Medical Nutrition Therapy More Than Just a “Diet” for People with Diabetes
November is American Diabetes Month. Recent statistics show that nearly half of all American adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Sadly, however, many people are not given the educational tools (particularly related to nutrition) needed to manage the disease throughout a lifetime. Often, patients are instructed to eat a “diabetic diet” and handed a pre-printed diet sheet.
Diabetic Nutrition Counseling (sometimes referred to as medical nutrition therapy) is very different and helps thousands of people reach their health goals every year. This one-on-one training helps patients develop a plan to eat healthy based on nutrition needs, blood sugar management goals and food preferences.
These programs make eating easier for people with diabetes. With the help of a registered dietitian you can take the guesswork out of your diet and feel confident that you are eating the right way to manage your health and feel great.
How is Medical Nutrition Therapy Different than Dieting?
Diets take a one-size fits-all approach to losing weight and improving health. They assume that everyone will want to eat the same things and that eating in one particular way will be good for all people. Unfortunately, that’s not true.
Medical nutrition therapy helps you make good nutrition decisions based on your own individual life. Your dietitian will help you learn about food choices and find the foods to eat based on your:
- Living and job situation
- Medical/Nutritional concerns (such as lactose intolerance or Celiac disease)
- Personal tastes and food preferences
- Ability to shop for and cook healthy foods
- Abilities to make changes to your eating habits
Medical nutrition therapy has many goals that don’t simply focus on weight loss or appearance. The goals of medical nutrition therapy focus on improving your health in ways you can see. Goals might include:
- Achieve a Hemoglobin A1C under 7 percent (This laboratory test measures blood glucose control over the last 2-3 months).
- Lower your blood pressure to below 140/80
- Lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol to under 100
- Elevate your HDL (good) cholesterol to over 50
Your dietitian can help you meet these goals while ensuring you still enjoy eating. He or she will recommend evidence-based changes to your diet and help you cut through all the marketing noise related to eating healthy foods. Thanks to their years of studying and training, they know what will actually help you and what may just be a current fad.
At Bon Secours, our expert dietitians offer comprehensive medical nutrition therapy. After a detailed evaluation, we offer follow up appointments to help you continue to learn about food, nutrition labels, cooking and more. Individual eating strategies are developed to address your personal challenges. These appointments are often covered by health insurance, so you may be able to receive medical nutrition therapy at little to no cost. Reasonable self-pay rates are available to those without insurance or without insurance coverage for nutrition.