Mediterranean Diet named “Best Overall Diet”

mediterranean diet

Are you going on a diet as part of your New Year’s Resolution? You may want to try the Mediterranean diet. A panel of nutrition experts through the U.S. News & World Report recently rated the Mediterranean diet as Number One in its “Best Overall Diet Category,” tied with the DASH Diet.

Unlike fad diets, the Mediterranean diet is a well-balanced eating plan that is sustainable. It reflects the traditional way of eating in countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea, where the incidence of heart disease is much lower than in the United States. The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes physical activity and social connections. The core foods that should be incorporated daily include: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, and olive oil. Fish and seafood are eaten at least twice a week and dairy, eggs and poultry are eaten in moderation. Red meat and sweets are rarely eaten. The Mediterranean was also named the diet that is “Easiest to follow.”

Follow these tips from Oldways to get started with the Mediterranean Diet.

  1. Eat lots of vegetables. Aim to fill at least half of your plate with vegetables. Slice tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil and top with feta cheese, toss a variety of veggies in soups and stews, make a salad with plenty of greens, and top a pizza with your favorite colorful vegetables.
  2. Eat less meat. Include smaller portions of red meat and use it as a side dish rather than the main entrée. Beans are packed in protein, so rather than using meat, add chickpeas to salads, pinto beans into a quesadilla or dip veggies into hummus.
  3. Enjoy dairy products. Greek Yogurt is a great choice and is high in protein.
  4. Eat seafood twice a week. Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon and sardines are rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Try adding grilled fish to pasta marinara or to whole-wheat couscous.
  5. Cook a vegetarian meal one night per week. Use beans, whole grains, and vegetables as the base of your meal. Flavor with plenty of herbs and spices. Try pasta with vegetables, minestrone soup, or steamed veggies over brown rice.
  6. Use heart healthy fats. Fatty fish, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, olives and avocados are good sources of healthy fat. Make olive oil your go-to cooking oil and toss nuts with sautéed vegetables. Make a trail mix using your favorite dried fruits, whole-grain cereal, nuts and seeds.
  7. Switch to whole grains. Whole grains are high in fiber, which help to keep you full for longer. Bulgur, barley, farro and brown, black or red rice are traditional Mediterranean grains.
  8. Choose fresh fruit for dessert. Instead of ice cream or cookies, choose fruit, which is naturally sweet.

Wholesome Holiday Platters

Image result for party platters healthy

Would it really be a family gathering without a party platter? Veggie trays, pretzels and dip, and sausage, cheese and crackers: perhaps these have become your go-to appetizers as well. Platters are versatile and can be easily adapted to accommodate for friends’ and family’s dietary needs.

A platter is an easy way to appease your guests’ appetites in a tasty and healthy way. Here are some tips for building your best party platter, to nourish the people you love:

  1.  A rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Try to incorporate different textures, shapes, and colors. This will lead to both a pretty plate and a balanced assortment of nutrients. Unsweetened dried cranberries, pineapple, dates, and banana chips can also be tasty additions and pair well with nuts.Image result for dried fresh fruit platter
  2.  Unsalted nuts. Nuts contain heart healthy fats and filling protein that will keep friends and family satisfied until the main event. Go with the unsalted variety, as most Americans consume over twice the daily recommended amount of sodium.
  3.  Lower-saturated-fat dips. Instead of the usual sour cream or cream cheese based dips, lighten things up! Tzatziki 10 glowThink homemade guacamole filled with heart healthy fats, creamy tzatziki, a store-bought hummus or a low-sodium tomato salsa. Click here for an easy tzatziki (Greek yogurt & cucumber) dip recipe that has only 5 ingredients!
  4.  Satisfying cheeses. Include flavor-filled cheeses that taste best in moderation. Full-flavor cheeses, such as sharp cheddar, brie, smoked Swiss, and Fontina, can be sliced thin, so you can still enjoy the rich flavors without over-doing it on the portion size.  Cheese is high in saturated fat and sodium, but by choosing a higher-quality, fuller-flavor cheese, you will likely feel more satisfied and eat less than if you were to display a mild provolone, for example. Support local! Check out Mineral Point’s award-winning artisan cheese superstars at Hook’s Cheese, for a wide selection of specialty cheeses.
  5. Something crunchy. Crackers, pretzels, and carrot and celery sticks can all be crunchy, dip-ready additions to a party platter. Go for a cracker made from whole grains and less than 200 mg sodium per serving. Pretzels are generally low in fat and can also be a healthy vehicle for dip, but try to opt for a lower-sodium version. Crostini are another popular choice for appetizer platters – crunchy, crispy, and ready for toppings. Choose a whole grain bread and use olive oil. Check out this healthy crostini recipe from Martha Stewart. Carrot and celery sticks are healthy, nutrient-packed choices and are also a great option if you have a gluten-free party guest.

