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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Best of a bad lot

Being a dietitian can be hard - many people expect you to be a diet purist. It is not uncommon for grown men to expose their belly to you in shame, for people to be almost disgusted to see you eating cake or chocolates and comments such as “you are well covered for a dietitian” are not uncommon.

The dietitians can be a tough bunch also. Choosing to recommend packaged foods in any context to patients or the average consumer is regularly questioned.

What is important to remember though, is that, like any behaviour or decision if life, there is what is ideal, and then there is reality. While fruit, nuts and unprocessed dairy may be the ideal choice of a snack for example, the reality is that people do eat packaged foods – in extremely large quantities.

So, is it better for dietitians to recommended the “best of a bad lot” in relation to packaged snack foods that are available on the market or pretend that people do not eat them and continue to rehash the same old nutrition messages which have thus far been fairly ineffective in preventing or managing the obesity issues in Australia?

I know which kind of dietitian I am, and find to be much more effective in realistically helping people to lose weight and keep it off, while recommending a combination of good quality food enjoyed on controlled amounts of both aerobic and resistance training. There just needs to be more of us in we are ever going to make a significant impact on the health of a nation.