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Dietitians’s Week 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Contents

Dietitians' Week 2017 – Celebrating Evidence & Expertise

The 4th annual Dietitian’s Week is here, and this year’s theme is ‘Evidence and Expertise’!This is a huge week for the world of evidence-based nutrition, as it's a way of educating people how important it is to consider a whole body of evidence and not just one or two pieces posted in the media. There are loads of events all over the Nation right now, On Monday, Leeds hosted a brilliant event called Eat Fact Not Fiction, where high profile speakers discussed the importance of evidence and expertise in the field of Nutrition. The videos for these will be posted throughout the week.

This week also happens to be Healthy Eating week which is a week dedicated to promoting healthy living through learning about healthy eating, drinking and physical activity. All schools, nurseries, universities and workplaces are able to get involved and so far, record levels have registered; 9271 nurseries and schools, and 401 workplaces and universities! You can register today here to receive all the resources you need to plan your BNF Healthy Eating Week.To keep in line with this theme we caught up with one of Kafoodle’s dieticians, Linia, and asked for her thoughts and advice on some nutrition- based questions, including current trends, and where to go for reliable information. Here’s what she had to say…How can you tell a nutrition truth from a fad?Nutrition is vulnerable to misinformation. Everyone needs to eat, and everyone has an opinion on what they should be eating, but this variety can often leave us bombarded with a mixture of information. We, therefore, need to ensure that we are doing our research around these diets, and ensuring that the information given has been validated by a professional. Unfortunately it seems that the food industry is more than happy to take advantage of health conscious consumers, creating and promoting products and diets that perpetuate fads to boost their own profits.Celebrity endorsement can be particularly influential; the media reports how a certain diet worked for them and suddenly everyone is doing it.We must learn to recognize the professionals!Dieticians work under a protected title, however, did you know that anyone can claim to be a Nutritionist or Nutritional Therapist? In light of the increasing presence of nutrition on social media, there is an increase of inaccurate and potentially dangerous information being shared. ‘Fight the Fads’, a group of student dietitians from King’s College London, have set out to change this. They work to debunk ‘nutritional myths & fads with nutritional science’ via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The group have even initiated a government Petition: Make Nutritionist a legally protected title which is fully supported by the Association for Nutrition (AfN). What are the current trends and why do dietitians worry about them?The BDA ( The Association of UK Dietitians) compiled a list of the top 5 celebrity- endorsed diets they are most concerned about for 2017.These include

  • ‘clean’ eating
  • diet pills
  • teatoxes
  • the 6:1 diet
  • green juices

Source Taking these trends and fads to extremes can precede the eating disorder Orthorexia Nervosa, an obsession with healthy eating that ironically leads to malnourishment through unnecessary avoidance of important food groups such as dairy, wheat and even fruit.One of the biggest trends is the ‘free from’ diet. This involves cutting out food groups- primarily gluten and diary- that can lead to key nutritional deficiencies. We understand that food intolerances are on the increase, however always speak with your GP before making and drastic changes to your diet so replacements can be considered. Changes in consumer nutrition education and opinions will shift demand towards niche diets, and around one-third of British consumers are buying and eating free-from food. [Source]Recent years have also seen a greater tendency for grazing rather than large meals. Increasingly, the consumer wants to know that their food comes from a sustainable source – this gives restaurants an opportunity for innovative menu options; Wahaca was a winner at the 2015 SRA awards for insect eating innovation. Does the thought of serving up grasshoppers sound weird to you? Perhaps it shouldn’t - 80% of the world’s population already consume insects as a normal part of their diet and they are a great alternative source of protein.What nutrition sites or resources can you trust for reliable information?RDUK twitter chats regularly discuss topical aspects of nutrition which have included mindful eating, probiotics and food as medicine.The Fight the Fads monthly column in the Healthy Food Guide magazine (also available online) discusses nutrition news and faddy trends to watch out for. For reliable information, the top 3 internet resources are:

  • The BNF
  • The BDA for fact sheets
  • Websites that are designed for specific conditions, such as the IBS Network.

So what’s the take home message?Remember to be skeptical of nutritional information in the media unless you can be sure the information has been interpreted by a registered nutritionist (RNutr) or dietitian. There are so many articles, guides, and celebrity endorsements out there, it is vital to get all the facts before making a decision. Of course, if you are in any doubt, you should always consult a health professional- your GP should be able to point you in the right direction.

At Kafoodle we really support the provision of food transparency. We want all diners to have access to this information to ensure they can make informed choices about the food they eat, but if this information is inaccurate or misinformed, then potential risks to health can arise.We support Linia entirely when she advises you should always be skeptical of dietary information unless it has been interpreted by a registered nutritionist or dietitian, and urge you to always be vigilant when it comes to these matters.If you would like any more advice about this, or on how Kafoodle helps in the fight for food transparency, then please contact Annie.gladwell@kafoodle.com

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