 

 

Calories In, Calories Out

calorie

You may have heard of the newest diet fad called CICO, short for “Calories In, Calories Out.” The premise is that you can eat whatever you want, junk food included, as long as you expend more calories than you consume. This simplified diet approach does not take into account the nutritional value of the food one consumes and only focuses on the total caloric intake. Unfortunately, a fad approach to dieting, such as CICO, often backfires in the long run and is generally difficult to maintain.

Being healthy isn’t about calories alone. It is important to consider the whole package of the foods you are eating. Essentially, 100 calories of fresh fruit and vegetables is not the same nutritionally as 100 calories of candy. By following a CICO diet, you may lose weight, however, it is possible that your diet may be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals.

The bottom line is that it is important to look at more than just calories. In order to provide optimal health benefit and prevent chronic diseases, including osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease, it is necessary to include a variety of foods from all of the food groups. If essential nutrients are missing from your diet, overall health can be compromised.

If CICO isn’t the answer to weight loss, what is? Rather than choosing a fad diet, embrace the idea of long-term nutritious eating and exercise. When we shift our focus to an overall healthier lifestyle, we are more likely to achieve and maintain an appropriate weight. Focus on being healthy rather than being thin and remember that well-being is

Keep your Diet on Track during the Holidays

holiday eating

The average American gains 1 pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Although this doesn’t sound like much, most people do not lose this weight when the holidays are over, and it begins to accumulate year after year. Even the most disciplined people can find it difficult to stick to their health routines during the holidays. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to stay on track this year:

  1. Don’t show up to a holiday party on an empty stomach. Many people make the mistake of “saving up” their daily calories in order to indulge at a party. This can result in overeating, so enjoy a sensible snack beforehand, such as a handful of nuts and some fresh fruit.
  2. Once you arrive at the holiday party, choose mostly healthy options. Pick two or three of your favorite less healthy items, and fill the rest of your plate with nutritious foods. If you are bringing a dish to the party, choose fresh fruit, vegetables with dip, pita chips and hummus, salsa and whole grain chips, or cheese and whole grain crackers.
  3. Be aware of calorie rich drinks. Eggnog, for example, can contain 350 calories or more per glass. Alcohol contains lots of empty calories, so stick to moderate alcohol intake, which is equivalent to 1 alcoholic beverage per day for women and 2 for men. Furthermore, alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases the likelihood of overeating. Rather than high calorie drinks, stay hydrated with water. Drink a large glass of water before a meal to fill you up. Aim for at least six to eight glasses of water per day.
  4. Manage your stress and stay active. The holidays can be a busy time of year, and during times of stress, people tend to skip exercise and forgo healthy eating. Exercise is a great stress reliever, so be sure to set aside time for physical activity. Plan your workouts for the week so they are a part of your daily schedule.
  5. Track your food intake and activity level. This helps you to be more aware of the amount of calories you are consuming and burning. Even if you do eat higher calorie foods, choosing smaller portion sizes will help you to stay within your daily caloric goals.
  6. Remember that the holiday is just a single day. In reality, one day of indulgence won’t break your health goals, however, many people get into the pattern of indulging during the entire season. Enjoy the holiday, but don’t let that lead to an entire season of poor nutrition and physical activity habits.

Remember that the holiday season is more than just about food. Focus on taking the opportunity to connect with friends and family. If you do indulge, do so mindfully and in moderation. Take steps to engage in healthy behaviors that will help you to stay on track during the holiday season.

World Diabetes Day

Image result for world diabetes day

World Diabetes Day was created by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes across the globe.

