Bring up nutrition and the result is a flood of questions. People want to know about organic foods, high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, protein requirements, fueling for sports, supplements, the best way to lose weight, and the latest fad diet.
All these questions underline one fact that cannot be ignored - nutrition information is confusing and conflicting.
The source of nutrition information is partially the reason for this confusion. Where do people turn for reliable information about nutrition? Anywhere they can: the media including television, books, and magazines, product labels, government or private agencies, weight loss companies, doctors or registered dietitians, nutritionists, and friends. Many people are telling the American public about nutrition.
The UNF Department of Health Promotion brings you many nutrition services including a Registered Dietitian to sort the nutrition fact from the nutrition fiction and to help you find realistic, common sense steps tailored to your health and nutrition goals. When it comes to nutrition, one size does not fit all!
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Dietitians, Nutritionists, and Nutritional Counselors – Oh My!
The Registered Dietitian (RD) is the nutrition professional. Someone claiming to be a nutrition expert could use many titles; but only a licensed RD has the credentials to provide medical nutrition counseling legally in Florida.
To become an RD requires a Bachelors degree in health/nutrition plus a 1,200-hour internship including rotations in institutional food service, clinical care, and community agencies. An RD must then pass an examination from the Commission on Dietetic Registration and in some states, such as Florida, obtain a license to practice. This high level of education and hands-on experience give the RD the ability to provide reliable nutrition information in many settings.
Nutritionist or Nutritional Specialist (and many other variations) are titles used to gain credibility. Beware: all nutritionists are not registered dietitians. Anyone can become a nutritionist regardless of education. One Web site only requires attendance at an 18-hour workshop and $300 to become a certified nutrition specialist.
That is quite a difference in education and training!
Who would you trust with your health?
Taking advice from someone other than an RD may be okay; but it may be hazardous to your health especially if there is chronic disease or underlying risk factors. The bottom line is only an RD can legally counsel someone by providing specific, individualized nutritional guidelines. Others can only provide general nutrition education and cannot provide advice that is specific to any individual.
The following services are offered free of charge to the university community. Please take advantage of the below offerings if you are a student, faculty, or staff at UNF.
Registered Dietitian - Individual Nutrition Counseling
Alexia Lewis, MS, RD, LD/N is the Registered Dietitian in the Department of Health Promotion. She is available to provide one-on-one nutrition counseling to those affiliated with the university. Appointments with RDs can range from $60 - $120 per hour - This is a free service for students, faculty, and staff! Appointments are typically 30-50 minutes.
During the first appointment, there is paperwork that will need to be completed including a MD referral form and HIPAA release. There are certain instances where an RD must work under a MD’s referral. This will be determined during the first appointment. You will not need to do anything to obtain the MD referral.
The majority of the first appointment will involve the RD learning about you. Considering your lifestyle, customs, and preferences is an integral part of the RD helping you to achieve your nutrition goals. If you just needed one-size-fits-all information, you could get that anywhere. The benefit of working with an RD is that you will receive accurate information about nutrition and goals will be tailored to your lifestyle. Future appointments will be more hands-on and focus on your nutrition goals, motivations, and challenges.
Arrange an appointment by calling the Department of Health Promotion at (904) 620-1570 or emailing email@example.com. Appointments fill up quickly and the RD is only available for counseling for 5-8 hours per week. If you need an appointment/information sooner than one is available with the RD, you may also visit the One Stop Nutrition Clinic.
One Stop Nutrition Clinic - Individual Nutrition Counseling
The One Stop Nutrition Clinic is an on-going partnership with the Brooks College of Health Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics program. The clinic is staffed by UNF Dietetic Interns in the Master of Science program for Nutrition & Dietetics. These interns already have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition & Dietetics. They are in the process of accumulating practice hours in hospitals and in clinics (such as One Stop Nutrition Clinic) in order to qualify to take the Registered Dietitian exam.
