Ten Reasons Why Seeing a Dietitian is Awesome
Happy Dietitian’s Day! I may be a little bit biased, but I think dietitians are the coolest, smartest, and most well-rounded health professionals out there. There are so many reasons to see a dietitian, whether it’s introducing solids to your baby, dealing with allergies, a new diagnosis, or just to learn some grocery shopping and meal planning skills.
In short, dietitians are the cat’s pyjamas, and here is a list of why seeing a dietitian is awesome:
Dietitians are nutrition experts. Dietitians complete five years of intensive training, and then write a six-hour national exam before we can call ourselves “Dietitians”. We receive more training on nutrition than any other health professional. While many may call themselves “nutrition experts”, if they don’t use the title “Dietitian” or the initials “RD”, then they do not have the training to equal that of a dietitian. Proceed with caution with anyone with the title “Nutritionist” as well – in most cases, that person is not a dietitian, and may not have had any nutrition training at all. Some dietitians may use the title “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist”.
Dietitians are not the food police. We are not out to tell you everything you are doing wrong with your diet. We don’t want you to completely eliminate dessert, potato chips, alcohol, cheese, chocolate, or even gluten (unless you are a celiac) from your diet. See what’s next on the list for what we do instead of police your food.
Dietitians offer personalized and tailored advice. Despite the fact that we do not have the word “holistic” in our name, we do actually offer holistic services. When providing nutrition advice, dietitians consider everything: food preferences, dietary restrictions, culture, religious practices, family life, emotional wellbeing, health status, illness, time constraints, work schedule, dentition, etc. etc. etc… There are no copied and pasted nutrition plans with a dietitian – it’s all catered to you and your needs.
Dietitians know a thing or two about disease. A large part of the training required to become a dietitian is learning about nutrition and disease. Many diseases and health conditions have nutritional implications, and dietitians are equipped to manage the nutrition piece of your health plan better than anyone, even your doctor. The knowledge of a dietitian lies at the intersection of food and medicine, making us the perfect fit to provide nutrition advice to anyone dealing with health issues. The nutrition information offered by the so-called “nutrition experts” can be ineffective, incorrect, or even dangerous if you have a health condition or disease. Save yourself the risk and see a dietitian instead.
Dietitians love food – talking about it, taking pictures of it, posting about it, and eating it. It makes our jobs so much more enjoyable that way. Dietitians don’t sell supplements, recommend expensive smoothies or juices, or just recite recommendations from the Food Guide. We love food, and know it inside and out. And we can’t wait to pass that information on to our clients.
Dietitians can help you reach your goals. We have training in behaviour change and the psychology of food, so dietitians have the skills to help you get motivated! No matter what your nutrition goals are, we can set you up for success.
Dietitians can help reduce food-related stress. Feeling overwhelmed with nutrition information? First eggs are bad, then they’re good, now they’re bad again? Too much salt is bad for you, but Himalayan sea salt cures cancer (here’s the truth: It definitely, 100% does NOT cure cancer). What about gluten? What if I add coconut oil? Dietitians have the knowledge base and critical thinking skills to cut through the bullshit and provide you with factual advice. Which leads me to #8 on the list…
Dietitians stay up to date on nutrition research. It’s required to maintain our license to practice as a dietitian. We must maintain our nutrition knowledge by completing ongoing education and self-study. Nutrition is a fast-paced and ever-changing field, so save yourself the hassle and allow us to analyze it for you, and package it up into an effective nutrition plan (that also takes all of your personal preferences into account, see #3 for more information).
Dietitian services are covered by many health benefits plans. Less money out of your pocket.
Dietitians think about the big picture. Dietitians care about the other parts of nutrition and food – things like the environment, politics, access to healthy food, social determinants of health, income levels, food security etc. Yes, we are nutrition experts. But dietitians also receive training in management, population and public health, food science, food safety, and agriculture. Hence the reason why we are so well rounded.