What can a Registered Dietitian do for you?

11 March 2014

Registered dietitians work in a wide variety of settings throughout the community. The majority of registered dietitians work in the treatment and prevention of disease often in hospitals or other health care facilities. In addition, a large number of registered dietitians work in community and public health settings as well as academia and research. A growing number of registered dietitians also work with the food industry, catering companies, sports nutrition, corporate wellness programmes and other non-traditional work settings.
Here are just a few of the benefits of working with a registered dietitian.

Postgraduate level training in nutrition and dietetics
Anyone can call themself a nutritionist but only a registered dietitian has completed a 1-2 year postgraduate training course specially designed to provide a supervised programme of clinical practice within a range of health care services as well as practical experience in foodservice organisations and community settings. Many registered dietitians also have specialised training in fields such as sports, paediatric, renal, oncology or aged care nutrition.

Personally tailored advice
A registered dietitian will ensure you receive personalised nutrition advice specific to your particular concern. At your initial visit, expect to do a lot of talking while the dietitian does a lot of listening. After learning about your health history, favourite foods, eating and exercise habits, a registered dietitian will help you set goals and prioritise changes. Follow-up visits will focus on supporting on-going progress, maintenance advice and monitoring your progress.

Help managing chronic diseases
If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer it can be hard to know what to eat. A registered dietitian can review your lab results with you, help you understand your condition and provide education about the food and nutrients that affect it. They will help you create an eating plan that includes all the important dietary factors that can help you manage your condition. A similar article with the same title was prepared by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and was used as the basis for this article.

Guidance navigating food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances
When you suffer from conditions like coeliac disease, food allergies or lactose intolerance, it's easy to be overwhelmed by what you think you can't eat. That can translate into a boring diet and may even lead to nutrient deficiencies. A registered dietitian can teach you how to read food labels so you’ll know which ingredients to avoid and help you find substitutions to keep your diet balanced and tasty, too.

A weight-loss programme that really works
Fad diets may sound like the quick ticket to weight loss but they rarely work for very long. A registered dietitian can help you develop a safe, effective weight-loss plan that you can stick with for the long haul. To guide and motivate you, a registered dietitian will use creative strategies to help with meal planning, grocery shopping, mindful eating and trouble shooting.
If you think you could benefit from an appointment with a dietitian, ask your doctor for a referral to one. Alternatively, you can go directly to a private practice dietitian without a referral. To find a private practice dietitian in your area visit www.dietitians.org.nz  


For further information please call

Sue Carrington
Media Adviser
Ph 021 367 789

Last updated: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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