The One Stop Nutrition Clinic offers the UNF community free confidential nutrition education and counseling on various nutrition-related topics such as weight loss/gain, how to fuel properly for sports or exercise, living with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes. They also cover issues such as; what’s the real deal with supplements, protein, omega-3 fish oils, shopping on a budget, cooking with limited time, or generally healthy eating. Anything you would talk to an RD about, you can talk to the Dietetic Interns about!
One Stop Nutrition Clinic is open on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the semester in the UNF Department of Health Promotion’s office, building 61, room 1300. You may set up an appointment via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Department of Health Promotion at 620-1570. Walk-ins are welcome; please arrive by 3:00 p.m.
Group Nutrition Education and Support
Group sessions will be offered 1-2 times a semester. Groups will meet for 1-hour per week for six weeks. The group program follows Healthy Habits for Life, which is a curriculum designed by the Washington Dairy Council.
Group meetings will begin with a brief topic of the week and then include time for group discussion and support. Topics will include evaluating your eating habits, a healthy approach to eating, physical activity, menu planning, grocery shopping, and eating on the go. Space is limited (maximum 12 people per group) and there is a high demand for these spaces.
If you are interested in information about the next group, please email email@example.com.
Nutrition Classes/Workshops, Cooking Demonstrations, and Nutrition Games
During the semester, you may find the RD and/or nutrition students out in the university community providing lessons/workshops, doing cooking demonstrations, or playing nutrition games! These are all designed to be fun and interactive events.
Lesson topics may include “Nutrition 101,” “Surviving the Holidays,” “Eating on a Budget,” or “Healthy Options on Campus.”
Cooking demonstrations may focus on “Quick and Healthy Breakfasts,” “Travel Snacks to Pack,” or focus on specific foods such as quinoa or flatbreads.
Nutrition Games include Nutrition Jeopardy, Beach Ball Trivia, Spin and Win, or Osprey Options. You can win prizes for playing!
Information about topics, dates, and times will be distributed through the Department of Health Promotion Web site and Facebook page, the UNF calendar of events, or through the UNF/Osprey Updates sent from UNF via email. Please contact the RD (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any topics or foods you would like to see covered in future semesters.
For us to be properly nourished, our body needs many different types of nutrients such as; Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, and Water. Here you can find a brief description of functions and sources of each nutrient.
Choose MyPlate is the US Government’s initiative to promote healthy eating habits based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The MyPlate icon replaces the Food Guide Pyramid. MyPlate is an easy-to-understand visual of a healthy plate of food incorporating the five food groups: protein, grains, fruit, vegetables, and dairy.
Other messages for healthy eating include
- Balance your Calories: enjoy your food, avoid oversized portions
- Foods to Increase: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy
- Foods to Reduce: sodium, sugary drinks
Fruits and Veggies - More Matters
Offering expert cooking advice, nutrition information, and shopping tips, the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters campaign demonstrates that eating MORE fruits and vegetables does matter to all of us. The Fruits & Veggies—More Matters campaign replaces the 5 A Day for Better Health Program. For more information, visit www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov.
This link takes you to a video about sports nutrition and links to such topics as eating before and after exercise, hydration, vitamin and supplement needs, and other topics.
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets
The mission of the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements is “The mission of ODS is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population.” (source: http://ods.od.nih.gov/About/MissionOriginMandate.aspx)
On this page, you will find general information about supplements and a list of dietary supplements with links to fact sheets that include general information, results from scientific studies, and safety concerns.
“The Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center is a source for scientifically accurate information regarding the roles of vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, dietary phytochemicals (plant chemicals that may affect health), and some foods and beverages in preventing disease and promoting health.” (http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/).
This is a great resource with information on vitamins, minerals, supplements, and other nutrients and provides information including function, disease prevention and treatment, sources, safety, and references. Some examples include Co-Enzyme CoQ10, L-Carnitine, Resveratrol, Soy Isoflavones, Garlic, and many others.