Good nutrition is an investment for a healthier tomorrow.

A glimpse of the Dietetics World: On The Occasion Of National Dietetics Day

on January 10, 2015

Since last year, 10th January is marked as “National Dietetics day” in India to promote an awareness regarding diet & nutrition. On this occasion, let’s have a look in the dietetics world & understand the dietitians better.

Why a need for the Dietitian?

• The nutrition science is both preventive & curative science.
• Studies indicate that around 95% of the diseases are linked to certain deficiency of nutrients or lifestyle disorders.
• According to WHO, a healthy diet helps to prevent obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, & cancer.
• In today’s modern world, where information is available at the click of a button, the chances of getting wrong or inadequate information from TV, media, social media, internet, family friends & so-called or self-proclaimed health & nutrition experts & fitness gurus have increased. This can cause more harm & confusion.
• A qualified dietitian is capable of giving correct nutritional information & thus can prove beneficial in promoting health & wellness among the community & building a healthy nation.
• Research shows that better nutrition is like a health investment which equips you to deal with health complications in an effective way.
Who is a dietitian?
A dietitian is a professional who has been trained in dietetics, who has a bachelor or post-graduate degree in nutrition & applied science & who has passed the registration board examination conducted by Indian Dietetics Association. A PhD degree serves an added advantage.
Dietitians study a wide range of subjects like physiology, clinical biochemistry, microbiology, pathology of diseases etc. in connection with nutrition & diet. They study how a particular diet or food is helpful or harmful in particular disease condition & how the body works. They also carry out a dissertation; undergo hospital internship as a part of the curriculum. They also study nutrition needs during different age groups & physiological stages. They are trained to calculate nutritive values of food& plan therapeutic diets considering the age, sex, activity, culture, personal likes.
When dietitian advises you to use less oil, they have actually cooked the food in less oil in food labs. Thus, the dietetic training is evidence based & practical.
To conclude, a dietitian studies food, its action & impact inside our body, body needs &prescribes a well planned diet which is best suited to you & your body needs.
People’s perception about Dietitians & Reality Check?

• Dietitians always talk about food &diet.
Your diet is not just related to food. It is a reflection of how you think, your cultural background, your likes & dislikes, moods & your physical & mental state. So the dietitian will assess everything to give a suitable dietary advice.
• Dietitians will advise to eat less.
Dietitians will prepare or train you to eat the right foods in right amount. So it is not eating less but eating right by your choice & not by compulsion. When it’s a choice, it makes you happy & you no longer crave for those wrong food or habits.
• Dietitians will not eat sweets, fried food, chocolates & ice creams themselves.
There is a general interest to see what’s there in a dietitian’s plate. People are curious to see what the dietitian’s are eating & cooking. A good dietitian knows how to balance the meals & practices mindful eating; so she can enjoy a variety of food. She teaches the same to her patients.
• Dietitians will oppose partying, festive celebrations, eating out & using oil.
They will guide you & suggest plenty of options to stick to healthy eating during the festive times & change your approach to look at such occasions.
• It’s easy to become dietitian course. Anybody can become a dietitian.
There are a growing number of students interested in this field as there are plenty of research & job opportunities. Students have to appear for a written test & selected students need to clear an interview to join the course. The course too demands a lot of hard work as it needs some project work, assignments & community work, presentations to be done. For the registration, you need to complete a hospital internship selected by Indian Dietetic Association & a dissertation under a registered dietitian, & clear the exam. Only students who have a degree in bio-science, homeopathy, medicines, nutrition, dietetics & home science are eligible to do a post-graduate dietetic course. Certain universities take only dietetic students or those who have a life science background. So getting admission & becoming a dietitian is not an easy process.
• Dietitian course is a cookery course.
Dietitians are trained to formulate & cook different therapeutic recipes eg. Recipes good for heart diseases, kidney diseases, cancer, low-calorie recipes, tube feeds etc.

How the dietitians work?
• Dietitians carry out a complete assessment of the patient by taking his medical & family history, understanding his daily diet, likes & dislikes, beliefs ( beliefs play a major role in our diet) etc.
• Dietitians keep a record of the weight & height of the patients.
• Dietitians may suggest you some pathological tests if necessary.
• Dietitian gives you complete information about your health, future health threats, present health complication if any, the diet being prescribed & helps to clear out the doubts & misconceptions.
• Dietitians prescribe a diet based on the patient’s assessment and after calculating his calorie & nutrient needs.
• Counsel the patients thoroughly.
• Evaluate his progress, motivates him to stick to his plan.

A qualified dietitian is the trusted source of nutrition & diet information.
However, it is important to note that only a qualified dietitian can advise or prescribe a diet that is beneficial to you. The knowledge & training gained by a qualified dietitian( as a part of her course curriculum) is or cannot be compared with the people who has done certificate or short-term courses or sales person or doctors or any other health professional.
We consult a dentist for tooth problems, doctors for medical problem, then why not consult a dietitian for diet or nutrition related problems. Unfortunately, currently our country does not have a dietetic council which can put a hold on the wrong dietetic practice. . So do consult a qualified dietitian.
After all,
Better Nutrition, Better Lives!!!

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