As obesity continues to skyrocket in the United States for both children and adults, people are often wondering what they should be eating and what is good for them. Conflicting information on diets (protein, no protein, ‘good’ carbs, ‘bad’ carbs, trans-fats, etc.) continue to confuse most anyone who listens to the media. Nutritionists can help decode the 21st century facts and myths of nutrition and food, and help determine the best foods to eat.
Nutritionists are health care specialists who helps answer questions on nutrition, health, and diet. Based on their knowledge and expertise, they can give advice on what to eat for preventative nutrition or for certain diseases and health ailments, establish healthy eating guidelines, and assist in planning meals and menus.
As the population continues to age, more and more people are seeking the advice of nutritionists in order to get sound information on what they should be eating. Many diseases such as digestive problems, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and obesity can be improved or managed through healthy eating. Athletes and children also see nutritionists on a regular basis so that they can improve athletic performance, or address health issues at a younger age.
The terms nutritionists and dieticians are sometimes used interchangeably, which can cause confusion; a registered dietician is a licensed health care worker that has completed a bachelor’s degree, and has passed a national exam administered by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). A dietician does the same tasks as a nutritionist, but may be more involved with meal planning aspects in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.
Certified nutritionists are certified by the American Board of Nutrition or the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists, and has advanced degrees in nutrition or medicine. If a person is not certified, they may not have the proper credentials in terms of formal education or training. If you are consulting a nutritionist, ask to see their credentials. There are certification programs that people can take that will provide formal education, but which may not be recognized by the state.
For those that struggle with weight or health problems, a trip to a nutritionist is a must. They can give sound advice, and develop meal guidelines and plans based on an individual’s health and lifestyle. Individual nutrition counseling can be much more effective than general suggestions, since it is tailored specifically for an individual. It is especially important to get children involved with nutritionists if they are experiencing health or weight problems, since habits can be reformed easier at an earlier age.
Nutrition information in the 21st century is a confusing mass of information where conflicting ideas, diets, and advice abound. It is extremely difficult to sort out what is right and wrong. Talk to trained nutritionists to find out what food makes sense for you, and how you can become healthier through what you eat.