Not only is March National Nutrition Month but today is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day! In honor of this day and all the amazing work RDNs do throughout the year, I compiled a few great reasons to work with a registered dietitian.
- You have been diagnosed with pre diabetes, type 2 diabetes, hypertension or kidney disease
These diseases are highly preventable and manageable with diet alone. An RDN can help you manage your disease, prevent further complications, possibly reduce or eliminate pricey medical procedures and create sustainable individualized care-plans to meet your specific needs.
- You want to lose or gain weight
According to the CDC about 78.6 million US adults are considered obese. Some of the leading causes of preventable death are associated with obesity. Medical costs of obesity annually are around $150 billion US dollars. An RDN has all the resources to make your weight loss goals a realty. For those of you that are looking to fill in, an RDN can help you gain weight too. Once you have reached your goals an RDN will help you maintain your target weight.
- You have digestion problems, food sensitivities or allergies
Feeling bloated, constipated or are things running a little too smooth on that end? IBS, Crohns disease, Celiac’s disease, allergies and sensitivities could be the culprit. An RDN might try a food elimination plan to get to the real issue or more comprehensive labs/ tests may be needed. Once the results are in an RDN will be an invaluable resource for menu planning, shopping for ingredients, label reading and more.
- You want to eat healthier
Any diet can be made “healthier”. An RDN has the formula for balanced nutrition whether you are maintaining a paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, gluten-free, whole 30, low carb/ high fat, mediterranean, whatever, diet.
- You or your teenager has issues with food
Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder are a few eating disorders (EDs) that can be very serious. Though more common in the teenage years, EDs can arise at any time. An RDN may work along side psychotherapists and other health professionals in an ED recovery program or may be certified as a specialist in EDs through the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals.
- You’re pregnant or want to become pregnant
If you are pregnant your body needs additional nutrients through each stage of pregnancy. You are NOT eating for two and doubling your portions is not recommended, remember too little or too much weight gain can cause complications during and after pregnancy. An RDN can work with you throughout you journey and even after the baby is born, some RDNs are Certified Lactation Consultants.
If you have been trying to become pregnant and are having a rough time believe it or not an RDN may be able to help. For instance, Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOS), an endocrine disorder, can affect fertility and is often associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. The mainstay
of treatment for PCOS is weight loss. A weight loss of only 5 percent can improve insulin resistance, associated with PCOS and increase fertility.
- You want to improve sports performance
Food is the fuel for our bodies so it makes sense that what we put in our bodies affects their performance. This is even more important if you are performing at a competitive level. Did you know most professional sports teams hire RDNs to keep their athletes on top of their game? For example, Leslie Bonci MPH RD CSSD LDN is the sports dietitian for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins, University of Pittsburgh Department of Athletics, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Toronto Blue Jays .
- You’re aging or caring for an elderly person
Well the aging part is all of us I guess. Our nutrition needs change and grow much as we do. As a baby we actually need more nutrients than anytime throughout our lives to help us grow and develop. As we become adults our needs level off as our activity decreases. The elderly, however need more nutrients once again as their bodies utilize nutrients less and triggers for hunger and thirst start to fail. Malnutrition in the elderly can quickly lead to a decline in activities of daily living and a decrease in quality of life. An RDN can help an aging person maintain musculature and strength to combat the natural decline and live a more fulfilling life at all stages.
Remember not all dietitians are the same. Do your research and find one that fits your needs. Many RDNs specialize (just like physicians) and have certifications in their field of interest. Some certifications include weight management, oncology, vegetarian/ vegan nutrition, renal, pediatric, gerontological, bariatrics, sports nutrition, certified LEAP therapist, culinary and certified diabetes educator. Plus there are many many more. Also many health insurance plans cover the cost of an RDN visit, so contact your provider to see what is covered.