How to answer common nutrition questions
Food and nutrition can be complicated, but nutrition experts can help clear the air. From meal plans to diets, here are some of the most common nutrition questions you may get from clients.
As a registered dietitian, you are bound to get a lot of questions surrounding weight loss, added sugar, lean protein, and food labels. In this article, we have selected 7 of the most frequent ones, with which you will surely identify yourself. The good news is that we also provide the answer.
7 common nutrition questions
While you may be able to answer some of these questions, there will be moments when you will be caught off guard. But don’t panic! We’ve got you covered with this guide to some of the most common nutrition questions you may get from clients.
What is the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?
While the terms are oftentimes used interchangeably, they are very different.
Nutritionist is a term that anyone can use. Most times nutritionists have done a basic nutrition course or certification, but that is not always the case. There are no education requirements for nutritionists and it is not a regulated field.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are food and nutrition experts who have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program, passed a national exam, and completed continuing education credits. They must meet all of the requirements set by the regulatory agency before using the title of “dietitian”.
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Which diet is the best?
While there are many diets out there, it doesn’t mean they are created equal. Even if one person has success with a particular eating pattern, there is no guarantee it will be right for the next person. Everyone has different food preferences and dietary needs, so there is not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to diet.
However, science shows that an intake of certain types of nutrients, specific food groups, or overarching dietary patterns positively influences health and promotes the prevention of common non-communicable diseases.
It is important to work with a dietitian who can help you understand what your body needs and how best to reach your goals. If you have specific eating preferences, they can help tailor a plan that is just for you.
Do I need to track my food?
Tracking calories or macronutrients has been a key component of many programs. Whether or not you track your foods is entirely dependent on your nutritional goals, dietary needs, and personal habits. Some people find the routine of tracking their intake comforting, and it allows them to reflect on their choices.
However, for others, it is a compulsive habit that can lead to food obsessions, disordered eating patterns, and eating disorder pathology. Becoming reliant on tracking can also have an impact on long-term success as it can cause you to ignore the hunger and fullness cues.
TIP: Do you have any clients with an ED? Learn more about how to give the best nutritional support possible to them in this article.
It is important to recognize and acknowledge the pros and cons of tracking foods and work with a nutrition professional to determine which method is best for you.
Are carbs and/or fat bad?
Thanks to the rise of fad diets and a culture obsessed with losing weight, carbohydrates and fats have been hailed as nutrition public enemy #1. But are they really as bad as they’re made out to be? Let’s see what science has to say.
- Carbohydrates. While not all carbs are created equal, complex carbohydrates are higher in fiber, which can help improve satiety and keep you fuller longer, thus aiding in appetite and weight control. Some dietary sources of complex carbohydrates include whole grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, and high-fiber fruits.
- Dietary fat. This macronutrient is essential for many bodily functions, as it provides energy, supports cell growth, absorbs some nutrients, and produces important hormones. Healthy fats (like avocado, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, chia seeds, and egg yolks) are beneficial for heart health, can increase satiety, and are associated with a healthier BMI, waist circumference, and hip circumference. Furthermore, it’s suggested that lowering the intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats (especially polyunsaturated fats) will lower the incidence of heart disease.
Can you just make me a healthy meal plan?
Meal plans can be beneficial for a lot of people. However, since nutrition is so individualized, what works for one person may not work for you. As such, a dietitian simply can’t just make you a meal plan without evaluating your nutritional and physical needs first.
Tip: Here’s how dietitians can use Nutrium to create a weekly meal plan.
How much exercise do I need?
The guidelines put out by the American Heart Association recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of intense activity. It’s also been found that people who followed the minimum guidelines for moderate or vigorous long-term, leisure physical activity lowered their risk of dying from any cause by as much as 21%, whereas adults who exercised two to four times the minimum might lower their mortality risk by as much as 31%.
Be sure to talk with a healthcare provider before embarking on a new exercise routine.
What else can I do to improve my health?
There are many other factors that promote health and well-being besides nutrition.
- Reduce stress levels. Chronic stress can contribute to a number of negative health consequences, including high blood pressure, sleep issues, brain fog, and a weakened immune system. Try to destress by adding yoga, meditation, or other self-care methods into your daily routine.
- Adopt better sleep hygiene. Sleep is crucial for health, as chronic sleep deprivation has been associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. To get a better night’s sleep, try to limit caffeine and alcohol intake, keep a regular bedtime, and turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime.
TIP: Learn some ways that you can help your clients improve their health and get a more restful night in this article.
- Stop smoking. Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, certain diseases, and chronic inflammation. Furthermore, studies have found that those who smoke lose up to 10 years of life compared to those who don’t smoke. But it’s never too late to quit; research shows that if you stop smoking before 40 years old, you reduce the risk of dying by 90%.
These are by no means the only inquiries you will hear from your clients and potential clients, but they are by far the most common nutrition questions. Take these responses and adapt them to your own professional practice. While you never know when someone will ask for your opinion, you can be better prepared for when they do.
We are always working toward bringing you the best nutrition content, so we welcome any suggestions or comments you might have! Feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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