46 Ways a Dietitian Can Help You

Do you know what a dietitian can do for you? You might think of a few things or maybe none at all. So here is my not even close to comprehensive list of what a dietitian can help you with on an individual level (don’t even start me on the community, state, national and international levels!).

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Let’s just say it’s more than just a meal plan!

  1. Check your nutritional adequacy (that is whether you are meeting all the requirements for age, height, weight and gender for each nutrient)
  2. Help you deal with your child’s fussy eating behaviours
  3. “Prescribe” nutritional supplements for patients at risk
  4. Help identify intolerances through the challenge and elimination diet and getting you back to the amount of the trigger food chemicals that you CAN tolerate.
  5. Help deal with IBS through supporting people through the FODMAP diet and identifying what foods/food components are exacerbating your symptoms
  6. Support people with eating disorders by providing meal plans and normalising their disordered eating patterns
  7. Help with sustained and gradual weight loss for those carrying extra weight by changing the lifestyle through small sustainable changes, not just putting you “on a diet”
  8. Supporting clients through bariatric surgery and the various dietary phases that occur alongside it
  9. Providing diet education to people with diabetes and demonstrating the importance of carbohydrates, types and distribution throughout the day as well as balancing food, activity and insulin or other medications
  10. Help women with gestational diabetes the carbohydrate content of their diet
  11. Provide assistance with managing the output of stoma patients following surgery to their intestinal tract
  12. Help those suffering with constipation or diarrhoea, including toddler diarrhoea
  13. Refer you onto other allied health professionals like a physiotherapist, exercise physiologist, speech pathologist, social worker and other medical professionals
  14. Help normalise the inflammation response after a major injury by providing early nutrition (usually through a tube)
  15. Run individual or group counselling sessions for high-risk patients with mental illness to reduce their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and provide healthy eating education to meet their needs and lifestyle
  16. Ensure burns patients are meeting their extraordinarily high energy, fluid and protein requirements for optimal wound healing
  17. Counsel HIV patients on healthy eating to not only prevent chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease but also to optimise their immune status whilst on treatment
  18. Ensure cancer patients have the best immune function to increase their opportunity and chances of success when being treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, stem cell therapy or other anti-cancer therapies
  19. Set-up any kind of tube or line feed for hospitalised patients who require it, as well as the rate of feeding and the process of weaning off the feeds back to a “normal” diet
  20. Look out for re-feeding syndrome, a potentially fatal condition which can occur if someone has been starved for a long period and is re-fed too quickly
  21. Provide education on how to increase the energy and protein of meals and snacks for people with poor appetite to ensure they don’t become malnourished
  22. Provide the elderly with tips to increase the protein intake to manage sarcopenia (lean muscle mass loss)
  23. Provide education to the elderly to improve their calcium and vitamin D status to prevent risk of bone fragility and osteoporotic fractures (linked to higher risk of death)
  24. Link people in with services such as cooking classes to improve their skills
  25. Provide strategies & contacts for services for those who may be at risk of food insecurity – e.g. food delivery services, transportation to shops
  26. Give in home visits to the elderly or disabled to provide dietary advice to them and/or their carers for their specific needs
  27. Reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by modifying the types of fats in the diet
  28. Strict management of minerals and fluids in people with end-stage kidney disease or dialysis patients
  29. Reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol through diet
  30. Improve your iron intake through diet
  31. Ensure patients using steroids such as those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or respiratory disease have enough calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis and manage risks for developing diabetes from steroid use.
  32. Managing the diet of cystic fibrosis patients by working according to their enzyme therapy, high requirements for fats, salt and sugars (they’re a very special group!)
  33. Helping athletes reach their best by balancing nutrition, training and supplements as well as how to recover well
  34. Accurately measure body fat percentages and your minimum energy requirements using sophisticated tools and techniques
  35. Conduct physical assessments to assess fat and muscle mass as well as losses
  36. Teach type 1 diabetics how to treat “lows” and what to do when they’re sick
  37. Create an individualised plan to help manage your condition/s taking into account your social background, age, life stage, medications, weight, height, BMI, disease/s, current diet and what you want out of seeing a dietitian
  38. Create nutritional diagnoses and make entries into your medical record (which are legal documents)
  39. Set goals and strategies for patients and clients that are achievable
  40. Help the patient identify what is motivating their change, and what will help or hinder you from making these changes
  41. Provide resources to take home on how to implement the diet changes or goals discussed
  42. Monitor and evaluate your progress by either looking at blood tests, weight/BMI, body fat or other measures as well as your day-to-day diet
  43. Increase nutrition knowledge on an individual level – whether that be the detriment of a diet high in fat, sugars, or salt or the benefits of eating more fruits & veg, switching to low-fat dairy (you get the idea!)
  44. Clarify what a “serve” of a particular food group REALLY means
  45. De-mystify diet myths and fads and provide evidence-based nutrition care
  46. Write back to your referring doctor to inform them of what was discussed (if appropriate) and the plan for your nutrition care as well as updates.

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Think a dietitian can help you out? Click here to find an APD (accredited practising dietitian) near you.

Are you surprised at what a dietitian can do? Learn something new about the profession? Let me know!

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