The media is full of wellness bloggers, personal trainers, nutritionists, and health and fitness experts offering advice as to how to eat well and live healthy. But the public is still confused.
We all agree on one message – too much processed food is not good for anyone.
But who should you turn to if you are looking for help to support your personal health and fitness needs? Here is a straightforward guide to help you choose expertise.
Dietitians: we are a legally protected bunch! We are the only nutrition experts permitted to work within the NHS and have to be able to demonstrate Continuing Professional Development to the HCPC with whom we are registered. Dietitians are medically trained and the science and art of dietetics is in being able to translate complex scientific evidence into straightforward diet and lifestyle messages for an individual or the public to understand. We support dietary and lifestyle change through the use of behaviour change strategies, and we also offer counselling skills when seeing individuals within a private clinic or hospital setting.
Nutritionists: Some nutritionists will hold a degree in Nutrition and voluntarily register with the Association for Nutrition They are most likely to work within industry or in public health, though some will also deliver private clinic work. If you decide to pursue a personal with a nutritionist, ensure you feel confident in their accreditation. Currently anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even if they have only completed a weekend or online course.
Fitness Experts: gym and leisure center workers are the fitness workers with whom we are most familiar. If you attend a gym or personal trainer as long as you work within their realm of expertise i.e. fitness training your fitness levels should improve. Look for experience and ask for references if you decide to work with a personal trainer in your local park. Make sure your trainer does not push you too hard at the outset – to achieve long lasting change you want to long term absorption of activity into your daily life.
Wellness Bloggers: these guys are all over social media usually looking extremely attractive! Be mindful of what you are being told as much information is garnered from the internet and may not have a sound scientific evidence base behind it. If it’s being suggested to reduce your intake of a particular food group e.g. dairy, or indeed nutrient e.g. gluten (a type of protein) be wary! We should only reduce or change things like this when advised to by a medically trained health practitioner.