Mar 09 2015

Ask the Dietitian! Featured

It’s March! You know what that means… St. Patrick’s Day? The start of Lent? The highly anticipated arrival of Spring? Well, yes…but, it’s also National Nutrition Month! Yes, there is a whole month to simply celebrate nutrition. And, for good reason. Fueling your body with the essential nutrients will provide vitality and energy, help you stay at a healthy weight, prevent chronic diseases and conditions, enhance cognitive well being, and help you achieve your full potential.

Think of your car. Do you regularly get a tune up? Wash, wax, and vacuum it? Do you find it drives better when all the parts are properly working? Of course. So, why not do the same for your body?

A special day in March is set aside to recognize registered dietitians. March 11th is National Registered Dietitian Day! Thinking back, I never knew a day existed before I became one myself. The day is used to celebrate the contributions and expertise of registered dietitians in improving the public health through food and nutrition.

While I never decline a reason to celebrate, I would like to use this day to properly identify what a registered dietitian is, the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist, and how the leaders of food and nutrition may be able to help you.

Registered dietitians hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition & Dietetics at an accredited university, complete a 6-15 month long accredited supervised practice program, and pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetics Registration. Many dietitians go on to obtain their Master’s degree and apply for licensure in which most states require in order to practice. Completion of continuing professional educational hours are required for both a dietitian’s registration and licensure. 

Throughout a dietitians' coursework, they study a variety of subjects, ranging from food and nutrition sciences, medical nutrition therapy, pharmacology, foodservice system managements, to communication and chemistry. Dietitians have the opportunity to become board certified as diabetes educators as well as specialize in areas such as renal, sports, oncology, gerontology, pregnancy, and pediatric nutrition.

Registered dietitians work in a wide variety of employment settings including hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient diabetes and weight management offices, dialysis clinics, school and hospital kitchens, restaurants, day-care centers, correctional facilities, sports nutrition and corporate wellness programs, marketing, product development, culinary schools, public relations, private practice, universities, food and pharmaceutical companies, and more.

We can often be found recommending the proper placement of a tube feeding to the doctor, calculating the ratio of carbohydrate, protein, & fat to administer via parentral nutrition, identifying potential food/drug interactions to the pharmacist and kitchen staff, or using food models to identify proper portion sizes.

Our TRS|Wellness wellness programs all include the expertise of a registered dietitian.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a dietitian or our practice, visit the links below:

http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/media/multimedia-news-center/videos#.VKbpKcnnbqB

http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/about-us/what-is-an-rdn-and-dtr/what-is-a-registered-dietitian-nutritionist

As we approach March 11th my advice and request to consumers, clients, and educators are:

1- Please identify the source of where you gather your nutrition information, check the credentials of an author’s magazine article, website, or book and ensure they are qualified and educated on giving you advice.

2- Remember that dietitians do what we do to help others. We are not the food police, we do not judge you by what you eat, and we do not take the fun out of eating. And lastly, remember that we are just like you. Many of us have struggled with our weight before or are currently working towards individual health goals, we have to make the time to work out and eat healthy just like we encourage our clients to do, and above all we are working towards making the lives of those we serve healthier and happier which I hope is a goal of everyone’s who is reading this.