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A dietitian is a specialist who deals with the influence of food and nutrition on human he alth. Dietitian, incl. teaches the principles of he althy eating and develops nutritional recommendations for he althy people and people with various diseases - including overweight and obesity. What are the types of dietitians and what to consider when choosing a dietitian?

Dieticianis a specialist in the field of he alth care, whose domain is nourishing people in he alth and disease. Dietitian deals with nutrition of individuals and collective nutrition, nutritional education of the society and he alth promotion. A dietitian is said to be an interdisciplinary specialist, because he also has knowledge in the field of anatomy, biochemistry, medicine and psychology.The tasks of a dietitian include in particular:

  • determining the influence of nutrients on the functioning of the human body
  • research on food products - their origin and composition
  • assessment of the mutual impact of food products and drugs used in various diseases and conditions
  • applying the principles of rational eating
  • establishing a nutrition plan for individuals and whole groups of the population
  • nutrition planning for people of different ages (from infants to the elderly), he althy and sick, and in special states, e.g. during pregnancy
  • establishing menus, nutritional diets
  • developing methods of treating eating disorders
  • development of thermal processing of food products and preparation of dishes
  • nutritional prophylaxis and human nutritional treatment
  • supervising proper nutrition in mass catering facilities

Where does a dietitian work?

The support of dietitians is used not only by hospitals, he alth clinics, dietary clinics and specialist clinics, but also various types of care and education facilities (e.g. nurseries, nursing homes, seniors' homes), sanatoriums, he alth resorts, educational institutions - kindergartens and schools as well as epidemiological and sanitary stations, hotels and spas, sports, recreation and rehabilitation centers, gyms and fitness clubs as well as companies offering dietary catering and companies producing special-purpose food and dietary supplements. Nutritionists also supportscientific institutions and their research projects, non-governmental organizations and the media.


Where can I get a nutritionist education?The profession of a dietitian is valid for obtaining a bachelor's degree (master's degree and higher) at universities, in the following fields: dietetics or public he alth (with specialization in dietetics) and a dietitian diploma in post-secondary high school.

Special types of dieters

Clinical dietitiandeals with the nutrition of people who are ill. He knows what and how to feed patients at different stages of the disease in order to prevent its development or to prevent its exacerbation, or to speed up treatment and convalescence of patients. A clinical dietitian, using his knowledge of the relationship between the digestive system and other systems, selects diets for specific diseases and their stage of advancement in a particular patient. A clinical nutritionist conducts nutritional interviews, assesses the nutritional status of the patient and his diet, performs anthropometric measurements and analyzes the results of laboratory tests that determine the level of nutrients in the body. A clinical dietitian also prepares educational materials for sick people and their guardians, and teaches the principles of proper nutrition to he althy people.

Sports nutritionistadvises people who take up recreational physical activity, as well as amateur and professional athletes on how to eat properly and how to combine training with diet and appropriate supplementation. Therefore, a sports nutritionist knows how nutrition influences exercise and how to achieve the expected results of exercise thanks to both of these factors.

Psychodietetykis a fairly new dietary specialization. It is associated with the treatment of underweight as well as overweight obesity. Emotional problems and eating disorders are one of the reasons why obesity develops and becomes overweight. The psychodietician is neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, although he has psychological knowledge. The task of the psychodietician is to find nutritional and non-nutritional causes while maintaining a he althy body weight - the reasons for improper eating, avoiding eating or overeating. The psycho-dietician helps to determine why there are failures in weight loss or weight gain, to plan new eating habits, educates, motivates and supports the patient to achieve the set goal.

Before choosing a dietitian, check his education

Dietary advice is readily available, but the quality varies. This is because the profession of a dietitian in Poland is not fully regulated by law. You can obtain a dietitian diplomanot only at universities and post-secondary schools, but also after several-week courses. The difference in qualifications between a dietitian who completed major studies and the one "after the course" is huge. For example, in the curriculum - students of dietary studies have classes that coincide with those carried out in medical specializations, e.g. physiology or toxicology. Of course, there are exceptions and you can find nutritionists without higher education who constantly train and help patients with really difficult diseases. However, do not be afraid to ask a dietitian about his education - the university where he studied and where he received his diploma, as well as about the specialization training he completed. incl. concerning dietary treatment in specific diseases, e.g. diabetes, insulin resistance, cancer. A professional dietitian is constantly gaining new knowledge and skills. Also check if the selected dietitian works in a medical facility. If so, his qualifications have certainly been checked by the employer.

What is a professional nutritionist?

1.The visitu himlasts no less than 40-60 minutes , and during the first consultation he conductsdetailed interviewwith patient 2. Before composing any menu,orders general diagnostic teststo check the patient's he alth. 3. He does not recommend a "general diet" that fits everyone, because such a diet does not exist, butselects a diet individually for each persontaking into account, among others, her age, sex, diseases, medications taken, lifestyle, type of work, food preferences, and - what is very important for many patients - her financial capacity. 4.Systematically updatesthe recommendeddietbased on research results to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 5.If it is involved in weight loss support(weight reduction) then:

  • has knowledge of obesity and its treatment methods,
  • does not promise spectacular results in a short time and does not encourage the mentee to do so,
  • does not blame the patient for his illness and does not remind him that he "led himself to this state".

6.Does not sellto the sickweight loss . 7. If he deals withbariatric patients- before and after obesity surgery -collaborates with a bariatric surgeon . 8. There is a scale with a body composition analyzer (fat and lean tissue) in his office, which is more accurate than the standard scale. 9.Adapts to each patient . There iscomposed, patient with explanations and honest. Spends as much time as he / she needs.

Worth knowing

At the National He alth Fund or privately?Financial obesity treatment by the National He alth Fund takes place in metabolic diseases clinics, after the patient presents a referral from a primary care physician. However, the queue for such clinics is many months, because their number is decreasing. Most nutritionists work privately. The price of a visit to a professional dietitian costs from 50 to 100 PLN, and usually it does not end there. All the more so, it is worth choosing a dietitian carefully, looking for one who will deal with the treatment of overweight / obesity, and not fast weight loss.

Important supports safe treatment and a dignified life of people suffering from obesity. This article does not contain discriminatory and stigmatizing content of people suffering from obesity.

About the authorMagdalena Gajda A specialist in obesity disease and obesity discrimination of people with diseases. President of the OD-WAGA Foundation of People with Obesity, Social Ombudsman for the Rights of People with Obesity in Poland and a representative of Poland in the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity. By profession - a journalist specializing in he alth issues, as well as a PR, social communication, storytelling and CSR specialist. Privately - obesity since childhood, after bariatric surgery in 2010. Starting weight - 136 kg, current weight - 78 kg.

OD-WAGA Foundation

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