A registered dietitian (RD) is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and training requirements to earn the RD credential.
A registered dietitian has the expertise to provide nutritional guidance that aims to balance the nutritional content of foods to meet energy, medical, and life balance needs; in other words, medical nutrition therapy (MNT).
Essentially MNT is the process to help our patients develop and coordinate a personalized nutrition plan that assists them to incorporate their cultural preferences/foods, typical eating habits, weight management goals, and life balance while working to achieve health related goals as outlined below:
1. Attain and maintain optimal metabolic outcomes
Blood glucose levels in the normal range (or as close to normal as is safely possible) to prevent or reduce the risk of diabetes complications
Lipid and lipoprotein profile that reduces the risk for vascular disease
Blood pressure level that reduces the risk for vascular disease
2. Prevent, or at least slow, the rate of development of chronic complications by modifying nutritional intake and lifestyle
3. Maintain the pleasure of eating while making food choices indicated by scientific evidence
4. Assess individual nutritional needs taking into consideration lifestyle, personal and cultural preferences, and food security, while respecting the individual’s wishes and willingness to change behavior
5. Assess literacy and other special educational needs related to food and nutrition
MNT is a frequently covered benefit for a variety of health concerns by most health insurers when referred by their primary care provider.
The bottom line: The RD is a life coach that helps people to incorporate health and nutrition knowledge and behavior into their busy lives in order to optimize and sustain improved health outcomes.