Who do we trust? Nutrition sense not non-sense
How do you take the “nuts” out of “nutrition”? Simple – ask a dietitian: the recognized experts in nutrition. Dr Frankie Phillips, registered dietitian and The British Dietetic Association (BDA) spokesperson says: “There are so many claims about diet and health bandied around it can sometimes be difficult to know what to believe. An increased interest in the role of food and diet in maintaining health, or managing disease, has never been so popular in the media, but this popularity can permit self-styled nutritionists to promote their unique and sometimes inaccurate interpretation of nutrition to a public hungry for information. Sometimes the diet doctrines dictated by self-styled nutrition gurus and ‘experts’ either seem too good to be true, i.e. eat all you want and still lose weight, or simply beyond the realms of possibility for most people, for example, you need to sprout your own seeds every day or only eat raw foods. In fact, dietitians can make sense out of nutrition science, turning evidence from the research into really practical suggestions for what to eat.”
Sometimes it’s difficult to know who to trust as a source of reliable information because there are several different titles used to describe professionals working in the field of nutrition. Some confusion arises from the variety of qualifications available, and the different institutions involved, but there is also some common ground and overlap in the areas of practice. The title ‘dietitian’ is legally protected by the Health Professions Council (HPC). All registered dietitians (RDs) have a university degree or post-graduate qualification, based on nutrition science, with clinical knowledge and the ability to translate this practically gained during supervised training in both clinical and community settings. Many dietitians work in hospitals and GP clinics, advising individuals in need of therapeutic dietary intervention.
Dietitians also work in many other areas, supporting community, education and public health bodies through the application of evidence-based nutritional knowledge to improve food choices. Dietitians are expert in both the science and the communication of nutrition, and HPC registration ensures that dietitians are safe and competent to practice, adhere to a strict code of ethics, and must maintain their professional status through continued professional development. Most dietitians are also members of their professional body, The British Dietetic Association.
In contrast, the title ‘nutritionist’ is less defined, and is not legally protected, encompassing graduate
nutritionists, as well as those who have undertaken part-time or distance learning courses. There are several degree level courses in nutrition, and upon qualification, many register as nutritionists (RNutr) or as public health nutritionists (RPHNutr) with The Nutrition Society.
The British Dietetic Association has a website dedicated to promoting scientifically sound nutrition advice that everyone can trust, and provides a dedicated hot line just for journalists to speak to qualified dietitians and get to the real facts, avoiding misleading and potentially dangerous advice being given to the public. For the clear experts in nutrition call the hotline on 0870 850 2517 or go to www.bda.uk.com for the latest food fact sheets on everything from soya to sugar and hot topics, including the real truth about how much fluid we need. Remember, you can trust a dietitian to know about nutrition.
For further details about The British Dietetic Association, please visit our websites: www.bda.uk.com, www.bdaweightwise.com, www.teenweightwise.com