Dietitians: A League of Our Own
Are you confused about nutrition? So is everyone else! In today’s world everyone is handing out nutrition advice whether it is on Facebook, Instagram, at the gym, in the workplace or at family gatherings. Does any of this advice make you feel overwhelmed, guilty or depressed about your current food choices and eating habits? If yes, then you are talking to the wrong person.
A Registered Dietitian is uniquely trained and qualified to help you as an individual navigate your own health, nutrition and wellness goals. First let me say if you don’t know, a dietitian is not a nutritionist. In the Province of BC anyone and I mean ANYONE can call themselves a “nutritionist” as this title is not protected. Qualifications when it comes to nutrition are varied and there are a lot of different titles: nutritionist, nutrition expert, holistic nutritionist, wellness coach, licensed nutritionist, personal trainer, nutrition coach ect. These professionals have varied degrees of training; from no formal training and only personal experiences to a two year diploma. These professionals are great and passionate about nutrition and wellness but they are not dietitians and not always the best person for the job.
A dietitian and only a dietitian has a four year bachelor of science in nutrition with minors in biology and chemistry, a one year hospital based internship, has passed a national exam, is regulated by a governing body, has liability insurance and participates in continuing competency education. My point, we put in the work!
Besides our education and qualifications, what makes a hiring dietitian the best choice for you and your nutrition goals? Well, we do nutrition, it’s what we do. We are passionate about it, we go to school for 5 years and then we go to work every day and do nutrition all day long. We see approximately 30-40 clients a week from people all across the lifespan depending on our speciality. We read research papers and medical journals to keep us up to date on the latest nutrition information. We know that diets don’t work, that they have a 5% success rate and after 5 years only 1% of people on a diet have not regained the weight back. We know that dieting and diet culture promote and foster eating disorders and disordered eating behaviours. We know that often the people who need nutrition guidance the most are food insecure and have minimal cooking skills and equipment. We know that diet trends can be detrimental to the majority of the populations health like: cold pressed juice can elevate your blood sugar if you have diabetes, detox cleanses can cause malnutrition and protein muscle wasting in those with liver disease, keto diet can increase renal load in those with kidney disease, and this list can go on and on and on.
At the end of the day when we get home from work we read the latest books about nutrition and fad diets and watch the newest Netflix documentary, but all with a scrutinizing eye and questioning the research and the motivation of the authors and producers. We scroll through Facebook and when we see a ridiculous nutrition claim that a specific food is poisonous, we do our research, we read the journal articles cited and the articles cited in those articles, we question the research method, the number of participants, if the research was performed on humans or mice, the significant findings of the data so on and so forth; we go down the rabbit hole of research. Many dietitians go on to obtain Master Degrees and PhDs that allow them to be the ones doing the research on the latest nutrition information. Even when we go out with friends or family, they ask us questions about nutrition. We do nutrition all day every day, it’s what we do.
Dietitians are also the only qualified health professional that are licensed to prescribe a nutrition care plan for anyone living with a health condition from hypertension, diabetes, an auto immune disease, food allergies and intolerances to eating disorders. Dietitian’s services are also covered by some extended health benefits and are tax deductible. Hire a dietitian today, we are in a league of own to help you navigate the world of food and nutrition.