I am not shy when it comes to voicing my dislike of “nutritional systems”, fad diets, and self-proclaimed nutritional “experts”. In my personal training business, I do not offer meal plans of any kind, simply because it’s outside of my scope of practice; however, there are many fitness trainers, instructors, and nutritional enthusiasts who are ready to sign you up for the latest and greatest trend in dieting (because it’s the best thing since sliced bread, didn’t you know?). As great as their claims may be, it’s important to understand why getting your nutritional information and guidance from professionals who have studied nutrition, completed clinical shadowing and rotations, hold certifications and licenses from professional organizations, and who practice nutrition based on evidence-based practices and research every day.
Megan Raupp MS RD LDN holds both her BS and MS in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Graduate Certificate of Study in Eating Disorders and Obesity (EDOC) from Northern Illinois University. She completed a Dietetic Internship of 900+ hours that was supervised by multiple Registered Dietitians in several different settings. Megan belongs to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP). She works full-time at a psychiatric hospital on an inpatient eating disorder unit and a transitional living home for females recovering from an eating disorder. Additionally, she works in private practice, specializing in eating disorders, general wellness, weight loss and maintenance, and other nutritional concerns. Her services include individualized meal planning, nutrition education, grocery store tours, and many other nutritional-related services depending on her clients needs.
Ok… let me catch my breath… Can you tell she is more than qualified to give nutritional advice and guidance?
So I asked Megan a few questions about the importance of getting nutritional information from Registered Dietitians and why the every day consumer should be leery of “nutritional systems” and fad diets.
Here is the interview:
Question: Why should people get their nutritional guidance from a Registered Dietitian and be leery of taking advice from nutritionists or nutritional enthusiasts?
Answer: First things first, we should clarify the DIFFERENCE between a Registered Dietitian (RD) and nutritionist. To become a Registered Dietitian: one must get at least a 4-year degree in nutrition (or a science-like field), complete a dietetic internship consisting of 900+ hours of supervised practice, successfully complete the National exam for RDs, obtain licensure in the state of practice and finally maintain continuing education credits every two years. RDs are monitored and regulated by a national organization to ensure proper information is being transferred, evidence-based practices are utilized and no harm caused. To become a nutritionist: one must have an interest in nutrition. Period. Every RD is a nutritionist, but NOT every nutritionist is a Registered Dietitian. Here is a nice visual,
When looking for nutrition advice or guidance, it is important to get this information from an RD, someone trained to provide accurate and evidence-based information. One wouldn’t seek medical advice from someone with an interest in medicine but no degree or get on an airplane with a pilot who likes aviation with no practice, so why would you trust your health, body and wellness to someone not qualified in nutrition? Dietitians are trained to provide unbiased, science-based information while doing no harm to the client. When researching information, a practitioner or blogs, look for the RD credential.
Question: What are your thoughts on all the nutritional systems being sold today?
Answer: I could talk on and on about all the different nutrition systems, diets, or meal planning guidelines being sold and promoted today; so I will keep it short and sweet. There is no “cure-all” when it comes to health and nutrition; there is no “one-size-fits-all” when wellness and weight management are involved. If something seems to good to be true, if something guarantees results, if something does not pair nutrition with activity and promote lifestyle changes while addressing the emotional component to eating, it is NOT something as a Registered Dietitian, I would advocate or encourage.
Question: What do you think the best kind of “diet” is?
Answer: I hate that the word ‘diet’ has developed such a negative connotation, because it really is just the kinds of foods someone habitually eats. I do not promote nutrition fads or diets, but simply a eating pattern full of VARIETY, BALANCE, & MODERATION. Eating fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, (whole) grains, dairy and legumes, while drinking enough water and exercising regularly: that’s my “diet” of choice. One thing that is important to remember is that nutrition and eating patterns are not “one size fits all”. Being an educated consumer when reviewing nutrition fads or diets is important to ensure the best eating patterns are being developed.
Question: Do you have any advice for someone trying to reach their nutritional goals?
Answer: My first piece of advice, have compassion for yourself! Second piece of advice, be patient! Making any changes related to eating patterns and nutrition can be very challenging & with everyone and their mother making claims about how/when/why/what you should eat it can be very difficult to navigate these changes. Therefore, don’t get down on yourself when you have difficulty on this process, even experts find this challenging! When trying to reach any nutritional goal, I recommend small steps and building on those successes to reach a larger goal. Lets take the example of losing 10 pounds. First, in order to lose 1 pound, you must create a deficit of 3,500 kcals. Therefore, 10 pounds is equivalent to 35,000 kcals! In order to make this dream possible, it should be broken into smaller goals: Lose 2 pounds per week. Then you can figure out how that will be possible; incorporating more produce as snacks, increasing activity level and/or type of exercise, drinking more water during the day, etc. Everyone’s journey for a more nutritious lifestyle is that: a journey. Some days are good and others are better; with hard work, education, and some fun, these goals can be achieved. Last but not least, seeking the help of a Registered Dietitian to help achieve your nutritional goals is a smart step!
Contacting Megan About Her Services
You can contact Megan at MeganRauppRD4@gmail.com and she can help you decide what kind of service/s best meet your needs. To set up an appointment with her at her private office in Naperville (Naper Clinical Behavioral Services), call (630)577-1577.