Everyone Needs 3 Ds: Doctor, Dentist, and Dietitian

get your plate in shapeMarch is National Nutrition Month (NNM) . The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association), created this holiday month to:

.. focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. NNM also promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically based food and nutrition information.

While we don’t think that nutrition needs a certain month to be celebrated, we can definitely understand the need to promote the dietetic profession.

While doctors and dentists command the respect of the general public – and very high salaries too – dietitians are, unfortunately, not considered in the same league by most Americans.

Maybe it’s because we consider a physician a life saver . After all, we go to the doctor when we are sick or need an operation, and then presto, we get better. When we have a toothache, only the Dentist can help. And it better be RIGHT AWAY!

But what can a dietitian do for us?

Most people do not see the value in meeting with a dietitian to work on a prevention plan. It sucks to prevent weight gain. It requires discipline, exercise, more effort in the kitchen. A doctor doesn’t ask us for any of this. And since most people see a dietitian after gaining too many pounds, losing weight sucks even more…

Also, doctor bills are covered by health insurance. Unlike visits to a dietitian. Only people with severe health conditions can get reimbursed for visits to a dietitian.

But if you think about it, everyone should have access to advice from a personal dietitian. The overall cost to individuals, as well as to the American taxpayer will be much lower than surgery or expensive drugs to manage diabetes or coronary disease as a result of poor eating choices over many years.

As Ben Franklin once said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

So hug your family dietitian today. And tell your friends to find one for their family too.

For some free nutrition advice, follow our twitter list of registered dietitians.

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  • Gecco

    Insurance cover “visits to a dietician”? Why should insurance pay to keep quacks in business? Medical science, fine; made-up pseudoscience, nope, not paying for that.

    • My own beat..

      Instead of just bashing without explanation, back yourself up with articles, or information that would reputably explain yourself and possibly enlighten one of us.  

    • Brian

      Well, diet is a large reason many of us end up at the hospital getting stents put in, or pulling out tumors. Dieticians could be a way toward better health and lower healthcare costs. Doctors certainly don’t know their way around diet… they’re too busy trying to figure out how to fix the state we are currenly in, instead of how to prevent it. And because of their trade, they are not really motivated to prevent heart disease or cancer, just to treat it. Motivating someone to help prevent heart disease and cancer might be just what America needs. Now we just need to figure out what the “perfect” diet is… there’s a lot of conflicting information out there.

      • JanieJ

        Totally agree. The amount of time spent studying nutrition pre-med and in med school is miniscule, at best. Most MDs (endocrinologists perhaps being something of an exception) have a rudimentary, at best, knowledge of it.  And yes, they’re *not* motivated to prevent or offset disease…their money comes from cutting people open and pulling out their prescription pads. 

        • Anonymous

          So basically a doctor doesn’t want to make people healthier? They a driven only by greed? I could apply this cynical perspective to dietitians too. Wouldn’t they also have an economic incentive to make something very basic and simple, eating, overly complicated?

          • Brian

            I don’t think doctors want people to be less healthy so that they would be performing more operations and therefore making more money. If not for doctors caring about people, we would not be able to intervene like we can now, and prolonging life with disease would not be as possible without the work they have done. And I’m not saying doctors should know everything about diet as it relates to the conditions they treat. It would be work that would take away from their focus, and they could be less effective at intervention practices if all they did was focus on diet. 

            It’s important that they remain focused on the best intervention practices, but it is also important that they form relationships with good dietitians, so recovery can be helped. And it’s also important for people to put an emphasis on diet if they wish to avoid disease. And to learn about diet, I would go to a dietician over a doctor, but I don’t think the general public is keen on that advice.

          • My own beat..

            I agree with you Brian, for the most part.  

            Doctors, while they may have good intentions, do not usually take the prevention perspective.

            But for you MrBillWest, as basic and simple as eating may be (and to some degree should be) we live in a complicated world of food.

            This is not the hunter and gatherer society, where you go out and kill/forage and eat or die.

            Everywhere you look food comes to us (TV, Billboards, takeout, restaurant– and this does not even include us actually going to the supermarket).
            The actions that food takes in our bodies is chemistry, and scientists are constantly discovering new things that are yet to be explained.