Diabetes, which is a group of conditions characterized by elevated blood glucose (sugar), affects over 30 million children and adults in the United States, which is 1 in 11 Americans. Outside of this, 84 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes; 90% of these individuals are not even aware their blood sugars are elevated. Every 21 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. If current trends continue, studies project that as many as one in three American adults could have diabetes by 2050.

Outside of the staggering growth of the diabetes epidemic, there are economic implications as well. The total cost of diabetes and prediabetes in the United States is about $322 billion annually, including both direct medical costs and reduced productivity. These costs are a burden on employers as well as employees and continue to increase year after year. For example, the average price of insulin alone has nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013!

Prevention is the key to successfully decreasing these staggering statistics on diabetes, with the focus on type 2 diabetes, which accounts for about 90% of diagnosed cases in the United States. There are many factors that put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and unfortunately some of them are out of your control; for instance genetics or race. However, focusing on those factors you can control is the best prevention method:

Control Your Weight

Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes. Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes seven fold. Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight.

Losing weight can help if your weight is above the healthy-weight range. Losing 7 to 10 percent of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half.

Get Moving—and Turn Off the Television

Inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes. Working your muscles more often and making them work harder improves their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. Studies suggest that walking briskly for a half hour every day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 percent.

Television-watching appears to be an especially-detrimental form of inactivity: Every two hours you spend watching TV instead of pursuing something more active increases the chances of developing diabetes by 20 percent; it also increases the risk of heart disease (15 percent) and early death (13 percent). The more television people watch, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, and this seems to explain part of the TV viewing-diabetes link. The unhealthy diet patterns associated with TV watching may also explain some of this relationship.

Tune Up Your Diet

Four dietary changes can have a big impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes:

  1. Increase the fiber in your diet by eating more whole fruits and vegetables and whole or intact grains. Fiber has been shown to decrease spikes in blood sugar and help the body manage blood sugars better. In addition, foods high in fiber tend to also be high in necessary vitamins and minerals.
  2.  Skip the sugary drinks, and choose water, coffee, or tea instead. Sugary drinks, such as regular soda, juice and energy drinks cause blood sugars to spike, provide no nutritional value and aid in weight gain.
  3. Choose healthy, unsaturated fats, such as olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters and fish, instead of unhealthy, trans fats or hydrogenated oils, such as the ones found in highly processed snack foods, fast food restaurants and fried foods.
  4. Watch your red meat consumption, including beef and pork, and avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and sausages.

If You Smoke, Try to Quit

Add type 2 diabetes to the long list of health problems linked with smoking. Smokers are roughly 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk.

Alcohol Now and Then May Help

A growing body of evidence links moderate alcohol consumption with reduced risk of heart disease. The same may be true for type 2 diabetes. Moderate amounts of alcohol—up to a drink a day for women, up to two drinks a day for men—increases the efficiency of insulin at getting glucose inside cells. And some studies indicate that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you already drink alcohol, the key is to keep your consumption in the moderate range, as higher amounts of alcohol could increase diabetes risk. If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start—you can get the same benefits by losing weight, exercising more, and changing your eating patterns.

Diabetes can be a serious disease and is becoming a problem epidemic in the United States. Prevention is the best medicine; keep these strategies in mind for better blood sugar management!

Related image

Men’s Health: Prostate Cancer & Suicide

healthy-man

Have you heard of “Movember” or “No shave November”?

Each November, you may notice men growing out a mustache or beard to raise awareness about men’s health issues, such as prostate and testicular cancers as well as suicide. Check out movember.com and no-shave.org for more information.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among American men. Most men with prostate cancer are older than 65. Luckily, most prostate tumors are slow-growing, and the risk of death is relatively low – only 3%. Men have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer with advanced age, if they are African-American, or have a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer.

People often wonder about the link between nutrition and cancer. While nutrition may not fully prevent you from getting cancer, due to factors such as genetics, many studies have shown that certain foods and dietary patterns are associated with better outcomes and quality of life. Some studies also show that physical activity interventions enhance quality of life of the individual, and may reduce cancer-related fatigue.

Check out our recommendations below to reduce your risk:

Lifestyle changes:

  • Keep moving! Regular aerobic exercise is associated with a reduced prostate cancer risk. Aim for 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
  • Get regular screenings.
    • Digital rectal exams can help to detect changes in the prostate gland. Screenings generally begin at age 50 in healthy men.
    • The PSA test can help to measure cancer markers but the test sometimes produces false positives and false negatives. Discuss what screening method is right for you with your doctor.

