According to the regulation of healthcare professionals, a Dietitian-nutritionist is the healthcare professional legally qualified to perform diet and food-related activities for patients (always individualising the recommendations according to the physiological and/or pathological conditions), and to provide nutritional advise and treatment.

Currently, we live in the era of information, and it is becoming increasingly easier to find food-related advice and recommendations in magazines, newspapers and, of course, on the internet. However, it is very important to take into account that not all the information available out there is reliable and up to date. What it’s more, all of this flood of information is very ambivalent and what according to a source is beneficial, it appears as the opposite in a different one. This is why you can find arguments to support a position as easy as to disprove it. Hence the importance to attend a dietitian-nutritionist who will provide with individualised recommendations and always with scientific evidence.

What exactly is a dietitian-nutritionist?

It is very often that when people hear the word “Nutritionist” the first thing that comes to their mind is “lose weight” and “dieting”. However, a dietitian- nutritionist is a healthcare professional whose functions go far beyond this, as they are experts in nutrition and dietetics who not only manage the nutritional treatment in a wide variety of conditions and the nutritional approach in all the stages of life, but also the quality management, food security and, lastly, the prevention of lifestyle and nutrition-related conditions.

A Dietitian-Nutritionist will provide individualised recommendations not only considering the general situation of the patient, namely age, stage of life, associated conditions and so on, but also other personal situations, such as their culture.

When should I go to a Nutritionist and how can it be helpful?

These are some of the reasons why you should attend a consultation:

  • Change of dietary habits to help prevent lifestyle-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia or hypertension, as well as contribute to the nutritional management once diagnosed. In these cases, nutrition is the first line of action, and even when pharmacological treatment is necessary, nutrition is still a key part of the treatment.
  • Specific moments in a woman’s life such as pregnancy or breastfeeding. In these stages, the nutritional requirements are increased, and it is essential to ensure an optimal nutrition intake from all macro and micronutrients.
Por qué acudir a un nutricionista
  • Nutritional approach in all different stages of life from childhood to advanced ages in both health and disease, and always considering the singularities of every different stage.
  • Infant nutrition. Dietary advice in transitioning from exclusive breastfeeding to solid foods, that is, how and when to introduce the different solids gradually. Also, with the baby-led weaning (BLW), which has been on the rise in recent years: precautions, benefits and inconvenients, which foods and how to cook them, textures and much more.
  • Optimisation of the sports performance in order to adapt recommendations according to the type of sport discipline and individual requirements as well as to assess potential needs for supplementation to enhance performance.
  • Gut disorders: fructose and sorbitol intolerance, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), non-celiac gluten intolerance, celiac disease, Chron disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • Nutritional management in other conditions such as renal disease or cancer. Also, in hormonal problems such as hypothalamic amenorrhea.
  • Learn how to eat healthily and nutritional education. You do not have to be sick or have a specific situation to attend a Nutritionist. Sometimes a person might just want to learn how to eat better and make a habit change.
  • Vegetarian diets. Either due to animal welfare reasons, the environment or because of other personal arguments, sometimes a person decides to reduce or eliminate the animal-derived products from their diet to some extent. In any case (ovolactovegetarian, vegan…), a nutritionist can assist in making the transition progressively, and can also provide alternatives to substitute all these products for other plant-based options to make sure that all the important nutrients are covered.

In summary, our health is very important and for that reason we should always aim to find qualified healthcare professionals to always make sure that the dietetic recommendations will be coherent, evidence-based and individualised depending in the individual circumstances.

Carolina Knott Torcal
División of Nutrition
Carolina Knott Torcal
Nutricionist
Adults and adolescents
Languages: English and Spanish
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