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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Expert Guidance: Dietitians are Key Players on Wellness Teams

Feb 28, 2023 09:31AM ● By Alora Frederick, RDN, LDN

Nutrition is our daily fuel and one of our best tools for disease prevention, management of chronic illness, weight loss and more. Though most people understand the significance that nutrition plays in overall health, balanced nutrition frequently gets overlooked. There are nutrition fundamentals that, despite being simple, still pose a challenge for people to apply daily. Working with a registered dietitian bridges the gap between suboptimal nutrition and prioritized, optimal nutrition habits.

Nutrition professionals go by various titles, however, not all are created equal. All registered dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. Only dietitians can practice medical nutrition therapy (MNT), whereas nutritionists, bloggers and influencers provide lifestyle recommendations and coaching which is not synonymous with MNT. Medical nutrition therapy is an evidence-based medical approach to treating chronic conditions using an individually tailored nutrition plan, which is implemented by a registered dietitian.

When seeking out a dietitian, remember to look for the registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) title. Registered dietitians using either title have been accredited with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). If working with someone other than an RD or RDN, be sure to inquire about their credentials and training. Nutrition advice from influencers can be dangerous as it is not evidence-based, nor is it personalized to the individual. Registered dietitians provide ethical and sound nutrition guidance by treating the whole person and considering their medical history, current lifestyle, preferences and willingness to implement behavior change.

Working with a Dietitian

There are many reasons to work with an RD beyond personalized and tailored nutrition advice. Registered dietitians provide guidance on navigating food allergies, food sensitivities, weight management, self-image and people’s relationship to food. A registered dietitian is a vital resource when it comes to managing confusion about nutrition-related information. They can debunk nutrition-related trends as well as help a client navigate ongoing fluctuations in nutrition-related headlines. Working with a registered dietitian is imperative when managing a chronic disease or health condition. Oftentimes the improvements to health and well-being can lead to the reversal of a chronic disease state and possibly the lowering of certain pharmaceuticals.

Another distinctive benefit to working with a registered dietitian is the ongoing support and accessibility they can provide. Dietitian counseling can be billed to insurance as a preventative service which, depending on the insurance plan, may allow for a waived copay and unlimited session visits. Initial consultations are commonly an hour long with follow-ups being 50 minutes to an hour. Unlike other rushed health professional sessions, it is refreshing to have the luxury of time with a nutrition health professional as longer client-facing time leads to more personalized and tailored care.

Registered dietitians may specialize in areas of health such as prenatal care, diabetes, eating disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, mental health, weight loss, kidney disease and others which enables an individual to find an RD that can support their unique health goals. Having a registered dietitian on one’s wellness team is a no-brainer given the benefits and accessibility.

Alora Frederick, RDN, LDN, is an integrative and functional dietitian in Waltham, MA. She is currently accepting new patients at Johnson Compounding and Wellness for virtual nutrition appointments. Schedule a free,15-minute introductory call at