Nutritionists in the 21st century

As obesity continues to skyrocket in the United States for both children and adults, people often wonder what they should eat and what is good for them. Conflicting information on diets (protein, no protein, “good” carbs, “bad” carbs, trans fats, etc.) continues to confuse most media listeners. Nutritionists can help unravel the facts and myths of 21st century nutrition and food, and help determine the best foods to eat.

Nutritionists are health care specialists who help answer questions about nutrition, health, and diet. Based on their knowledge and experience, they can give advice on what to eat for preventive nutrition or for certain health ailments and illnesses, establish healthy eating guidelines, and assist with meal and menu planning.

As the population continues to age, more and more people are seeking the advice of nutritionists for solid information on what they should eat. Many diseases, such as digestive problems, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and obesity, can be improved or controlled through healthy eating. Athletes and children also see nutritionists on a regular basis so they can improve athletic performance or address health problems at an earlier age.

The terms nutritionists and dietitians are sometimes used interchangeably, which can cause confusion; A registered dietitian is a licensed healthcare worker who has earned a bachelor’s degree and passed a national exam administered by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). A dietitian does the same tasks as a nutritionist, but may be more involved with meal planning aspects in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.

Certified nutritionists are certified by the American Board of Nutrition or the Nutrition Specialist Certification Board and have advanced degrees in nutrition or medicine. If a person is not certified, they may not have the proper credentials in terms of formal education or training. If you are seeing a nutritionist, ask to see their credentials. There are certificate programs that individuals can take that provide formal education, but which may not be recognized by the state.

For those struggling with weight or health issues, a visit to a nutritionist is a must. They can give good advice and develop eating guidelines and plans based on a person’s health and lifestyle. Individual nutritional counseling can be much more effective than general suggestions, as it is designed specifically for an individual. It is especially important to involve children with nutritionists if they have health or weight problems, as habits can be more easily reformed at an earlier age.

Nutrition information in the 21st century is a confusing mass of information where ideas, diets, and conflicting advice abound. It is extremely difficult to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. Talk to trained nutritionists to find out which foods are right for you and how you can become healthier through what you eat.

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