Posts Tagged ‘Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’

by Shelly Najjar

What’s the Academy? Not “The Academy” that gets thanked during awards season, but the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Who and What

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy) is the new name for what used to be called the American Dietetic Association (ADA). It is “the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals” and has more than 75,000 members (source). 72% of those members are Registered Dietitians (read the post I wrote about that topic).

Where

Academy headquarters is located in Chicago, Illinois. They also have an office in Washington, DC.

Why

The website, eatright.org, lists its Mission and Vision:

Mission — Empowering members to be the nation’s food and nutrition leaders

Vision — Optimizing the nation’s health through food and nutrition

How

The Academy’s website lists 6 ways in which it “strives to improve the nation’s health and advance the profession of dietetics through research, education, and advocacy.”

  • Providing Reliable and Evidence-based Nutrition Information for the Public
  • Accrediting Undergraduate and Graduate Programs
  • Credentialing Dietetics Professionals
  • Advocating for Public Policy
  • Publishing a Peer-reviewed Periodical: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Giving Back: the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation

You can read more about these efforts at the Academy’s website.

Shelly Najjar, MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and wellness coach at Confident Nutrition. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter (@ShellyNajjar), and LinkedIn.

Like this post? You can support me and this blog if you click here before shopping on Amazon, so that a small commission on whatever you buy will be sent to me at no extra cost to you.

By Shelly Najjar

I know someone who eats something called Bran Buds. It’s “good for you”, but I would never eat it. Why? Because besides looking like cat food, it doesn’t taste good. I would rather get my fiber from things I enjoy eating. Below is information about what fiber is, what it does, and where you can find it.

What is fiber?

Short answer: Fiber is a bunch of indigestible carbohydrates.
Longer answer: Fiber is a bunch of different types of indigestible carbohydrates that may do slightly different (but good) things in the body. It occurs naturally in many foods like fruits and vegetables, but also can be added to others to increase the nutritional benefit.

What does it do?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) says a lot about fiber and its benefits. Here are a few things from them, with interpretive comments.

Populations that consume more dietary fiber have less chronic disease. […] High-fiber diets provide bulk, are more satiating, and have been linked to lower body weights. (Taken from the 2008 position paper on the health benefits of fiber)

Statistically speaking, people who eat more fiber don’t get chronic diseases as often. Eating what is considered a “high-fiber diet” (25-35g fiber each day) makes your bowel movements larger, makes you feel fuller, and may have some connection to weighing less.

Fiber is known for its benefits for your digestive system and its role in colon cancer prevention, and fiber is good for the heart, too.

Years of research suggest soluble fibers in beans, psyllium, oats, flaxseed and oat bran help lower blood cholesterol levels for some people. (Taken from from a previous nutrition tip of the day from the AND, archived by the U of Colorado, Colorado Springs)

Fiber “cleans out the colon” (colon=large intestine) (there’s a reason some people call it “Nature’s Broom”). People who eat more fiber reduce their risk for colon cancer. Soluble fiber (a type of fiber that can absorb water and other fluids) can lower blood cholesterol for certain people.

How does it work?

Bigger Bowel Movements: There are different kinds of fiber, and they all look different at a molecular level, kind of like branches. Things like bits of food, etc. get caught in those branches and don’t get absorbed by the small intestine. They go to the large intestine, with all that indigestible fiber, which has also absorbed a lot of water.

When we can’t digest something, the naturally occurring bacteria in the intestine eat what they like of the left over food. They break down the fiber and other things trapped in those “branches” and produce gasses (That’s why some fiber-rich foods make you gassy). All the rest of the indigestible stuff, plus the water and gas, takes up more room (is bigger) than the bowel movement that would have been made otherwise.

Feel Fuller: Remember how some fibers can absorb water? When they do, they expand. Things that take up more room in your stomach make you feel full.

Weighing Less: There are several reasons why this could happen. One: Fiber is found naturally in a lot of whole grains, fruits, veggies, etc. People who eat those things tend to weigh less. Two: Fiber, as mentioned before, cleans you out. That extra stuff sitting in there can weigh you down.

Cleaning Out That Colon: When things take up more room in the large intestine, it makes you want to “go”. All that fiber takes up a lot of room. As the colon (large intestine) stretches out, the little bits of excrement that have not yet been passed are pushed out by the bigger bowel movement. Also, water trapped by fiber is joined by additional water brought into the intestines (water is attracted to the byproducts of naturally occurring bacteria eating fiber we can’t digest). More water, softer bowel movements.

Reduced Colon Cancer Risk: The stuff that’s sitting in the large intestine (the leftover excrement that didn’t quite make it out) can be bad for you. The previous Cleaning Out That Colon section should explain the rest.

