By Justinne Lou Go, RND
MOST often than not, when one thinks of seeing a Nutritionist-Dietitian (ND), it is related to weight management concerns — either weight loss or weight gain. However, there are more health concerns that would warrant you to see an ND beyond just weight problems.
Health or the concept of wellness has a spectrum that is illustrated in a scale diagram called the “Illness-Wellness Continuum” which was proposed by Dr. John Travis in 1975. On the right side of the Continuum are degrees of wellness while the left side reflects degrees of illness. This shows that an individual can be considered unwell despite the absence of any symptoms. In other words, just because you have normal lab results and do not experience any symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you are healthy or well.
Since conventional medicine only treats individuals who complain of symptoms, injuries, or are in critical condition, it tends to bring an individual only to the neutral state of wellness (as can be seen in the Continuum) wherein symptoms or signs of illness cease to present themselves. However, it does not mean that an individual is prevented from progressing into disease. Thus, the Continuum promotes preventive medicine by making both patients and healthcare practitioners aware that the absence or presence of symptoms is not the only basis for determining one’s health status and that health can also involve the emotional and mental states of an individual. It also shows that wellbeing is a dynamic rather than a static process.
And since I’ve mentioned in my previous article that nutrition is the beginning and the end-point of health management, it would be relevant to suggest that anyone who is not at the point of optimal health would have good reason to see an ND. Such as, if your diet or eating habits are not providing you adequate nutrition to achieve or maintain optimum health, then it would be best to get guidance from an ND to learn the right eating practices for you.
Here’s a list of some health concerns you probably didn’t know you could see an ND for:
Food intolerances (different from food allergies; ask me about this if you haven’t read my article about this)
Preparing for pregnancy
Gastrointestinal issues (i.e. frequently feeling bloated, constipation, gassiness, GERD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Hormonal issues (i.e. peri-menopause, menopause, PCOS, thyroid problems)
Diet for Depression
Autoimmune diseases (i.e. lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
Now that you know of more reasons to see an ND, my next article will be about what to expect when booking a consultation with an ND and how an ND may help you with any of the mentioned health concerns.