By Roslyn Seselja, STC Dietitian
Ahhh, google. Where would we be without it? I confess to deferring to good old Google perhaps too often, particularly when my kids ask me curly questions about geography or history! While it is really handy to have so much information at our fingertips, we all know that just because it is on the world wide web doesn’t make it true.
But when I have a question about a medical issue, I talk to an expert- my doctor. When I have a question about the funny sound my car is making, I take it to an expert- my mechanic. And if I have a legal question, I take it to an expert- a lawyer. Yet so many people turn to Google to answer their questions about diet and nutrition.
While there are many reputable sites that do provide quality advice, the rise of social media has meant that many people now have a voice in the nutrition space- unfortunately many of these voices are not based on evidence or science. At best, these voices are speaking from their own personal experience, and at worst, just looking to make a quick buck. People speaking from their own experience are often coming from a good place of wanting to help others- but what may have worked for them may not work for others, or even be dangerous to those with certain medical conditions. And even the sites that are reputable are only able to provide advice that is very general in nature, not tailored to specific individual needs.
Accredited Practising Dietitians, on the other hand, are the experts in the field of nutrition, particularly the nutritional management of medical conditions. Completing dietetic studies in Australia involves years of university study in areas such as chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, statistics, nutritional science, counselling and communication, followed by an intense period of practical workplace placement in areas including hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes and community-based organisations involved in health promotion. To become an Accredited Practising Dietitian in Australia, dietitians must commit to a program of continuing professional development, ensuring that they are up-to-date on the emerging evidence and science in the nutrition and dietetic sphere. They also agree to uphold professional standards in their dealings with clients and patients, and have a professional association to answer too if they fail in this duty.
Accredited Practising Dietitans can be relied upon to provide evidence-based, individualised advice specific to you and your own personal circumstance. With close consideration of the nutritional needs of any medical conditions you may have, we will work with you to create a tailored plan designed to help you achieve your own health goals. You certainly won’t get any ‘quick-fix diets’ or ‘four weeks to a buff bod’ programs at STC just sensible, sustainable advice that is tailored to your specific lifestyle. We work with you to make a series of small and sustainable steps that together make up the desired long-term changes that you seek. This individualised approach of a dietitian is something that Google cannot provide.