How can our dietitians assist you?
We give you individually tailored dietary advice for you or your family to meet your nutrition or lifestyle needs and optimise your health. For example, advice on how to increasing energy levels, ensuring adequate nutrient intake, enhancing immunity, optimising your health etc.
Our dietitian will conduct a full diet assessment where you will be asked details about your diet, lifestyle, activity levels, any medical history, medications and supplements. This information will be used to provide you with individualised nutrition recommendations, example meal ideas, meal plans and recipes in order to meet your goals for optimal health.
Have you been diagnosed with high cholesterol, dislipidaemia or high blood pressure, or have recently had a cardiac event, or have a family history of heart disease? If so, making changes to your diet and lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of future cardiac events or stroke.
Did you know it’s not just your Total Cholesterol that’s important? To reduce your risk of heart disease we need to consider LDL Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and the HDL:Total Cholesterol ratio, blood pressure, body weight and waist circumference, dietary intake of antioxidants and other heart protective nutrients.
The Dietitian will conduct a full diet and lifestyle assessment and help you make achievable changes to improve your lipid profile, reduce your blood pressure and optimise your health. This may include (but is not limited to) individualised nutrition recommendations, meal ideas, example meal plans, and heart healthy recipes.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is a balance between energy in (food intake) and energy out (physical activity), however in practice it’s not that simple!
A dietitian is trained to look at the full picture of what prevents an individual from maintaining a healthy body weight, including medical history, dietary intake, physical activity, and psychological factors such as mood, stress, and food-related behaviour.
Over subsequent dietary consults the areas that influence an individual’s weight control will be addressed e.g. meal planning, portion control, emotional eating, eating out, label reading, recipe modification, physical activity, nutrient adequacy, stress and other psychological issues.
‘Diabetes’ refers to a group of metabolic diseases that occur either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced, resulting in high blood sugar. Symptoms of high blood sugar (or hyperglycaemia) include polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger). Uncontrolled high blood sugars over time lead to serious damage to the body’s organs and systems: kidney failure, foot ulcers, blindness, increased risk heart disease and others. There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes (or insulin-depended diabetes): results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, and presently requires the person to inject insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes: results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly.
- Gestational diabetes: is when pregnant women, who have never had diabetes before, have a high blood glucose level during pregnancy. It may precede development of type 2 diabetes.
- Pre-diabetes or Impaired Glucose Tolerance: is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It usually precedes Type 2 diabetes, however people can spend many years in a state of pre-diabetes.
Diet and lifestyle factors play a significant role in both prevention and management of diabetes. Even small changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your blood sugar control and reduce risks of developing health problems associated with uncontrolled diabetes such as kidney disease, blindness and foot ulcers.
At your initial diet consultation, a full assessment will be conducted including analysis of your blood sugar levels and food intake. If you measure your blood sugars bring your monitoring book to your appointment. You will be provided with strategies to help control your blood sugar levels within the recommended ranges. Strategies may include, but are not limited to, sample meal plans, education about portions, appropriate snack choices, diabetic-friendly recipes, label reading etc.
Allergies and Intolerances are NOT the same thing. Food Allergy is an immune-mediated response to a protein. For example: milk allergy is a response to the milk protein casein. Allergies can be very severe and even life-threatening. Food Intolerance is a hypersensitive reaction to a food chemical (natural or unnatural) or nutrient. For example: lactose intolerance is a reaction to lactose, a carbohydrate found in milk, usually because the body does not have sufficient enzyme (lactase) to breakdown lactose. Intolerances are usually less severe and can be dose dependent (e.g. a small amount of a food chemical may be tolerated while larger amounts may not).
Allergies can be identified using blood tests or skin prick tests (discuss with your GP), however most intolerances need to be identified using dietary investigation, with some exceptions (e.g. lactose). Food intolerances can be associated with gastro-intestinal symptoms (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhoea), skin symptoms (e.g. eczema, dermatitis), headaches, asthma and others.
There are several dietary investigation methods used to identify cause of food intolerance and the Dietitian will conduct a full diet and symptom assessment (taking into account medical history and blood tests) and prescribe the dietary method best suited to your symptoms. Different dietary investigation methods include: Simple or Strict Elimination Diets (to identify food chemicals such as salicylates, glutamates, amines); Low FODMAP diet, investigation for lactose or fructose malabsorption. You will need to keep a detailed food and symptom diary during dietary investigation.
