The Role Of A Dietitian

Have you ever wondered what a dietitian does?  Pomme's  Dietitian Areli Hermanson gives us the scoop!

In a nutshell, Dietitians help people make healthy food choices by separating fact from fiction and supporting people to eat in a way that supports one’s optimal growth, development and vitality.

Registered dietitians trained to provide advice and counselling about diet, food and nutrition. Dietitians use the best available evidence and promising practice teamed with good judgment about the client’s or communities’ unique values and circumstances to provide guidance and recommendations.

Like Nurses, Doctors and Pharmacists, Dietitians are regulated health professionals. To use the title Registered Dietitian (RD), dietitians must be registered with the dietetic regulatory body in the province in which they practice.

Why become one?
I can’t speak for all dietitians but I became one because I had always had an interest in science and health science.  When I was in my second year of an Applied Biochemistry Program my mom developed end stage kidney failure. The implications of food choices and the management of kidney disease (and health in general) is critical. I wanted to better understand how to help people live their healthiest life no matter what they were facing, so I looked into the Dietetics program and switched programs at the end of second year.  A few years later after many courses of food systems, food science and food systems, psychology, physiology, nutrition and the like,  I trained at a large teaching hospital and began my career in dietetics. Over time and through my own experiences and those around me I have expanded my practice to include working in the areas of health promotion, fertility, the natural food industry, dietary supplements, gluten allergy and intolerance, weight management, relationship to food and others.

How do you become a Dietitian? 
Someone becomes a dietitian by completing a 4-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics, completing a one year internship or practicum program and then successfully completing an exam and registering with the College of Dietitians. Once registered, continuing education is a requirement.

Where are they employed?
Everywhere! - In every corner of health care from health promotion to acute care and end-of-life treatments to government, food manufacturing, industry and consulting.  They influence policy development, direct nutrition programs, manage quality food services and conduct nutrition research. Dietitians work in hospitals, care and treatment centres, private clinics, outpatient clinics, public health units, long term care facilities, corporate wellness programs, summer camps as well as work with media on print, radio, and the internet.

If you have a question for Areli, please ask! Areli loves to help people make the healthiest choices for their diet. Email Subject line "Ask the Dietitian".