How Can a Nutritionist Help You?
One of the most common assumptions of a nutritionist is that we facilitate weight loss. Of course we can help with this goal, but there are many other areas of health or medicine in which someone can work with us.
In fact, most of our clients are working with us because they either have an on-going health or medical condition they would like to improve, or they would like to prevent future problems. Some of our clients are aspiring amateur athletes looking to optimize their diet for their next big goal, and others are quite ill, using food as medicine. In all these situations, we can help.
What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN) and a nutritionist?
Here in the state of Washington, there are two nutrition credentials, both of which are covered by most insurance companies. What’s most important when looking for a nutritionist is that he or she is credentialed. Many so-called nutritionists can undergo a short certification program and call themselves nutritionists. The credentialed ones have a Master’s degree in nutrition with a pre-med background, focusing on applied biochemistry.
RDN (formerly known as RD) – Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
The RDN is an international credential. They now must have a master’s degree in nutrition and are required to have certain specific coursework in community nutrition or public health, food service management as well as clinical nutrition. They are required to undergo an additional year-long dietetic internship where they have rotations in many different areas of practice from the ICU (intensive care unit) of the hospital to school kitchen programs to diabetes clinics and other elective areas. Julie elected to focus on Functional Medicine Nutrition in Burbank, CA and Sports Nutrition at the UW for her elective areas. RDNs are also required to take a board exam, and they must maintain their credentials with approved continuing education annually.
CN – Certified Nutritionist
The CN is a state qualification and is covered by most insurance plans in the state of Washington. Not all states have CNs, so we are lucky here in Washington. CNs must have a master’s degree in nutrition in order to become certified and practice. In addition to being credentialed Certified Nutritionists, Grace Lautman has her bachelor’s degree in dietetics/nutrition, and Brooke Brandeberry has her bachelor’s degree in psychology. They also both earned their master’s degrees in nutrition at Bastyr University. Both RDNs and CNs consider themselves under the umbrella term Nutritionist. A good, qualified nutritionist is the expert in medical nutrition therapy, preventive health and healthy eating. Please check out Conditions Treated page for more information about what we can do for you.
Case Study: High Cholesterol
For example, Julie had a 36 year old client who came in with a total cholesterol level of 319. His doctor was alarmed and without suggesting diet as an option, wanted to prescribe cholesterol lowering medication. The patient opted to call a nutritionist to see if he could do something naturally. Julie put him on a mostly plant-based diet, while including good sources of protein and additional nutrients like meat and eggs. The biggest change for him was eliminating refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates come from any food that can convert into blood sugar, or glucose, rapidly. These foods include white rice, pastas, baked goods, sugar or sugary foods, and foods high in starch. The client was seriously motivated so he also eliminated fried foods. Within three months, his cholesterol levels dropped 114 points to 205, a 36% drop, unheard of when using medications. Within the next three months, his cholesterol level was below 200 which is considered healthy by most health care providers. The difference between treating with medications vs. treating with a change in lifestyle and diet is that with the latter, the patient takes responsibility to affect change, and we are the guides. This client was extremely motivated and did a fantastic job. Once his levels were normal, we adjusted his diet, and now he is a healthy 45 year old. Still other areas in which we help people include digestive disorders or chronic conditions such as headaches, skin issues, chronic fatigue, etc.
Schedule an appointment with one of our nutritionists today.