If you have lost weight without trying or have a poor appetite, you may be at risk of malnutrition. People who suffer from malnutrition have increased risk of falls, poor immunity and other infectious diseases.
The Dietitian will provide recommendations, strategies, meal ideas and recipes to help you meet your energy and nutrient requirements despite a low appetite or inability to eat large amounts. In some cases specially formulated nutrition supplements may be recommended to ensure you receive your dietary requirements.
Disordered eating and eating disorders refers to a spectrum of irregular eating behaviours that range from irregular eating behaviour that is not classified as an eating disorder, to diagnosed eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa.
A dietitian will conduct a dietary assessment to identify the causes or areas of ‘irregular’ eating behaviours for an individual and use education techniques to help the individual to understand and resume ‘normal’ eating patterns.
For people with disordered eating/eating disorders, the dietitian will work closely with other health professionals involved in their care (with client consent) e.g. GP, psychologist, counsellor.
Common nutrient deficiencies include: Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Vitamin D, fibre, folate, B12 (vegan diets), Omega-3, Essential fatty acids, and more.
Different stages of the lifecycle, gender, dietary choices and other lifestyle factors can place people at higher risk of certain nutrients deficiencies. For example, pregnant or breastfeeding women have high Iron and Folate requirements, women post menopause have higher Calcium requirements, people with dark skin or who cover their skin can be at risk of Vitamin D deficiency etc.
If you are concerned that you may be at risk of nutrient deficiencies, a full diet and medical assessment (including blood tests by your GP) can identify at risk areas. Dietary recommendations, including example meal plans and recipes, will assist you in meeting your requirements. If nutrient requirement is unlikely to be met with dietary intake alone, suitable supplements may be recommended.
Gastro-intestinal conditions that are influenced by diet and lifestyle include: IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), chronic constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, and diverticular disease.
The Dietitian will conduct a full diet assessment, taking into account medical history, medical investigations, and blood test results to identify most appropriate diet to improve or management your symptoms.
For IBS suffers, this may include trialling a Low FODMAP Diet or Elimination Diet, investigating any possible malabsorption (e.g. lactose), considering other lifestyle factors such as stress and food ‘triggers’. You will need to keep a detailed food and symptom diary during dietary investigation.
If you have been diagnosed with acute or chronic kidney failure, there may be specific dietary restrictions you need to follow to preserve your kidney function.
In order to identify the most appropriate dietary advice for you, the Dietitian will conduct a diet assessment and will require full blood tests by your doctor as well as any medication and medical history.
Pregnant and Breastfeeding mums have specific dietary requirements such as higher requirements for certain nutrients like iron and folate. Energy requirements vary significantly from person to person, and the saying “eating for two”, is very inaccurate. Therefore, it can be beneficial to have a dietary assessment and individualised recommendations and eating plan to suit your needs to optimise the health of you and your baby.
Vegetarian or Vegan diets can be healthy; however they require careful planning to ensure you receive all the nutrients you require to prevent deficiencies, maintain immunity and optimal health.
Being a ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan’ is not as simple as ‘not eating meat’. The dietitian will conduct a full diet assessment and provide education about the quantities of vegetarian or vegan food groups required to maintain optimal health and prevent deficiencies. Sample meal plans and recipes may also be available.
Toddlers, children and teenagers need to receive adequate nutrition too and are susceptible to health conditions just like adults. Areas where a Dietitian can help you optimise your child’s health or nutrition intake include:
- Fussy eating – tips and strategies to ensure optimal health and improve eating behaviours
- Dietary investigation for suspected allergies or intolerances
- Ensuring optimal nutrition intake for children with diagnosed allergies or intolerances to prevent nutrient deficiencies e.g. lactose intolerance, coeliac disease, food chemical intolerances
- Healthy eating for active or sporty kids and teenagers
- Weight management for overweight children and teenagers
- Disordered eating behaviours
Children should be accompanied by at least one parent during dietary consultations and individual dietary consultations for child/teenager alone and/or parent alone may also be suggested.
People can have chewing or swallowing difficulties for a variety of reasons e.g. following surgery or treatment for head and neck cancer, post stroke, poor dentition, elderly, following head and neck trauma.
Swallowing and chewing difficulties can be short term only or long term conditions. Either way it is important to ensure you are meeting your nutrient requirements during this period. The Dietitian will conduct a full diet assessment and provide recommendations, strategies, meal ideas and recipes to ensure you meet your nutrition requirements. In some cases specially formulated nutrition supplements may be recommended.
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