This year’s National Nutrition Month, held every March, has been a disaster for registered dietitians. I speak for myself as one of the rank and file when I say our professional association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, threw us under the bus. Again.
The fiasco started on March 12th when The New York Times ran an article titled, A Cheese ‘Product’ Gains Kids’ Nutrition Seal. It described how the Academy gave Kraft permission to add our ‘Kids Eat Right’ logo to Kraft Singles, those individually wrapped slices of pasteurized prepared cheese product. ‘Kids Eat Right’ is a nutrition education program run by the Academy’s foundation. Kraft Singles is the first product to carry the logo, in the form of a seal. It looks like a product endorsement, but the Academy maintains it’s not. Unfortunately for them, it quacks like a duck.
Due to the absurdity of an organization of nutrition professionals promoting Kraft Singles, major news outlets, including ABC News, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, US News and others, picked up the story. They called into question the credentials of registered dietitians. It was guilt by association for us. But none was worse than Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, who quipped while pointing to a package of Kraft Singles, “the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is an academy in the same way this is cheese.” Oh, the shame!
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Recently we reported on a study by HealthiNation that revealed that Americans have an overly optimistic view of their nutritional well being. While majority of adults (52%) think that they are doing all they can do to achieve a balanced nutritional diet, 76% of adults are not getting the minimum daily serving of fruits and vegetables as recommended by the USDA.
To help close the gap between that optimism and the sober reality, we caught up with Sharon Richter, RD, a registered dietitian who is passionate about helping people understand the impact diet and nutrition have on their overall health. Based in New York City, Richter hosts HealthiNation’s nutrition programs and has a private practice where she counsels clients about sports nutrition, weight loss/gain, eating disorders, and disease prevention for children, adolescents and adults.
“I recommend that people try to achieve balance,” said Richter. “If you eat healthy 80% of the time and ensure that you’re meeting all of your dietary needs, you can indulge a little bit during the other 20% of the time.”
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Registered dietitians, also known as RDs, are food and nutrition experts who have met a number of academic and professional requirements that qualify them to provide reliable, objective information about food, fitness and the latest scientific findings from the dietetic community.
Unlike a doctor or a nurse who specialize in medicine, registered dietitians study food and food science to determine the best diet and lifestyle plans to help nourish our bodies. Becoming a registered dietitian, while not exactly easy, is accessible for anyone once they have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited US university or course work approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
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