Dietitians offer healthy eating strategies for health, weight loss

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As every January comes and goes, so do millions of people’s New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or improve their diet. We always caution folks not to resolve to simply shed pounds but instead to focus on making broader lifestyle changes, like getting outside more or eating more colorful, healthful food. These modest measures can have outsized impacts 

Those who can’t go it alone in 2022 could consider a resolution to include a dietitian on their health care team. These professionals, alongside physicians, pharmacists and therapists, can help people reach their wellness goals and stay healthy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

What is a dietitian? Dietitians are college-educated and credentialed health care professionals who receive a license from the state after completing 1,200 hours of supervised practice and passing a national board exam. They must also meet continuing education requirements throughout their careers. Their training is different from nutritionists, who have not met the same rigorous credentialing standards. A helpful hint is to look for the letters – “RD” or “RDN” and “LD” or “LDN” – after their names that signify they are registered and licensed to practice. 

Gary Kracoff and John Walczyk

What do dietitians offer? A dietitian’s scope can vary. Many specialize in certain conditions like gut health or diseases such as cancer or diabetes. They typically educate clients about healthy eating and can counsel them one-on-one on how food choices are affecting their lives, like offering personalized insights on what foods can boost your immune system to help the body defend itself against the coronavirus. A dietitian can help anyone identify their ideal healthy eating strategy by sharing personalized insights on which eating habits would be most beneficial and by making gradual adjustments, because there’s really no such thing as a once-size-fits-all diet plan. 

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