What is a dietitian?

A dietitian is a degree-qualified health professional who helps promote nutritional well-being, treat disease and prevent nutrition-related problems. They also provide practical, safe advice centred on current scientific evidence. Dietitians alter their patient’s nutrition based upon their medical condition and individual needs.

When would I need a dietitian?

Many people who simply want to improve their overall health and make better lifestyle choices, or perhaps lose weight and become fitter, visit a dietitian. However, you may also need to visit a dietitian if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition or suffer from any number of illness. You may need to visit a dietitian if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, food allergies and intolerances, gastroenterology, HIV/AIDS, mental health illnesses, obesity, cancer, or renal problems. Depending on your age and condition you may need to see a specific kind of dietitian. For example, gerontological dietitians work specifically with the aging, while neonatal dietitians provide individualised medical nutrition therapy for critically ill premature newborns.

How can a dietitian help me?

A dietitian can help your quality of life and your overall health in many ways. A dietitian has the ability to translate nutrition science into understandable, practical information about food, which will in turn allow you to make appropriate and healthy lifestyle and food choices. Furthermore, a dietitian can help you in that they are able to treat a range of medical conditions with dietary therapy, specially tailored to your individual needs.

What should I expect when I see dietitian?

If your doctor or nurse refers you to a dietitian you can expect that he or she will perform an assessment which will give them an indication of your level of nourishment in order that they can identify what steps you need to take to be in better health. Depending on your circumstances, a dietitian may suggest a new diet regime for you based on your individual requirements or offer advice on food and drinks you should take or avoid. It is likely that your appointment with a dietitian will be one-to-one, though depending on your needs and why you need advice you may be invited to a group session with a dietitian. You will likely be given a food and drink diary to fill in, and your dietitian will discuss with you ways that you can improve your diet.

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