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Clinical Nutrition – Patient Education and Resources

Clinical Nutrition – Patient Education and Resources

Learn more about the clinical nutrition resources available to you through related links, wellness tools, support groups, and frequently asked questions. 

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What is the difference between a registered dietitian (RD) or dietetic technician, registered (DTR), and a nutritionist?

The RD and DTR credentials can only be used by dietetics practitioners who are currently authorized by ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics) to use these credentials. These are legally protected titles.

People with these credentials have completed specific academic and supervised practice requirements, successfully completed a national registration examination, and maintained requirements for recertification.

All RDs and DTRs study nutrition and applications to food and health. Some RDs or DTRs call themselves nutritionists. However, the definition and requirements for the term “nutritionist” vary. Some states have licensure laws that define the scope of practice for someone using that designation.

What should I eat?

The answer to the question "What should I eat?" is actually pretty simple. But you wouldn't know that from news reports on diet and nutrition studies, whose sole purpose seems to be to confuse people on a daily basis.

When it comes down to it, though — when all the evidence is looked at together — the best nutrition advice on what to eat is relatively straightforward:

  • Eat a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Choose healthy fats, like olive and canola oil
  • Eat red meat and unhealthy fats, like saturated and trans fats, sparingly

Drink water and other healthy beverages, and limit sugary drinks and salt. Most important of all is keeping calories in check, so you can avoid weight gain, which makes exercise a key partner to a healthy diet.

What does "enriched" or "fortified" mean?

Both terms mean that nutrients have been added to make the food more nutritious.

Enriched means nutrients that were lost during food processing have been added back. An example is adding back certain vitamins lost in processing wheat to make white flour.

Fortified means vitamins or minerals have been added to a food that weren't originally in the food. An example is adding vitamin D to milk.

What does “organic” mean on a food label?

The term organic has specific guidelines defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program.

It states that organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic plant foods are produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. A government-approved certifier must inspect the farm to ensure these standards are met.

In addition to organic farming, there are USDA standards for organic handling and processing.

There are three levels of organic claims on food labels:

  • 100% organic: Products that are completely organic or made of only organic ingredients qualify for this claim and a USDA Organic Seal.
  • Organic: Products in which at least 95 percent of the ingredients are organic qualify for this claim and a USDA Organic Seal.
  • Made with organic ingredients: These are food products in which at least 70 percent of ingredients are certified organic. The USDA Organic Seal cannot be used, but "made with organic ingredients" may appear on its packaging.
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