Rethinking your food choices and how you interact with food is a great way to get healthier. It’s a good idea: Healthy eating can help you achieve many health goals, including reducing cardiovascular risk, increasing fertility, supporting healthy aging. It is safe to say that it is possible to improve your health by focusing on how you eat. The question is how do you start? Here is where a great nutritionist can help.
A professional nutritionist can help you in your quest to better health. It can be confusing to choose a nutritionist. There are many factors that you should consider. Finding a nutritionist that you enjoy working with is a rewarding experience. We asked Rebecca Ditkoff MPH, RD founder of nutrition by RD for tips about what to look out for when selecting someone to assist you on your health journey.
Find out which Credentials you’re looking for
Register dietitian, nutritionist or holistic nutritionist… there are many terms in the food health industry. So how can one find out what each professional is capable of? Before you decide to work with someone, make sure to research their educational history and credentials. This will ensure that you are able to trust their advice and that your budget is compatible with their services. These are key points to help you see the light and identify what to look for when choosing a professional.
“All registered dietitians can be considered nutritionists. However, not all nutritionists can be called registered dietitians. “
“It’s important to remember that not all registered nutritionists are registered dieteticians. Ditkoff says. Ditkoff says that the term nutritionist isn’t defined and anyone with an interest in nutrition may call themselves a nutritionist.
Registered dietitians will either have an “RD” or “RDN” after the name.
RDN is “registered dietetic nutritionist”. Both titles, RD or RDN, can be interchangeably used by dietician in london. The practitioner is referred to as RD/RDN.
- A minimum of a bachelor’s level from an accredited program that offers a broad nutrition and science curriculum
- A completed a dietetic internship
- Achieved a passing score on a national examination administered to him by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
- Continuing professional education is required to maintain their credential.
This rigorous process ensures that RD/RDNs have the necessary tools to provide proper and safe nutritional counseling.
A nutritionist or holistic nutritionist may not have been awarded that title through a standard system.
Ditkoff says that while some nutritionists have a nutrition education without the registered dietitian credential, others can use this title after completing a short online course.
While this is not to suggest that nutritionists are bad or do not care about your best interests, they may not have the same education, certification, or standards as RD/RDN.
Insurance reimbursement is available for RD/RDN services.
Insurance is also important. Ditkoff explains that only RDs or RDNs are authorized and accredited to perform services that are eligible under the current laws governing health care reimbursement. RDNs and RDs are the only legal professionals that are eligible to provide nutrition counseling in many states. If you don’t want to pay out of pocket for services, make sure you know which services are covered by your insurance. Also, find out what qualifications a practitioner must have.
Think about your “Why” and write it down
Ditkoff advises, “When searching for a nutritionist to help you with your needs, think about the reason.” Many dietitians specialize in a particular area. It is important to find a dietitian who can address your individual health goals and needs. One dietitian might specialize in diabetes, while another may be trained in eating disorders. Other areas of specialty include, but are not limited to: sports nutrition and oncology nutrition; digestive disorders; cardiovascular health; pediatric nutrition.
You will get the most from each session if you think about why you are seeking nutritional counseling before you meet with anyone. You can talk with your practitioner about setting goals and making plans to achieve them, but it’s easier to get started by examining the reasons you want to change. These reasons will help you keep going if motivation begins to fade.
Red Flags to Watch
Ditkoff warns that if it sounds too good to true, it probably is. Ditkoff advises against anyone promising a quick fix or giving anecdotal information about how it worked for others. These gimmicks can be used to attract people, but they are not based in science or your body’s unique needs.
“Proper nutrition advice must be individualized and evidence-based. Ditkoff says that what works for one person might not work for another. True change takes patience and slow progress. This is the only way to improve your long-term health. Ask anyone who has tried a “magical” 30-day cure and then returned to their old behaviors in a matter of weeks.
Get your questions ready
It’s a smart idea to prepare a list with questions for your consultation once you have identified the person or people you would like to work with.
Find out their nutritional philosophy.
Ditkoff says that many dietitians offer free consultations so you can get acquainted with them and find out if you would enjoy working with them. Ditkoff suggests that you ask them about their nutrition philosophy in order to understand if your approach is compatible with theirs. A nutritionist that advocates removing whole food groups from a general strategy might not be the best approach to your goals. However, another person may find it helpful.
Talk to them about their experiences with specific goals and concerns.
She recommends that you make a list of your goals and health conditions to be able to inquire about the experiences of others in these areas.
Get insurance quotes upfront.
Ditkoff also recommends that you plan ahead for payment and insurance before you go to your first session. She says, “You’ll also want to find out if they have insurance or are not covered by it.” Some dietitians take insurance, while others are not in-network. However, they can still provide reimbursement for outstanding benefits. It is always a good idea to have all the details before you are hit with unexpected bills.