- Registered dietitians are trained in current nutrition research and use motivational counseling techniques to help you improve your health.
- Many conditions, like diabetes and kidney disease, can be influenced by food choices. Dietitians are qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy aimed at helping you prevent or manage these conditions.
- Dietitians can help you with many other concerns, like general healthy eating, loss of appetite, weight management plateaus, and how to follow a specialized diet.
Registered dietitians are nutrition professionals who have completed extensive education and training to be able to treat many nutrition-related health concerns through food. In addition, dietitians can teach you about healthy eating and how to make sustainable goals while staying motivated.
Whether you have kidney disease or just feel confused about nutrition, a registered dietitian can help. Though many people would benefit from seeing a dietitian, insurance coverage can be tricky to navigate and often results in out-of-pocket fees.
Signs You Should See a Dietitian
Continue reading to learn the top reasons why you may need to see a registered dietitian.
1. You’re Struggling to Follow a Specialized Diet
There are many cases a person might need to follow a specialized diet for health reasons.
Sometimes, these diets can be very restrictive, making them challenging to follow.
For example, a person newly diagnosed with celiac disease must start following a completely gluten-free diet.
This can be a huge transition for some people, especially if gluten-containing foods are currently a staple in their diet.
When you’re used to eating a certain way, having a new eating plan imposed on you by a healthcare provider can feel overwhelming, and you might be concerned that you won't be able to eat your favorite foods anymore.
A registered dietitian can help you understand how to follow a specialized diet successfully.
They can provide tips on meal planning, eating out, and acceptable substitutions for eating plans, including:
- Low sodium diet.
- Low-fat diet.
- Low FODMAP diet.
- Gluten-free diet.
- Low or high fiber diet.
- Food allergy-friendly diet.
2. You Have Unhealthy Eating Habits
It can be challenging to prioritize a healthy diet, especially when busy with school, work, or other obligations.
You may notice your eating habits negatively impact how you feel, including your energy levels, digestion, ability to focus, and sleep quality.
If you think your eating habits could be improved you may benefit from working with a registered dietitian.
You don’t need to have a specific health condition to see a dietitian.
A registered dietitian can make suggestions to optimize your eating habits to help you feel your best both mentally and physically.
They will work with your food preferences and lifestyle to create a realistic and sustainable plan.
This plan may involve strategies for eating more fiber-rich foods, prioritizing regular meal times throughout the day, or lifestyle tips like practicing good sleep hygiene.
3. You’ve Lost Interest in Food or Eating
If you’ve lost interest in eating, or your favorite foods don’t sound good anymore, it’s best to first talk to a doctor.
An underlying condition can often contribute to a loss of appetite or interest in food, like gastrointestinal conditions, cancer, eating disorders, or depression.
Other times, it may be due to a side effect from a new medication or treatment.
Regardless of the cause, a lack of interest in eating can result in unintentional weight loss or nutritional deficiencies from not eating enough.
Once you and your doctor have figured out why you’ve lost your appetite, the next step is to talk with a registered dietitian to learn how to prioritize eating again.
Your dietitian can give you ideas for easy and nutritious meals to eat and may suggest you start eating on a schedule of smaller, more frequent meals.
4. You're Having Difficulty Changing Your Diet
It can be challenging to change your diet for a few reasons.
The way you eat is based on habits, which can take time to adjust. In addition, many social situations are centered around eating, which can make it hard to adhere to your goals.
A registered dietitian can help you if you’re having difficulty changing your diet.
Dietitians have training in counseling techniques, like motivational interviewing, that can inspire you to make dietary changes that benefit your health and well-being.
A dietitian will also help you create specific goals that feel realistic, sustainable, and flexible.
For example, a plan to “eat less salt” is broad and nonspecific, which can make it difficult to execute.
Instead, your dietitian might help you set a goal like: “Limit takeout to one time per week to reduce sodium intake.”
5. You Have Unmanaged Nutrition-Related Health Conditions
Many health conditions can be influenced by our food choices.
Medical nutrition therapy is a type of nutrition counseling centered around making dietary changes to improve or prevent a health condition.
Registered dietitians are extensively trained in medical nutrition therapy for a wide range of conditions, including:
You may benefit from seeing a registered dietitian if you have a nutrition-related health condition.
Your dietitian will teach you evidence-based strategies to help you improve your symptoms and lab work through diet and lifestyle changes.
For example, if you have type 2 diabetes, a dietitian can help you understand which foods spike your blood sugar and how to eat to help your A1c (the three-month average of your blood sugar) stay within a healthy range.
They may also develop an exercise plan and teach stress management strategies.
6. You Keep Reaching Plateaus in Weight Loss
If you’re on a weight management journey, you may encounter plateaus along the way.
A weight plateau is when the number on the scale stays the same despite maintaining your eating and exercise plan.
Weight plateaus are caused by a combination of hormonal and metabolic changes that happen during weight loss leading to increased hunger and fatigue.
Stalls in weight loss can be frustrating and discouraging. Sometimes they can cause people to lose motivation and give up on their goals.
Registered dietitians are trained to give you evidence-based advice on weight management, as well as help you create healthy and sustainable habits that can address metabolism, hormonal, and energy issues that result from prolonged dieting or restriction.
Your dietitian will examine your current eating, exercise, and stress management habits and help you find areas to adjust to heal your metabolism and increase your energy.
Weight management is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Your dietitian will create an individualized plan to help you get back to feeling your best.
7. You Feel Confused About Nutrition Information
There is endless amounts of nutrition information online, and if you read enough of it, you’ll find that many sources have conflicting recommendations.
It’s normal to have questions about how specific nutrition topics apply to you.
For example, you may have seen conflicting advice regarding controversial nutrition topics like:
- Eggs and cholesterol.
- Intermittent fasting.
- Artificial sweeteners.
If you have many questions about nutrition, consider booking an appointment with a registered dietitian.
Because dietitians went through extensive schooling and training, they are experts at evaluating the current research and helping you understand what it means for your diet.
Bring a list of questions to your first appointment so you can maximize your time with the dietitian and cover everything you are interested in learning about.
Talking with a dietitian is the best way to get evidence-based nutrition advice.
A registered dietitian can help you in many ways throughout your health journey, from teaching you how to eat a more nutritious diet to motivating you to achieve your nutrition goals.
A dietitian can be especially useful if you have a nutrition-related health condition or need a specialized diet.
In addition to creating an individualized eating plan and helping you set realistic goals, your dietitian can also answer nutrition questions and explain how food choices impact your health.
Managing Your Health with an RD
Whether you have a nutrition-related health condition or just want to learn more about healthy eating, you can benefit from working with a registered dietitian.
By working with a nutrition expert, you will receive up-to-date, evidence-based advice and an individualized plan based on your food preferences, lifestyle, and medical history.
Consider trying Nourish to be matched with an online registered dietitian to help you manage your health concerns. Nourish accepts most insurance plans, with most of our patients paying $0 out of pocket.
Frequently Asked Questions
See a Registered Dietitian with Nourish
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- Virtual sessions
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