Nutritionist is a specialist in the field of nutrition (the effects of food on the body in healthy and sick people) and food technology (processing processes, food additives, food production from field to fork). The main tasks of the dietician are nutrition education (rational principles of healthy nutrition), the elaboration of recommendations and the compilation of menus tailored to the individual needs of the patient. As a nutritionist, he was supposed to promote a prevention programme (health promotion) for overweight and obesity.
The nutritionist is a specialist in the field of public health, whose field is the nutrition of different population groups, both in health and in sickness. The nutritionist deals with individual nutrition and in community facilities. He is known as an interdisciplinary specialist because he also has knowledge of anatomy, biochemistry, medicine and psychology.
The duties of the nutritionist include:
- determination of the influence of nutrients on the performance of the human body
- analysis of food – its origin and composition
- evaluation of the reciprocal effects of food and medicines used in different diseases and conditions
- application of the principles of rational nutrition
- establishment of a nutrition plan for individuals and entire population groups
- nutrition planning for people of different ages, healthy and sick as well as for special conditions, e.g. pregnancy, competitive athletes, palliative athletes
- determination of menus, dietary diets
- development of methods for the treatment of eating disorders
- development of heat treatment processes for food and food preparation
- nutritional prophylaxis and human nutritional therapy
- monitoring of proper nutrition in communal catering establishments
Where does the nutritionist work?
As nutritionists, they are already able to work in hospitals, counselling centres and specialist outpatient clinics, nutrition counselling centres, care and educational institutions of various kinds (e.g. crèches, social homes, homes for the elderly), sanatoriums, spas, educational institutions – kindergartens and schools as well as epidemiological-sanitary stations, hotels and SPA practices find employment. Sports, leisure and rehabilitation centers, gyms and fitness clubs, catering companies and companies producing special purpose foods and food supplements. Nutritionists also support scientific institutions and research projects, NGOs and the media.
Where can you get training as a nutritionist who qualifies you to work?
To practise the profession of nutritionist, bachelor’s and master’s courses at universities, in the subjects of nutritionist or public health with a specialisation in nutritionist and a diploma of nutritionist at a post-secondary school.
Types of nutritionists
It takes special care of sick people. He has knowledge of medicine (characterization of selected disease units, drug-food interaction) and of nutritional principles for the treatment of selected disease units Can perform both dietary treatments (support of pharmacotherapy) and the prophylaxis of selected disease units (suitable diet with products that reduce the risk of their occurrence). This work is largely an individual work with the patient, as each case of the patient is different from another.
Its task is to advise people who are physically active (with intensive physical exertion) both in leisure (hobby athletes) and in competitive sports (professional athletes) on how to eat properly and how to combine training with diet and dietary supplements. The sports dietician knows how nutrition influences the effort and how both factors achieve the expected training effects.
This is a fairly new area of nutritional specialization. It is primarily about supporting overweight and obese people, but also about patients who treat eating disorders. He is neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, although he has psychological knowledge. One of his tasks is therefore to find a healthy relationship with the patient to eat. Provides support and motivation to change eating habits.
What should you pay attention to when you go to a nutritionist?
It is becoming easier to seek advice from a nutritionist as more and more people offer nutritional services. But remember, quantity does not always go hand in hand with quality. In the market, many people have started to work as nutritionists without having sufficient qualifications (once they have completed short weekend courses, courses and training courses or only a two-year course of study, which does not allow them to learn the necessary elements of knowledge in the field of diet). This is because the profession of nutritionist has not yet regulated laundry. Therefore, before you start working with a specialist, especially in the field of medicine, it is best to learn as much as possible about that person, their education and completed training, courses, specializations and conditions of collaboration. A good specialist constantly strives to keep his knowledge base up to date (if a specialist has been trained a long time ago, he should also get your attention).
How to meet a professional nutritionist?
- The first visit should be at least 30 minutes (even if a detailed health and nutritional history is performed, it is impossible to fit in such a short time)
- Takes into account recent laboratory tests and current state of health (even minor complaints)
- Dietary recommendations and possible food supplements are selected individually for each patient, taking into account not only the general state of health and the generally accepted principles of healthy eating (but also the patient’s dietary preferences, type of work, culinary skills, lifestyle, financial means).
- Do not treat the patient as a one-time consultation, but suggest a longer collaboration to monitor their condition and adapt the recommendations to the current changing condition.
- If he notices such a need, he recommends that he also consult another specialist, e.g. an endocrinologist.