Selecting a nutritionist can be a daunting task. Where do you start? These are five things to look out for when choosing someone as a nutrition practitioner and why you should run if you don’t have these five traits.
What To Look For When Selecting A Nutritionist
1. They Don’t Try To Diagnose You
It’s against the law for anyone working in nutrition to diagnose you with a certain medical condition. Only a medical doctor can do that. If you have been feeling weak, fatigued, and dizzy it could be a sign of something more serious and only knowing the root cause of those symptoms will be when a nutrition practitioner can help. Sure, it really could be as simple as fixing your diet, but you really should have the common sense to make sure it’s not something like cancer, anemia, or or some sort of cardiovascular problem. Any decent nutritional practitioner shouldn’t want to risk losing their license or risk getting sued and should see past just taking your money – they should have a concern for your safety as well.
2. They Should Have An Understanding In More Than Just Nutrition
There’s more to nutrition therapy than just eating a certain diet. A good nutritionist should have a good understanding of pathophysiology behind a disease process. Otherwise just throwing diets out there is like throwing darts while wearing a blindfold. This also works out to your safety as well. Someone with a good background in pathophysiology will be able to better recognize if you have something life threatening going on and should a) tell you to go see your primary care physician or b) tell you to go to the emergency room. If possible, I personally recommend finding a registered nurse to help with nutrition woes as they often have a greater knowledge base and experience of pathophysiology than other nutrition practitioners. This doesn’t mean there aren’t other great dietitians or nutrition practitioners (just a little personal bias).
3. They Have Experience In What You’re Looking For
Would you go to a urologist if something was wrong with your heart? No. The same should be said for trying to find a nutrition practitioner – make sure they have experience for what you’re looking for. An individual can’t know everything. There are nutrition coaches who have specialties – as a registered nurse and nutrition coach, I will be the first one to admit that I don’t know everything. Neither should your consultant. But what they should know, is your situation. If you’re looking at finding someone who can help you with sports nutrition, make sure they specialize with people who are in your situation. If you’re not sure, then just ask.
4. They Should Have A Detailed History About You
If your nutrition consultant isn’t asking detailed questions about your medical history you should be extremely cautious. Some of the things that they should be asking would include: any past medical history, a detailed history on your current medical issue, things that you have tried in the past that have not worked, things you have done that have worked, a detailed food diary, and any current medications that you’re taking (medications and foods can interact with each other). Your nutrition consultant should want to know your medical/dietary history like the back of their hand.
5. They Should Know Your Why
What’s the point of helping someone if they don’t know why you’re seeking nutrition counseling. For some people it could be as simple as wanting to lose weight or look better to have more confidence. For others it could be a complex reason due to a complicated medical history. Your nutrition counselor should keep your why as their top focus.
If you’re in the market for looking for a nutrition consultant, these are some of the top things that I consider that you should look for and/or keep in mind. Consider working with a Nurse Nutritionist. As a nurse they have a better background in the disease process than other nutrition practitioners. If you’re curious about how a nutrition consultant could benefit you, sign up for a free health consultation.