98% of the people that I speak to have not spoken to a nutrition professional before. When I say a nutrition professional, I mean someone that has the right qualifications, has sufficient experience providing dietary advice and puts their clients' needs first and foremost.
One of the reasons for this is there are not that many of us! In fact there are just 6 across the whole of the Birmingham region. We are special in every sense!
Another is that for whatever reason, we feel we should be able to do it (lose weight, find more energy, deal with food intolerance etc.) on our own. That sadly, it is a failure to ask for help, yet currently the public are more confused than ever about what they should be eating.
Lastly, most people don't know where to get professional nutritional advice from. You don't have to go it alone and try and work it out for yourself. A trial and error approach is often a long and frustrating journey. Going to an expert, just as you would if you needed a tooth filling, were filing for divorce or planning your retirement means you are much more likely to get a successful and faster outcome.
You may have been given some vague advice by your GP (you might be lucky enough to be referred to a dietitian) or perhaps a PT has given you a plan to go with your gym programme. Most likely you've asked your friend or Dr Google; how do you know it meets YOUR needs, that it is safe and based on current science rather than anecdotes? Exactly!
A dietitian is registered with the HCPC (The Health and Care Professions Council) who are there to protect the public. They are the only form of nutritionist regulated by UK law, although this is set to change because currently, nutritionist is not a protected title. Hence celebrities and food bloggers, personal trainers and your next door neighbour could call themselves a nutritionist.
Just to add, registered dietitians (RD) have the specialist skills of clinical diagnosis and treat nutritional problems through prescribing nutrition on drug charts (such as specialist supplements that may need administering directly into the blood stream or stomach).
That is why you need to look for a Registered Nutritionist - that's what I am and that is why I have the letters RNutr. after my name.
1. A Registered Nutritionist provides recommendations you can trust. They will have a first degree in Nutrition and most likely a postgraduate degree in a specialist nutrition area too. They won't advise faddy diets; the advice you receive will be safe and appropriate.
2. The register is held by the UK Association for Nutrition (AfN) whose key role is to protect the public. Similar to the HCPC, the AfN is committed to the promotion of strong evidence-based nutrition. Every registrant must meet science based competencies in nutrition and abide by their rigorous Code of Ethics. The NHS approve and recommend Registered Nutritionists. Nutritional Therapists are not eligible to register with either the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) or the HCPC.
Nutritional therapists encompass the use of recommendations for diet and lifestyle in order to alleviate or prevent ailments, often based on complementary ‘medicine’ recommendations not recognised as valid treatment in conventional medicine. These recommendations may include guidance on detoxification, colonic irrigation, the avoidance of ingestion or inhalation of ‘toxins’ or ‘allergens’ and the use of supplementary nutrients.
3. Prevention is better than cure. A Registered Nutritionist is qualified to provide personal advice and support; plans with strategies to take control of your health. If you are predisposed to certain genetic conditions or have a family history of illness, a registered nutritionist's specialty is coming up with practical advice to make sure you can minimise the risks. They will help you understand food, your body and the impact your lifestyle may have on your health.
4. A good registered nutritionist is effective at coaching. Consulting is only half of the work I do; to provide dietary and lifestyle advice. The other essential approach is coaching clients to find their solutions. This involves skilled questioning and exploration of ideas to problem solve and overcome their barriers and challenges. Coaching is effectively putting the advice into action. Then you get results.
5. A registered nutritionist will not try to sell you good health. In fact you can't buy good health, it takes effort, motivation and commitment. You, the client have to be ready for action and change. It is a waste of everyone's time and unethical dishing out generic advice and plans to people who don't want help.
If you would like to contact a Registered Nutritionist in your area, then do check out the Public listing and look out for this logo:
I hope that helps :-)
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