19 Mar Who should I get nutritional and diet advice from?
Have you noticed the endless amount of nutrition and diet advice floating around the news and social media lately? Fasting, fad diets, keto, the celery juice cleanse. It can be really difficult to know who to trust when it comes to nutrition or diet advice and I don’t blame you for being misled. Here’s some info to assist you in deciding who you should really be listening to when it comes to food, nutrition and health.
Are ‘people with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media’. They do not have the necessary qualifications to prescribe or recommend any dietary advice. Influencers are more often than not, paid to promote the product or service which they are promoting, and so they will say whatever needs to be said in order to get paid. Unless they are a qualified nutritionist or dietitian, they should be avoided for nutrition or diet advice.
Registered Exercise Professionals (REPs)
These include personal trainers and physiotherapists, among others. A REP provides specific exercise recommendations and general nutrition advice to a healthy population (McKean et al., 2019). REPs will have undertaken, at a minimum level of certification, a certificate III or IV in fitness. In the certificate III, there is generally only one module of nutrition covering basic healthy eating information directed at the encouragement of eating and body composition. Two additional modules are completed to obtain a certificate IV in fitness that use the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating’s recommended daily servings for individuals from each of the five food groups. REPs who completed a university degree in sport/exercise science of human movement are educated on nutrition to give general nutrition advice to an apparently healthy population (McKlean et al., 2019). No further nutrition education is provided to REPs beyond this scope and so advice is not permitted by REPs in regards to nutrition beyond this including, individually tailored nutrition advice, diet-disease management, and medical nutrition advice (reference).
Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)
An APD has undertaken 4-5 years at university usually including a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, followed by a Master’s degree or equivalent in Dietetics. Within the dietetics degree, dietitians are assessed on professional placements in clinical nutrition, food service, community nutrition and medical nutrition therapy (DAA). They can help with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers, gastrointestinal diseases, food allergies, food intolerances, disordered eating and overweight and obesity (DAA). Within Australia, there are strict guidelines and specifically accredited dietetics courses that must be completed to become an APD. Accreditation is reviewed every 5 years at universities to ensure the courses are kept up to the accreditation standard. The Dietitians Association of Australia is the peak of dietetic accreditation within Australia and members are consistently kept up to date with the most relevant resources and information of food and nutrition.
APD’s are also recognised by Medicare and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as well as many private health insurers. Here at SportsFit we have APD Paula Christofakakis. Paula has an extensive knowledge in the dietetics profession and offers her services in:
- Weight loss
- Sports Nutrition
- Meal Planning
- Skin Fold Assessment
- Weight Maintenance and Malnutrition
- Food Intolerances
- Nutritional Advice for Medical Conditions
- Mindful Eating Practices
- Increasing Energy and Improving Fatigue
As well as being an APD, Paula is a provisional Sports Dietitian after undertaking the 4-Day Sports Nutrition course set by Sports Dietitians Australia in 2018. She currently works as the team dietitian with the Sandringham Zebra’s VFL Football Club.