You might consider visiting a registered dietitian for a variety of reasons. But, first things first – what is a dietitian? All dietitians are nutritionists, but not every nutritionist is a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are experts in food and nutrition and can advise patients as to which eating habits and lifestyle changes can help them reach a health-related goal.
A registered dietitian has earned the “RD” credential, but some are opting to use “RDN,” which means that they are also nutritionists. To become a registered dietitian, the person must complete college training in the field, along with an internship or supervised practice, pass a registration exam, and attain continuing education credits. You can use the CDPHP® Find-a-Doc search tool to locate a registered dietitian near you.
Amy Sundell-Milstein, MS, RD, CDE is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with St. Peter’s Health Partners (formerly Prime Care Physicians, P.C.). Sundell-Milstein says that although physicians often refer their patients to her, sometimes the patients choose to visit a dietitian on their own. During a patient’s initial visit, Sundell-Milstein will complete a nutrition assessment and then make recommendations for the patient to follow. Her goal is to offer personalized suggestions so that the plan is geared toward the patient’s specific needs and health conditions.
She says that while dietitians are “food experts,” it’s also important to understand that her practice is medically based. This means that registered dietitians don’t generally advise patients to go on the latest fad diet – they make recommendations that are rooted in evidence-based medicine. For example, it’s well established that soluble fiber lowers cholesterol. So, if lowering cholesterol is one of the patient’s goals, Sundell-Milstein will help that person follow a diet plan that’s high in soluble fiber.
CDPHP has plenty of options to help you achieve optimal health. In fact, one of my roles as a CDPHP health promotions specialist is to offer health education and wellness programs, that are tailored to your specific needs and concerns and help improve your quality of life. Did you know that our other resources include free wellness classes and the CDPHP® Weight Management website.
Your health is our priority!
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