Soluble Fiber and Lower Cholesterol: The soluble fiber (the one that absorbs water and other fluids) can absorb bile. Bile is something your body produces to help with digestion. It always contains cholesterol. Bile gets recycled, so the cholesterol that was in it keeps getting used. The body can make more cholesterol, and more bile, but it’s efficient to recycle. So it does, but if you have high cholesterol, it might be better for the body to get rid of the excess. Soluble fiber soaks up bile (and the cholesterol in it), which means there is less to recycle, and the body produces new bile. However, it doesn’t seem to get as carried away, as long as you keep eating soluble fiber to keep it under control.

Less Chronic Disease: Keeping your weight under control and having normal cholesterol levels lessens your risk of chronic disease. In addition, many of the foods that have fiber have other things that decrease chronic disease risk.

Where is it found?

This was mentioned briefly before now, but here it is again. Fiber can be found in many foods. I understand that some people really like the flavor of Bran Buds, but since I’m not one of them, I’m going to list some foods that I like that also have fiber, and hope that you like them too.

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Wild rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Baked beans

A Word of Caution

The AND is very clear about this and I want to be too:

Make changes slowly. Fiber helps move food through your intestine, but it takes time for your body to adjust to eating more. Adding too much too quickly may result in gas, bloating and cramping. (Taken from an article on Irritable Bowel Syndrome by the AND)

Don’t overdo your fiber intake. Eating more than 50 to 60 grams of fiber in a day can also lower the absorption of other vitamins and minerals that occurs during digestion. (Taken from a previous nutrition tip of the day from the AND, archived by the U of Colorado, Colorado Springs)

Drink plenty of fluids. Set a goal of at least 8 cups per day. You may need even more fluid as you eat higher amounts of fiber. Fluid helps your body process fiber without discomfort. (Taken from a High Fiber Foods list available through the AND’s Nutrition Care Manual)

Summary

  • Fiber is indigestible carbohydrate found in naturally many foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain products.
  • Fiber has many benefits, including making you feel full, cleaning out the intestine, and decreasing colon cancer risk. It may also help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that can help lower cholesterol.
  • Increase fiber gradually, or suffer consequences.
  • Drink plenty of fluids with your fiber, to prevent discomfort.

Read More

Shelly Najjar, MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and wellness coach at Confident Nutrition. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter (@ShellyNajjar), and LinkedIn.

Like this post? You can support me and this blog if you click here before shopping on Amazon, so that a small commission on whatever you buy will be sent to me at no extra cost to you.

By Shelly Najjar

In recent news segments and magazine articles, dietitians have been called in to talk about food, nutrition, healthy eating, and weight loss. But who are dietitians and what training do they have?

Who they are

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (the Academy) website, “Registered dietitian nutritionists — RDNs — are the food and nutrition experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living.”

Note: AND approved the term Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) in 2013. The term RDN means the same thing as Registered Dietitian (RD). It is up to each credentialed professional to determine whether they wish to use the term Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

Their training

To be called a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in the United States, the person must

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree or higher at an educational institution accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy).
  • Complete their supervised practice covering multiple skill areas (for at least 1200 hours) from a program that is also accredited by CADE.
  • Pass the national registration exam which is offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
  • Continue learning by meeting Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements.

(Click to read more about Qualifications of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist)

Dietitian vs. Nutritionist

The title of “nutritionist” is not protected, but the titles of “Registered Dietitian and “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist” are. According to the Academy, the new title of Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) was intended to “differentiate the rigorous credential requirements and highlight that all registered dietitians are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians” (Read more about the RDN credential).

They go on to say that the “inclusion of the word “nutritionist” in the credential communicates a broader concept of wellness (including prevention of health conditions beyond medical nutrition therapy) as well as treatment of conditions” (Academy). Dietetics is treating medical conditions with nutrition therapy (the application of nutrition science to specific diseases and conditions), so someone who practices in this professional area is called a dietitian. It is a more specific term than nutritionist.

How to find an RD

The Academy has a referral service called Find an Expert. Visitors can use it to find RD/RDNs near them by entering their zip code, city and state, or name of a place. The search results display the RD/RDN’s name, contact information, expertise, languages spoken, and services provided.

Summary

  • There are strict guidelines and requirements to meet in order to be called a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), which include a bachelor’s degree, supervised practice, national exam, and continuing education.
  • RD/RDNs are food and nutrition experts, who can work in many settings, and can give clients advice on a variety of topics including weight management, meal ideas, and food safety.
  • Some RD/RDNs call themselves nutritionists, but not all nutritionists can call themselves dietitians.
  • To find an RD/RDN near you, check out the Academy’s Find an Expert referral service.

Shelly Najjar, MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and wellness coach at Confident Nutrition. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter (@ShellyNajjar), and LinkedIn.

Like this post? You can support me and this blog if you click here before shopping on Amazon, so that a small commission on whatever you buy will be sent to me at no extra cost to you.