â€śNutrition is important!â€ť Â We hear this everywhere we go, from the barista at our local coffee shop to the health, nutrition, or fitness professional weâ€™re paying to get us in shape.Â Nutrition is a major factor, and sometimes the deciding one, when weâ€™re trying to achieve improved health and performance.
The goals for pursuing better nutrition can range from weight loss and changes in body composition, to improving our cardiovascular profiles or strengthening our immune system. Â We, however, live in a society where… we are constantly inundated with self-help and â€śdo-it-yourselfâ€ť guides, and through all of this noise, weâ€™re told nutrition is something we can take on ourselves.Â Research, however, shows that when a person works directly with a health and nutrition professional, long-term improvement is significantly greater.3 Physical and health-related progress in body mass index (BMI), weight, lipid levels, body fat percentage and other risk factors, like high blood pressure, are achieved at a greater level, over a longer period of time.4,5
Professionals will impact the physical changes we achieve, but the education and awareness we gain through this intervention empowers us to make better nutrition choices in the future.3 Â This empowerment may be the most beneficial aspect of a relationship with a professional and can be the most important factor for lasting impacts.
Whatever the reason, deciding to make a lifestyle change through nutrition is a process.Â That process involves first acknowledging a change is needed; second, gaining education and awareness to successfully create that change; and finally, applying the intervention strategies for success and maintenance.Â This â€ś3 step processâ€ť seems simple on paper. Unfortunately, we are saturated with the notion that nutrition interventions are simple, without regard for differences between us as individuals.Â Weight management, for instance, is often seen as just taking in fewer calories.Â The ACSM guidelines for weight loss, for example, recommends 500 fewer calories per day.2 Â With the advancement of nutrition science and application, however, we know that energy balance is only a single component in a web of factors surrounding nutrition for healthy weight management. Â This singular factor can be changed by manipulating meal and nutrient timing, applying strategies for portion control and adjusting macronutrient (carb/protein/fat) percentages.Â A truly effective weight loss program is one that takes advantage of all these techniques while identifying, preventing and correcting any nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to disease, or negative health impacts.Â Doing this properly demands the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional.
A qualified professional will always have the education and experience needed to most effectively address our nutritional needs and goals, theyâ€™re just not always easy to find.Â With the constant advancements of online resources, however, weâ€™re seeing professional interventions more effectively delivered than ever before.Â Professional nutrition consulting and management services are continually changing and improving.Â Â With the power of the internet, we can cut through all the noise to find that effective nutrition management is available to everyone.
Claudia Wilson MS, RD, CSSD, CD
(1)Â â€śAn integral role of the dietitian: Implications of the Diabetes Prevention Program J Am Diet Assoc. 2002 August; 102(8): 1065â€“1068.
(2)Â â€śNutrition in primary care:Â current practices, attitudes and barriersâ€ť Can Family Physician 2010;56:e109-16
(3) â€śThe effectiveness of a nutrition education program for family practice residents conducted by a family practice resident-dietitian.â€ťÂ Family Medicine 1995 Oct; 27(9):576-80.
(4) “Education by a dietitian in patients with heart failure results in improved adherence with a sodium-restricted diet:Â a randomized trial.”Â American Heart Journal 2005 Oct; 150 (4):Â 716
(5) “Effect of Onsite Dietitian Counseling on Weight Loss and Lipid Levels in an Outpatient Physician Office”.Â American Journal of Cardiology.Â 2007 July; 100 (1):Â 73-75.