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  • Joel Feren

What is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and how can they help me?

What is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and how can they help me?

Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) apply the art and science of nutrition to help people better understand the relationship between food and health. They assist people by encouraging dietary changes to achieve and maintain best health, as well as to thwart and treat diseases such as diabetes, coeliac disease and heart disease. Dietitians are qualified to understand food science, interpret nutrition science, evaluateindividual nutritional requirements, counsel on diet for ideal health, or for various illnesses and perform nutrition research.

In Australia, there is a clear distinction between dietitiansand nutritionists. Dietitians study for at least four years and complete a qualification in human nutrition. They undertake supervised and professional experience in a hospital setting, community health and food service. Nutritionists do not complete this professional experience as part of their study. Also, dietitians must be members of the Dietitians Association of Australia and undertake at least 30 hours professional development in order to keep their accreditation.

A dietitian will tailor-make a diet program to suit your specific needs because there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.A dietitian will focus on helping you to change your dietary habits to help you achieve your goals. They adhere to evidence-based guidelines and make use of the latest nutrition research to guide them in their practice. They do not subscribe to overly restrictive diets and do not advise on cutting out entire food groups. Rather, a dietitian will take a holistic approach to your health and nutrition and aim to implement a healthy eating plan that is based on the inclusion of a variety of different foods from the five food groups – meat and alternatives, dairy, fruit, vegetables as well as grains.

Nevertheless, can you simply find nutrition advice online? The straightforward answer is, yes. However, this is not advisable. Online ‘nutrition experts’ are often publishingzany advice that is not evidence based and may beunsafe. It would be silly to seek medical advice online, so it seems inconsistent that you would seek to get nutritional advice from ‘Dr Google’. It’s best to leave nutrition advice to the experts – Accredited Practising Dietitians.

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