Nutrition trends often come from near and far, and some stay for years or only a few months. One nutrition trend, however, seems like it’s here to stay!
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True or False: Every Nutritionist is a Dietitian
Written by Arielle Kestenbaum | Reviewed by Adiana Castro, RD, MS,CDN, RDN
Every Nutritionist is a Dietitian. This is False.
Although many dietitians will refer to themselves as nutritionist, not all who refer to themselves as nutritionists are dietitians. The main difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian is the level of education and medical nutrition therapy clinical exposure. Anyone that studies wellness and nutrition can call themselves a “nutritionist”, but to become a dietitian, one must obtain certain certifications and licensures, and therefore the role of a dietitian is more regulated than that of a nutritionist.
After earning a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, as well as having completed many nutrition science courses, a dietitian usually must first complete a dietetic internship or practice program rotating many different areas within the scope of practice of a dietitian. For example, interns are required to rotate within healthcare facilities, food service companies and community settings, where they can be monitored and supervised. After completing the internship, an intern is required to take the national examination before obtaining the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential.
Once registered as a dietitian, they are able to organize food and nutrition plans and promote healthy eating habits to prevent and treat illnesses. They can also work within schools to teach nutrition education, as well as conduct research on many public health issues. There are so many different roads for a dietitian to go that falls under their scope of practice, that would not necessarily be OK for a nutritionist.
The term “nutritionist” is much broader, as it is not as regulated in the United States. Nutritionists typically do not have any professional training, and therefore should not be involved in the diagnosis or treatment of any disease. They definitely can be present for any type of support, as well as promotion of healthy lifestyles, but they cannot partake in the medical nutrition therapy aspect of nutrition (the therapeutic approach to treating medical conditions and their symptoms through specific diets).
Registered Dietitians and nutritionists both want to help people eat better and be healthier, but the education and practical training dietitians receive make them the true experts. This is something to keep in mind whether wanting to enter the field of nutrition or seeking expert nutrition advice!
Main Article: Chocolate and Cardiovascular Health
Written by Arielle Kestenbaum | Reviewed by Jennifer Calo, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, many of us are starting to ponder romantic gifts, flowers, and of course, chocolate! For many years, chocolate has been a treat near and dear to many. It has become a “feel good” food, that unfortunately has developed a negative connotation over the years. What if you were told that chocolate may not actually be as bad for you as you thought? Well, this is true! Chocolate, in moderation, can in fact have protective qualities, specifically for our cardiovascular systems. The important part is to know which kind of chocolate and how much can be helpful in keeping our hearts healthy and strong.
The main ingredient in any chocolate bar is cocoa bean. Cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids. Flavonoids are considered to be an antioxidant, which means that they can help the body resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, as well as from environmental contaminants.
Antioxidants sources help to prevent LDL (or bad cholesterol particles) from damaging artery walls. Research has shown that cocoa reduces levels of LDL cholesterol, in addition to slowing the rate at which LDL oxidizes. In addition to the antioxidant qualities of chocolate, research suggests that the flavonoids, specifically flavanols, have the potential to improve cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, and allowing for normal blood clotting by platelets.
Of course, not all forms of chocolate have the same kind of positive effects on our heart, as they don’t all contain high levels of flavanols. For example, 70% cocoa chocolate has a much more bitter taste than 50% due to greater concentration of flavanols and reduced sugar content. It is important to avoid chocolate that is labeled “processed with alkali” which reduces the flavanols. We recommend looking for brands that contain at least 70% cocoa, and limiting to 1 oz portion per day. Check the ingredient list to make sure cocoa is the first ingredient listed, and not sugar. Some great brands to look for include: Green and Black’s, Pascha, Ghirardelli Intense Dark, and Vivani. Organic brands are best to avoid artificial chemicals and sweeteners. Consuming 1 oz dark chocolate daily can actually reduce blood cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, in addition to satisfying your sweet tooth!
So for now, it’s important to enjoy chocolate in moderation a few times per week, as we want its effects to remain positive in keeping us both happy and healthy!
We all have childhood memories of biting into fresh, crisp slice of watermelon on a hot summer day, juices dripping down our chins and ruining the t-shirt Mom made us promise not to spill on. How come the watermelon seemed to be packed with infinitely more flavor in the summer than any other time of the year?