A DIETITIAN is an individual who has completed a four-year degree programme and a minimum 800- to 900-hour attachment with a local hospital during training. He/she would have studied food nutrition, biochemistry and other related subjects.
In short, a qualified dietitian is a health professional, and food and nutrition expert.
Dietitian is a professional trained in translating the science of food, nutrition and medical nutrition therapy.
They are responsible and accountable for patient care, and are equipped with the knowledge and skills to conduct nutritional assessment, diagnosis and prescribe medical nutrition therapy, provide dietary consultation for the treatment of diseases in both acute and chronic care.
Most dietitians work in hospitals but they also work in universities, governmental agencies, health departments, health clinics, pharmaceutical companies, food companies, schools, weight management clinics, media and in private practice.
Depending on where they work, they are involved in the formulation of policies, protocols, clinical practice guidelines, planning and implementation of programmes to support healthcare needs of the population.
They promote wellness through smart eating and develop modified healthy meals or recipes for different needs. Dietitians also conduct research and apply evidence-based practice.
Dietitian plays an important role in food services by making sure that a patient gets the correct therapeutic diet and meals that meet his nutritional requirements.
On nutrition matters, she advises consulting a dietitian at your local hospital or medical centre.
Here are 10 reasons why you should consult a qualified dietitian.
1. You have diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia or kidney problems.
* Collaborate with the dietitian to learn more about the diseases and develop a healthy and acceptable diet.
* The meal plan should meet the needs of your diagnosis.
2. You have been recommended to have a gastric bypass surgery.
* Prior to the surgery, talk to the dietitian to learn about the post-op changes to your routine.
* After the surgery, develop an eating plan to get enough nutrients to meet your needs, learn signs of food-related problems and nutrient timing.
3. You have digestive problems or an inherited metabolic disorder.
* Talk to the dietitian and your doctor to develop a diet that identifies and eliminates food intolerance or allergies.
4. You are trying to get or are pregnant
* The dietitian can recommend the right diet to prepare you for pregnancy and to ensure adequate nutrients for you and your baby.
5. You are breastfeeding
* Work with the dietitian and a lactation consultant to get the nutrition you need and ensure adequate supply of key nutrients. Learn feeding clues, eating readiness, transitions and food-related problems from your and your baby's diet.
6. You have a eating disorder
* Consult the dietitian and the doctor to develop a plan. Remember you are not alone.
7. You are struggling with weight issues and you need to gain or lose weight
* Eating can be a pleasure when you work along with the dietitian to reduce weight.
* Your dietitian can guide you on eating cues, energy needs, hunger, fullness, exercise, portion control, calorie control, meal replacement and foods triggers for weight management.
8. You are caring for an ageing parent
* The dietitian can help you with changes in taste, swallowing, chewing, calorie needs, absorption, hydration, nutrient drug interactions and special diets.
9. You want to eat smarter and stay fit
* Work with a dietitian to learn about labels, fad diets, misinformation, eating out, cooking healthy, budget cooking, food combinations and menu planning.
10. You want to improve your sports performance
* When you are just starting an exercise plan or preparing for a marathon, a dietitian can tweak your diet to improve performance.