What is the difference between a Nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian?

A: The title Nutritionist is not protected by law in all provinces in Canada and is not  professionally regulated in the U.S. Therefore, there are no minimum qualifications required by a person to use this title. However the title "Registered Dietitian", "Professional Dietitian" and "Dietitian" are protected by law in Canada through provincial legislation.  Only qualified practitioners who have met national standards for education and training and are members of a provincial regulatory bodies can use one of the following designations -- RD, PDt or RDt.  Similarly, in the U.S. "Registered Dietitian"  is a professionally regulated term. A Registered Dietitian must meet specific education and professional standards. They have completed at least a bachelor's degree at an accredited university and have completed an internship providing a minimum of 900 hours of supervised practice. Then the RD must pass an examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) and participate in a continuing professional education program in order to maintain active registration in their professional association. Registered Dietitians are nutrition science experts. They are the most appropriate health professional to offer safe, appropriate, science based nutritional assessments and consultations.

Q: Do you sell any diet products or supplements?

A: No. This could create a conflict of interest situation and therefore is not practiced at this office. Appropriate supplements or diet products, as necessary, will be discussed with each client. Places to purchase any products recommended at the consultation will be dependent upon client's resources and geographical location.

Q: Will I be "starving" with the diet recommendations for weight management?

A: Typically, clients may not be eating enough for the body's basal or basic requirements. Therefore with dietary recommendations for an appropriate amount of calories for the body's requirement and activity, a more normal metabolic rate will be achieved. This will aid in the body's ability to build muscle tissue and therefore increase fat burning, even at rest.

Q: I have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and have not been able to achieve much relief of my symptoms with medication and diet changes to date. Can a diet really make a difference with my painful symptoms?

A: There are many possible triggers for an irritable bowel and therefore all of these possibilities will be explored in order to obtain a goal of relief of symptoms. The dietary approach does not involve long-term medications. There may be specific foods that are causing continual gastrointestinal irritation and therefore poor tolerance of many other foods. With dietary changes, permanent symptom relief can be achieved. Investigation into the types of medication taken may uncover some potential GI irritants. Then simple dietary changes such as removing potential damaging foods which can result in improved GI tissue integrity. With improved GI integrity, improved immunity will also aid in improved symptoms. Also, appropriate dietary supplements as deemed necessary, can aid in improving the tissue in the GI tract, and may be recommended to aid in the long-term alleviation of the painful effects and challenges of an irritable bowel.

Q: My child still appears to be exhibiting allergic symptoms of a runny nose and rash even though we have eliminated all of her known food allergens. Is it possible that she still has some food allergens that did not show up on her skin testing results?

A: Current tests for food allergies can be very limiting in that not all problem foods may be identified on the standard allergy tests. There may be foods that are not considered food allergens, but rather food intolerances, that will not be detected on the standard food testing methods. Food intolerances can cause similar or more severe symptoms to the diagnosed food allergens. There may also be related foods to the foods diagnosed on the food allergy testing that have not been eliminated, that could be causing similar symptoms to the diagnosed food allergen.   These possibilities will be explored in the nutritional consultations.

Q: Over the past 2 months, I have increased my exercise regime from 3x/week to 5x/week and am finding that my fatigue has been increasing dramatically in the past couple of weeks. Can a change in diet help my fatigue or should I decrease my workouts back to 3x/week?

A: Carbohydrates provide fuel for the brain and the muscles. If you are not consuming enough carbohydrates to cover your body's basic needs and the increased exercise requirements, then you will exhibit fatigue as well as many other symptoms of inadequate intake, such as muscle tissue loss and subsequent increased fat tissue, joint pains, headaches, and difficulty concentrating, to name a few.

Q: Does the diet for ADD/ADHD involve removal of all artificial colors/flavors and sugars?

A: This was a very popular diet back in the 1980s to treat "hyperactive children". It was based on the Benjamin Feingold diet that promoted removal of all artificial colors and flavors and high sugar foods, as well as foods containing salicylates or natural aspirin type compounds. This resulted in a very restrictive diet for children. The salicylate removal involved elimination of most fruit and many spices. Therefore, this diet became the child's and the parent's worst nightmare. Currently, diet therapy for diet and behavior involves ensuring that the child is consuming adequate calories and nutrients for their growth, development, and activity needs. Inadequate intake can result in symptoms of fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood swings for example which can be a result of a hypoglycemic type response with the predictable symptom development. Also with many children, physical symptom development associated with some food allergens or food sensitivities/intolerances must be explored as a possible trigger for behavioral symptoms in these children.

Q: Do you provide nutrition consultations for autism spectrum disorders (ASD)? 

A: Due to my experience with ADD/ADHD, several parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders have contacted me to consult with their children.  I have found many parallels with ASD and my ADD/ADHD assessments and consultations.  The copious amounts of autism research being pursued world wide in basic sciences and medicine has uncovered very useful information with respect to the connection between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract.  The prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders in ASD, and the resulting poor absorption and digestion are critical findings.  The research has linked this to immunity and detoxification concerns, if not already evident, as well as malnutrition, which can affect development milestones i.e. physical, sensory and cognitive.  Groups such as DAN (Defeat Autism Now) and the Autism Research Institute have focused their efforts on this disorder, with the ultimate goals of prevention, early diagnosis and effective treatment for improved symptom management and hopeful recovery.  They have been helpful in disseminating current research findings to health care practitioners who have an interest in managing these disorders. Therefore I have been able to incorporate such pertinent findings to provide effective, individualized nutrition assessments and consultations for autism spectrum disorders and ADD/ADHD, while still satisfying goals of evidence-based diet therapy to maintain growth, development and activity needs.

Q: I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Are medications the only course of treatment?

A: Typically the fibromyalgia sufferer exhibits some common symptoms such as widespread aches and pains, chronic fatigue, and multiple tender points. Many sufferers also present with irritable bowel syndrome. If the irritable bowel symptoms can be treated through diet, and improved digestion and absorption evolves, a reduction or alleviation of symptoms can be achieved, with the improved nutritional intake and uptake of nutrients. This can result in improved energy and an increased potential for muscle mass development, which can aid in decreased muscle aches/pain. Fewer aches and pains that may have been due to increased uric acid with low carbohydrate absorption with irritable bowel symptoms may also occur. There are also other nutritional issues to explore with this condition such as the common rapid weight gain. Any weight loss can also aid in decreasing muscle and joint pain associated with excess weight.

Many of the above nutritional issues can be explored with chronic fatigue syndrome as well.


Q: My infant is failing to thrive even though he is consuming the recommended amount of formula and foods for his age. Why is he not gaining weight?

A: There can be many causes for failure to thrive, and many times when the MDs have ruled out any medical basis, diet has to be explored. The amount of stooling and the form of the stools should be investigated to assess whether there is appropriate absorption. If there is abnormal stooling, inappropriate foods or formula can be a definite trigger. Because of this, a thorough dietary intake analysis and assessment with appropriateness for age should be completed, along with a symptom diary of abnormal symptoms and stooling patterns that may be associated with a particular food intake. If there are chronic symptoms, foods or formulas consumed daily have to be investigated. The above must be explored as soon as possible to ensure that the infant is consuming and absorbing adequate and appropriate foods to ensure normal growth and development.

Nutrition -The Final Piece Of The Puzzle