet?
There are many diets out there that are very popular and very appealing. Often they are endorsed by celebrities or attractive young men and women. Many of them will work effectively in the short term. However, most of the clients I see for weight loss have undertaken at least one of these diets and state that once they returned to a regular diet, they gained all or more of the weight back. Common issues with these diets include:
- Not maintainable e.g. too restrictive.
- Too expensive – many people spend more money on diet products and plans than they would on a few consults with a dietitian.
- The diets do not teach people how to eat properly when not on the diet.
- Do not solve the root of the problem e.g. how to deal with emotional eating.
- Diets that induce large weight loss in the first week can be discouraging when weight soon plateaus.
- They can be significantly lacking in micro and macro nutrients and as a result lead to poor concentration, lethargy and even deficiencies.
Nutrition management of conditions
Nutrition can be a powerful tool in helping to manage or prevent certain conditions. If abused, it can also have the opposite affect and greatly increase the risk of disease or complications from existing conditions.
A good example is diabetes. The risk of type two diabetes can be significantly increased by over nutrition and regular consumption of high GI/ high sugar foods that cause weight gain and spiking of blood sugar levels. On the other hand, this condition can be extremely well managed or prevented by following appropriate nutrition guidelines. If dietary precautions are not taken, further complications can occur such as ulcers, gangrene, peripheral neuropathy and so on. There is no quick fix diet for diabetes.
Dietitians must have attended a four year uni degree in order to learn (in depth) how the body works and how nutrients and other compounds found in food affect the body. This is not something that can be fully understood from a short-term course or from one’s own experiences.
Up to date knowledge
Any dietitian who is a member of the DAA (Dietitians Association of Australia) must log at least 30 hours of continued professional development each year. This is to ensure our knowledge and practice remains current. Most dietitians, however, do well over the 30 hour minimum due to the ever changing nature of the subject and newly emerging evidence. Dietitians do not ignore new research even if it challenges current, long standing guidelines.
Dietitians offer support
Many people find that a major part of the weight loss process is having someone to guide and support them. This is the same for anyone who is trying to alter their diet for the better. Other diets however will be lacking this vital component. This often leads to individuals losing motivation or struggling to overcome barriers on their own.
Want to know more?
Call our clinic to enquire on 1300 123 368 or visit the DAA website.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice.
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about healthy eating, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.