Dietician Services

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Even though many people are becoming increasingly aware that what they eat has a direct impact on their health, how they look, their energy level, their susceptibility to life-threatening illness and much more, few of us know how to go about finding someone to help us decide how to eat.

We remember what our mothers told us about what to eat and maybe a little we learned in health class or what the coach told us, but what about healthy eating as an adult?

There are more than 48,000 registered dietitians in this country who are trained to help you manage a myriad of dietary pitfalls, according to the American Dietetic Association. You'll get the most out of your visits if you consider six important points before you begin your nutrition counseling.

1.     Find a dietitian who fits your style.

What motivates you? Are you the type of person who needs detailed menus and daily "nutrition policing?" If so, you should choose a nutritionist whose counseling style fits your needs. If you only need motivation to follow your diet, then a counselor who pushes bi-weekly meetings and weigh-ins at the office is not right for you. If you're a socially-oriented learner who likes discussing your experiences with others, then be sure to ask about group counseling and support groups. While most nutritionists can accommodate a variety of client styles, it is important to have a good grasp of the amount of motivation, supervision and follow-up you will need to achieve your goals before you set your first appointment.

2.      Have specific goals in mind.

Although a nutritionist will help you define problem areas in your diet through a variety of techniques (interviews, questionnaires, diet recalls and perhaps computer diet analysis), it is up to you to set your goals. Remember, smaller stepwise goals are more easily attained than large, intimidating goals.

3.      Make sure your nutritionist is qualified.

Anyone can get pseudoscientific degrees from nonexistent colleges. Be sure to check the credentials of the nutrition counselor you plan to see. Most professional nutritionists belong to a number of professional associations including the American Dietetic Association, the Society for Nutrition Education and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. These organizations will all verify membership. A Registered Dietician can give advice on how many calories one should be consuming per day, and what the total fat intake should be. Among other things, they are trained to determine diets for diabetics, those with hypoglycemia and those recovering from surgery. Studies have shown that a session with a dietitian can significantly benefit people with chronic disease.

 4.    Be ready for a challenge.

Although the nutritionist is there for motivation, direction and support, it's the client who ultimately has to do the work.

5.      Figure out the finances.

Nutrition counseling usually costs about $30 to $90 per hour, depending upon the extent of the services provided. While some health insurance companies pay for nutrition services, most require services by a registered dietitian that have been prescribed by a physician. Reputable counselors will not require you to purchase special foods from them or a health food store.

6.      Enlist the help of a friend.

Group counseling offers a ready-made supply of support people who know what you are going through. Having a support person can be a bonus to someone struggling with a lifestyle change. Remember, even a support person can get burned-out on hearing about your dietary dilemmas. Be sure not to overdo the midnight phone calls.

Remember, there is a difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist. A dietitian is registered by a state or national board. To become a registered dietitian, one must take a nutrition-focused course load, complete an internship and pass a board exam. On the other hand, a nutritionist does not need to meet any of these criteria. Because a dietitian generally has more qualifications, they tend to be a more reliable source of information.

Your intuition is also important when choosing a dietitian. Although knowledge and experience are important, you also need to be able to work and communicate with your nutrition specialist. Building a rapport takes time, but within the first few sessions you should know whether the relationship is going to work or not.

One more important step is to check references. Ask him or her for information regarding clients and patients he or she has helped. This is also a great way to "test" your nutritionist. If he or she is willing to provide you with contact details of clients that have agreed, then he or she trusts in the good commendation they will give. If he or she refuses to hand out contact information, then you should have second thoughts.

Once you’ve made your selection and begun the consultations, become an active partner in your treatment. Understand the basic reasons behind the diet adjustments and dietary supplements that have been recommended. Chances are, you’ll be more excited about making the changes if you understand the advice and buy into the reasoning.

What is a Registered Dietitian?

A registered dietitian is nutrition professional. Registered dietitians are your most credible, objective source of nutrition information. In addition they are trained in the use of nutrition to prevent and control disease.

Look for the initials RD after your nutritionist’s name. These credentials indicate that the practitioner has completed an accredited four-year educational program, 900 hours of supervised practice, and passed a national exam.

What types of services do registered dietitians offer?

Registered dietitians counsel people on many different topics, including:

Healthy Meals

Weight Control


Kidney Disease

Heart Disease



Food Labels

And Many More

Do Registered Dietitians treat healthy people?

Yes. Registered dietitians help people learn about staying healthy and selecting the right foods. They are your most credible and reliable source of accurate nutrition information. Balance, variety and moderation are the keys to healthful eating. A registered dietitian can help you find a total eating plan that works for you and your lifestyle.

Where do Registered Dietitians work?

Registered Dietitians work throughout your community in hospitals, public health clinics and doctor’s offices.

Does my insurance cover my visit to see a Registered Dietitian?

Many insurance plans will cover your visit to see a registered dietitian. If your insurance company does not, be sure to request this benefit. Medicare allows a certain number of visits for people with diabetes or kidney disease.

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