Nutrition:

  • Take a multivitamin which includes vitamin D and antioxidants, especially selenium.
  • Eat little to no red meat and reduce saturated fat intake.
    • Diets high in red meat and saturated fat have been correlated with an increased risk for prostate cancer.
  • Eat more vegetables, especially more tomatoes, tomato sauce, and watermelon. Tomatoes and watermelon contain lycopene, a carotenoid. Higher intakes of lycopene have been associated with reduced risk of getting prostate cancer.
  • Eat whole soy foods, such as miso, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, and edamame (whole soybeans in the pod). One or two servings per day is recommended. Soy contains genistein, an isoflavone that helps normalize hormone levels and seems to be linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
    • Avoid highly processed soy, such as soy protein isolate, soy supplements, and soy ‘junk foods’ like soy ice cream, soy oil, and soy burgers.
  • Eat fish at least once per week. Fish intake is associated with lower risk of prostate cancer.
  • Eat more fiber. Fiber helps in the elimination of hormones such as testosterone which influence changes in the prostate.
  • Drink green tea. Research shows that the antioxidant compound EGCG found in green tea kills prostate cancer cells in the test tube. Another compound in green tea blocks the actions of an enzyme that promotes prostate cancer.

foodmediterraneanblog

Suicide

  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2015
  • Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle age – white men in particular

If you or someone you know is battling severe depression or suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. It’s never too late to reach out to a friend or family member for support. We need you.

Suicide prevention resources from the WI Dept of Health Services:

https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/mh/suicideprev.htm

 

References

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/prostatecancer/index.htm

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10552-015-0659-4

https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12885-016-3022-6

https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/cancer/prostate-cancer/

 

National Diabetes Month

Image result for national diabetes monthToday, 24 million Americans are living with diabetes and 57 million more are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “Even though diabetes can seem overwhelming, there is support for every patient,” says Jackie Wilkinson, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. “It is my job to make sure that every patient gets the attention and care they need and deserve to live a long and happy life with diabetes.”

This January (2018), Upland Hills Health will be launching our Diabetes Self Management Program (DSMP), accredited by the American Diabetes Association. Patients recently diagnosed with diabetes, or who have not received diabetes education, will be eligible for 10 hours of diabetes education, in both individual and group settings, covering a wide variety of topics including general nutrition, meal planning, grocery store navigation, basic food prep, blood sugar monitoring, treatment of high and low blood sugar, sick day management, foot care, long term complication management, emotional aspects/coping strategies, physical activity, and much more.

“We ask our diabetic patients to do so much,” says Jackie, “from checking blood sugars multiple times per day to completely changing how they eat to remembering to take medications, all while trying to have a good outlook on this difficult condition. We need to provide support and education for our patients to thrive and that is where the Diabetes Self Management Program comes in.”

If you are interested in learning more about the DSMP, ask your Primary Care Provider. The DSMP requires a provider referral for insurance reimbursement. Most insurance companies will cover most, if not all, the costs associated with Diabetes Self Management Education; however if you have questions, your insurance company can answer them most accurately.

Image result for national diabetes month

Healthy Halloween Habits

halloween

Halloween is a great opportunity to teach your kids about healthy habits and moderation. Based on the nutrition labels on popular candy, the average child accumulates 3,500 to 7,000 calories worth of treats on Halloween. That doesn’t mean that the holiday can’t be any fun, however. Think of this as a learning opportunity for your children. If your child generally follows a healthy diet, it is perfectly fine to let them indulge in a little candy on Halloween. Sheltering kids from sweets and treats doesn’t teach them how to manage and regular their eating. Follow these tips to help your children to enjoy Halloween treats without overindulging.

  • Eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating. If your kids are full before heading out, they will be less hungry to overeat candy during the evening.
  • Incorporate exercise into trick-or-treating. Encourage your kids to walk from house to house instead of driving them. You can even give your kids a pedometer to wear to so they can see how far they walk on Halloween night.
  • Let your kids indulge a bit on Halloween, but teach them how to incorporate candy into their diets by following appropriate portion sizes in the days afterwards. After Halloween, let your kids have 1-3 pieces of candy per day so that they learn that unhealthy foods can be incorporated into a healthy diet in moderation. Offer candy at lunch, as part of an after school snack, or as a dessert after dinner.
  • Teach your kids that there are “everyday” foods and “special occasion” foods. Wholesome foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy are important to incorporate into your diet every day. Candy is a “special occasion” food can be incorporated into a healthy diet once in a while.
  • Use this opportunity to teach your kids about mindful eating and help them learn to be in tune with the signals their body sends them when they are full. Encourage them to stop eating before they feel full or sick. Teach them to savor and enjoy small amounts of treats as a part of a healthy diet.
  • Be a role model by eating Halloween candy in moderation yourself. To avoid temptation, buy Halloween candy at the last minute and be sure to give it all away to trick or treaters. Show your kids that you can follow a balanced diet and eat treats in moderation.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Keep candy in the kitchen hidden in a cupboard rather than letting your kids store candy in their bedrooms. When it is out of sight, your children will be less likely to grab and eat mindlessly.
  • If you are looking for healthier treats to hand out on Halloween, animal crackers, granola bars, whole grain cheddar cheese crackers, sugar free hot chocolate, popcorn, pretzels, and raisins are good options.
  • Consider handing out non-food treats, such as spider rings, stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, erasers, Play-Doh, sugar-free gum, glow sticks or little bottles of bubbles.

Remember that Halloween is one day of the year. If your family follows a sensible diet during the remainder of the year, one day of indulgence is okay. Use this opportunity to teach your kids how to incorporate treats into a healthy diet.

 

World Vegan Day

vegan-diet-

November 1st is World Vegan Day. Worldwide, many people celebrate by attending festivals, potlucks, and advocating for veganism.

Veganism

A vegan diet is entirely plant-based – no animal products or byproducts are eaten. Some vegans eat honey, while others do not. Vegans also avoid purchasing products made with real feathers and leather. Many vegans follow a plant based diet because they value animal rights and the environment, and wish to align their morals with their purchasing power. Some reasons vegans cite for their choices:

  • Animals raised for meat, dairy, and eggs often live in conditions that restrict access to sunlight or having living in extremely close quarters, resulting in stress to the animal.
  • Cutting down on animal product consumption can help to save large quantities of water used to raise livestock and their feed.
  • Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is occurring at an ever-increasing rate. Wood-related production contributes to this trend, but the World Bank found that animal agriculture is responsible for “91 percent of Amazon destruction, with one to two acres of rainforest being cleared every second.”
  • Approximately 75% of the world’s fisheries are either exploited or depleted due to fishing, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Vegetarianism, pescatarian, & flexitarian diets

Vegetarianism, on the other hand, is mostly plant-based but also includes dairy and eggs. Pescatarians do not eat meat, but they do eat fish.

Sometimes people use the term “flexitarian” if they are trying to eat a mostly plant-based diet, but sometimes include animal products. For example, they might aim to purchase mostly plant-based foods at the grocery store, but will have animal products if they are out to eat or on special occasions.

Reasons that vegetarians and pescatarians cite for their diet choices include some of the same points noted above, but may also include:

  • Health issues, such as heart conditions, may be benefited from a decrease in saturated fat found in animal meat.
  • Reducing their overall food bill by reducing or eliminating the purchase of meat.
  • They simply don’t like the taste of meat.

Common Questions

I don’t want to stop eating meat, but I love animals and care about the environment. What do I do?

  • Support local farmers! Buy local, from farmers you know and trust to have humane agricultural practices.
    • We are fortunate to live in an area with access to fresh, local meat from cows that graze in pasture and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
  • Eat meat, but eat less. Stick to 3-4 oz portion sizes. Try to eat meatless meals several times a week to cut down on your environmental impact.

Are there any risks to eating a plant-based diet?

  • Vegans may need to supplement B12 in their diet, because this vitamin is primarily found in animal sources. Some cereals, soy products, and plant-based milks are fortified with B12.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are only found in fish, fish oils, and some specialty egg/dairy products. ALA is a plant source of omega-3’s, found in flaxseed, canola oil, and walnuts. Our bodies can make EPA and DHA from ALA, but this process is very limited; research suggests that only 10% of ALA consumed is converted to EPA & DHA.
    • This is important to consider if transitioning to a completely plant-based diet. Including fatty fish like salmon or mackerel 2-3 times per week or taking a supplement will help you to get enough of these essential fatty acids in your diet.

