Proper nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
So, if you regularly don’t feel well or have certain medical conditions, like diabetes, you may find it helpful to speak with a nutritionist or dietitian. These professionals work with you to make a meal plan that’s right for your body and lifestyle.
And this is just one of the benefits of meeting with a dietitian or nutritionist.
Dietitian vs. nutritionist, what’s the difference?
Both dietitians and nutritionists help people understand how their diet affects their health and create a personalized meal plan that’s easy to follow. The difference between these two types of professionals is the type of training they complete.
Dietitians can be a registered dietitian (RD) or a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). They hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and earn certification from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This means they have to pass a national certification exam, go through a supervised training program and take additional courses to maintain their license.
Nutritionists may or may not have professional training, and the training they do have can vary from state to state. Some are certified through the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.
Reasons to see a dietitian or nutritionist
Everyone who decides to see one of these professionals has their own reasons. Some need a kick-start for a lifestyle change. Others want to prepare for pregnancy or surgery. People also see a nutritionist or dietitian when they want lifestyle support during stressful times.
Here are more common reasons people seek the help of a dietitian.
1. Personalize your meal plan.
These experts can tailor menus for patients based on nutritional needs. Your needs change over time as you age, and you need different levels of nutrients when you’re pregnant, struggling with disordered eating or need to lose weight. A dietitian creates a plan designed specifically for you and your goals.
2. Cut down on grocery bills.
Your dietitian can show you how to plan your meals each week. When you walk into the grocery store with a list in hand, you’ll be less likely to make impulse purchases or forget an ingredient that sends you back to the store during the week. Overall, it can help you save money!
3. Manage chronic disease.
A registered dietitian can be a valuable part of your health care team when you have chronic diseases and conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease. They work along with your primary care provider to manage the disease and make sure you get the nutrition your provider recommends.
4. Boost energy levels.
When your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, you might feel fatigued during the day. A nutritionist can help you choose the best foods to give your body what it needs. They also can help you find alternatives if you have food allergies. As a result, you may have more energy.
5. Lose weight.
If you’re one of the people asking, “can a nutritionist help you lose weight,” the answer is yes. One study found that people who had help from a dietitian lost more weight than the control group. In fact, the people left to themselves tended to gain slightly more weight during the study.
Ready to put your best foot forward with your nutrition? Learn about the clinical nutrition and dietetics services we offer at Mercy Health.