Nutrition expert can help save your life
October 17, 2017 2:12 PM
Forty years ago, with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and few job opportunities, I realized it was time to reevaluate where my professional passion was and whether could I make a living following the dream. As a child I spent weekends working in my father’s deli, making thick roast beef sandwiches and trying my best to slice a thin sliver of lox. I also saw my father suffer most of his life with ulcers, ultimately getting half his stomach removed. It seemed the study of nutrition would combine my love of food with the tools to help people with digestive disorders.
What a surprise when I learned that before I could even start my nutrition studies I had to complete courses in chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology and physiology. I just wanted to help people eat better; why did I need all that science? How the body digests and metabolizes food is at the core of nutrition science. Research is the dietitian’s mantra. People with serious medical issues such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease, to name a few problems, need a dietitian nutritionist who understands the disease process, the research and how to translate that into food messages.
Benjamin Franklin said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If your blood glucose levels are rising but you are not yet diabetic, when your cholesterol is edging up and medication is being discussed or blood pressure is keeping you up at night, go for a consult. Right now 10,000 dietitians are in Chicago at the annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics learning the latest science and counseling techniques to bring back to their clients.
A March article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that close to half the cardiometabolic deaths due to heart disease, stroke and diabetes were associated with a suboptimal food intake. I am finding more insurance plans covering medical nutrition therapy by a registered dietitian nutritionist. To find a registered dietitian nutrition go to www.eatright.org.