CONFUSED ABOUT DIET AND NUTRITION? KNOW THE FACTS.

BY NASIRA BURKHOLDER, COOLEY, DRPH, RD, CPT

Here’s the bad news: fads and crash diets generally don’t work. We are bombarded with misleading nutrition advice that not only promotes yo-yo dieting, but can even be dangerous. Extreme diets are difficult to maintain and the benefits (if any) are often inconsistent and short-lived. Be wary of supplements – expensive and poorly regulated, most are unnecessary unless an underlying deficiency exists and many have negative side effects.

If you’re interested in a particular diet or supplement, consult a true nutrition expert: a registered dietitian. The term Registered Dietitian (RD) is a protected term. All RDs have a minimum standard educational background that includes a bachelor’s degree in dietetics or nutrition from an accredited college or university, at least 1200 hours of supervised practice experiences at an accredited institution, and successful completion of the national Registration Examination for Dietitians. Additionally, all RDs must complete recertification every five years by completing at least 75 hours of continuing education. RDs are true nutrition experts and are most qualified to provide recommendations on nutrition-related disorders and help people plan healthy, balanced diets.  While many “nutritionists” provide advice that is not evidence-based, Registered Dietitians are trained to critically evaluate research studies and develop nutrition recommendations supported by sufficient research. RDs are trained to assess medical history, medications, supplements, and eating and exercise habits in order to provide their clients with safe and effective nutrition counseling to reach their health and fitness goals.

Here’s the good news: healthy eating can be simple, feasible, and lifelong! By balancing calories and eating mindfully, you can manage your weight, achieve optimal health, and prevent disease. Utilize accurate nutrition information from peer-reviewed sources and contact our registered dietitian to answer your questions.