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Nutritionists in the 21st Century

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As obesity continues to rise in the United States among both children and adults, people often wonder what they should be eating and what is good for them. Conflicting information about diets (protein, no protein, “good” carbs, “bad” carbs, trans fats, etc.) continues to confuse most who listen to the media. Nutritionists can help decipher the facts and myths about 21st century nutrition and food and determine the best foods.

Nutritionists are healthcare professionals who help answer questions about diet, health, and nutrition. Based on their knowledge and experience, they can provide advice on what to eat for preventative nutrition or for specific diseases and health conditions, provide guidelines for healthy eating, and help plan meals and menus.

As the population ages, more and more people are turning to nutritionists for advice on proper nutrition. Many diseases such as digestive problems, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and obesity can be improved or managed through healthy eating. Athletes and children also regularly seek nutritionists so they can improve athletic performance or address health issues at a younger age.

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The terms nutritionist and nutritionist are sometimes used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion. A registered dietitian is a licensed health care worker who has completed a bachelor’s degree and passed a national exam administered by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). A dietitian performs the same duties as a nutritionist, but may be more involved with aspects of meal planning in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.

Certified nutritionists are certified by the American Board of Nutrition or the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists and hold advanced degrees in nutrition or medicine. If an individual is not certified, they may not have the required qualifications in terms of formal education or training. If you consult a nutritionist, ask for their references. There are certification programs that people can complete that provide formal education but may not be recognized by the state.

For those struggling with weight or health issues, a visit to a nutritionist is a must. They can provide sound advice and develop nutritional guidelines and plans based on a person’s health and lifestyle. Individual nutritional advice can be much more effective than general recommendations because it is tailored specifically to an individual. It is particularly important to put children in contact with nutritionists if they have health or weight problems, as it is easier to change habits earlier.

Nutritional information in the 21st century is a confusing mass of information where conflicting ideas, diets and advice abound. It is extremely difficult to distinguish what is right and wrong. Speak to trained nutritionists to find out what foods make sense for you and how your diet can make your diet healthier.

Thanks to Cathy Seiler

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