How will I get enough protein?

  • A well-rounded vegan diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, beans/legumes, nuts, and seeds.
    • This type of diet may require more planning and cooking than an omnivorous diet, in order to get enough protein and calories
  • Plant protein sources include beans, legumes, nuts and nut butters, seeds, soy (soy beans/edamame, tofu, tempeh, TVP), & seitan.
  • Most healthy adults need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. A 40-year-old, 150 lb person would need approximately 55 g of protein per day.
    • The NHANES survey from 2007-2008 found that the average American male eats 102 g protein per day, and the average female eats about 70 g. Many people are consuming more protein than they actually need.

What are the health benefits of a plant-based diet?

  • Saturated fat comes from animal products and tropical oils such as palm or coconut oil. A plant-based diet is generally low in saturated fat.
  • A plant-based diet is high in fiber & naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
  • If you are preparing more meals from whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you are likely eating far less sodium than you would if you were eating pre-packaged foods or processed meats and cheeses.

Try this (surprisingly) vegan ramen recipe for an easy & cozy weeknight meal:

https://minimalistbaker.com/easy-vegan-ramen/

Resources:

Link to watch Earthlings documentary: http://www.nationearth.com/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/water-conservation-tips/

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/758171468768828889/pdf/277150PAPER0wbwp0no1022.pdf

http://dailyutahchronicle.com/2017/04/18/environmental-impact-veganism/

How Can a Dietitian Help You?

RDN

A Registered Dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who is qualified to help you to improve your nutritional status. A dietitian has met academic and professional requirements including:

  • Earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. This includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Completed at least 1200 hours of an accredited, supervised practice program.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Maintains registration by completing at least 75 continuing professional education hours every five years.

Over half of Registered Dietitians hold advanced degrees, such as Master’s degrees, MBAs, or PhDs.  Many hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric, renal, oncology, sports, gerontological, diabetes or nutrition support.

A Registered Dietitian is uniquely qualified to provide you with evidence-based, easy to understand nutrition advice. Here are a few benefits of working with a Registered Dietitian:

  • The highest level of nutrition counseling. Anybody can call themselves a nutritionist, but only a Registered Dietitian has completed extensive education and training established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Individualized care. When you meet with a dietitian, you will not get one-size-fits-all advice. After learning about your health history and eating and exercise habits, a Registered Dietitian will help you to set realistic goals. The dietitian will help you to maintain your progress over the long run.
  • Help to manage chronic diseases. A Registered Dietitian can help you to learn what to eat to manage high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. The dietitian can review your labs with you, help you to understand your chronic condition, and provide education about the impact of what you eat. The dietitian can help you develop an eating plan that can better manage your health condition.
  • Navigate food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. When you suffer from food allergies or celiac disease, it is easy to be overwhelmed by what you cannot eat. The dietitian can teach you to read food labels so you will have a better understanding of how to maintain a balanced diet that includes all of the important nutrients.
  • Maintain an appropriate weight. A Registered Dietitian can help you to develop a healthy eating and exercise plan to maintain a healthy weight. Fad diets are a quick and easy way to lose weight, but not sustainable long term. The dietitian can help you to learn lifestyle habits that are safe and effective, such as meal planning, grocery shopping, food journaling, and mindful eating.

Medical Nutrition Therapy provided by a Registered Dietitian is covered by a variety of insurance plans, including commercial insurance and Medicare Part B. Under the Medicare Part B Program, you are eligible to receive nutrition services for diabetes and kidney disease. You may be eligible for at least three hours of Medical Nutrition Therapy services in the first year of care and two hours each additional year. Individuals with Medicare Part B are also eligible to receive 10 hours of diabetes self-management education taught by a Certified Diabetes Educator, who could also be a Registered Dietitian, during the first year and two hours each subsequent year.  If you have commercial insurance, check with your carrier for specific medical nutrition therapy coverage details. Many plans cover nutrition counseling for a wide variety of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Ask your doctor if a referral to a Registered Dietitian is right for you. With your physician’s referral, you can make an appointment to work with a dietitian to set nutrition goals and improve your health.