            I believe that the more complicated food becomes (with additives, preservatives, chemicals and who knows what else) the need for a dietitian becomes more relevant. 

    • pennyroyal

      Gecco, you are mistaken. Dietitians are regulated health professionals and there are standards to entry in the dietetic profession (e.g. national exam, undergraduate degree in food/nutrition, supervised practice/internship). Dietitians also strive towards using best available scientific evidence when making nutrition recommendations. They are bound by a code of ethics.

      • Pennywise

        Right penny, dieticians pass their entry exams then promptly launch on a career of bizarre foodie wingnuttery. Obsessing over “processed” foods (whatever those are), dissing fats but slathering everything with olive oil, arguing incessantly over the latest fad diet-du-jour, bashing and blaming industry in negative campaigns to sell stylish “local” schlock. It is all quackery, long since out of sight of science. Gecco is not mistaken. Foodies are determined to scam us all.

  • Anonymous

    This was a great article- thank you! Think about how much healthier the country would be if everyone understood proper nutrition!

  • http://twitter.com/DishByTrish Trish RD

    Great article! Thanks for promoting the dietetic profession :-)

  • http://www.thefrugaldietitian.com/ Frugaldieitian

    Go Dietitians!! Underutilized but so important!!

  • http://twitter.com/moving4wellness Bobby Fernandez

    Truth is that if the Dietician is good enough, you will not need the other two “Ds”. I just wish our Dieticians would read some of the literature coming from Europe rather than just what the USDA, ADA, FDA, et. al. let them read.

  • http://twitter.com/moving4wellness Bobby Fernandez

    Truth is that if the Dietician is good enough, you will not need the other two “Ds”. I just wish our Dieticians would read some of the literature coming from Europe rather than just what the USDA, ADA, FDA, et. al. let them read.

    • Brian

      I agree. It’s interesting how diet has become a bit of a religious war, pitting vegetarians against omnivores, and the low fat crowd against the low carb crowd. It seems that somehow we have gotten away from science and entered into a dogmatic way of thinking about diet. And the government seems afraid to admit that some of the things they promote are or were wrong, and just move on with better health.

    • constance Corry

      Doesn’t matter what you eat, you can still have health or tooth problems. You can increase or reduce the risk of some of them using diet, sure, but it’s not failsafe and doesn’t apply to all possible issues. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Damien-Rider/100003487431971 Damien Rider

    This situation is for our own. In our busy lifestyle we almost don’t any care about our diet and nutrition. We are ready to do surgery or any operation  but not agree to eat right and to diet. But we should keep in mind that prevention is better  than cure. And we can easily maintain  good nutrition and diet.

    • JanieJ

      I love when people say it’s “too much effort” to read labels, prepare home cooked meals, avoid junk food, etc…but the prospect of stabbing themselves in the finger six times a day, taking an alphabet soup of Rx meds and spend entire days in doctor’s offices and labs is not “too much effort.”

  • http://www.zatcoffwellness.com/ Geri

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the former American Dietetic Association is lobbying in many states to make Registered Dietitians the only available source of nutrition information and those states are levying heavy fines for anyone practicing without an RD. And they have succeeded in a handful of states. This is outrageous.
    A “RD” is an undergraduate degree and while I do not disparage the work that they do, they do NOT have the in depth biochemistry education that a degreed nutritionist does. I am a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist with a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition and yet in Wisconsin and Florida, and perhaps soon in New Jersey and New York, I would be unable to practice, thanks to their misleading and unethical lobbying efforts.

  • Freeflyingmom

    All anyone has to do is it organic and eat what the earth gives us, its as simple as that.  We are all in charge of our own health and yes we may still get sick but I know people that have followed this and are in their senior years, have no illnesses and are as active and healthy as “healthy” 30 year olds.  All the information is out there, you only have to do it.

  • http://www.riderjuiceplus.com/ Tonmoy

    I agree with you. As much we expense for doctors, but don’t care about dietitian. But the truth is that maintaining a healthy diet can lead us to a  brighter future and keep far from a doctor. Even knowing a healthy diet is enough. Eating more fruits and vegetables is the first step to maintain a healthy diet.

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