The aim of nutritional counselling is to educate people on adopting a healthier lifestyle by changing nutritional habits and making physical activity part of daily life. In Germany, the term ‘nutritional adviser’ or ‘nutritional consultant’ is not officially recognised. A reputable nutritional counsellor should not sell or promote products in any way.
Nutritional counselling isn’t really about offering advice on diets per se, but more about helping the client to make long term nutritional changes. Most diets target short term weight loss, where the body is often starved of important nutrients, resulting in deficiencies.
When embarking on nutritional counselling, a food plan is compiled based on individual needs like health, food habits, how the body processes nutrients, social environment and exercise. In order for the therapy to be successful, it is important to encourage the patient to be self-motivated and to create a nutritional concept that is easy to adapt to in daily life. Many conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus or gout often occur through poor diet, so a nutritional change can significantly help. It can also help when taking strong medication, during recovery after a major operation or in pregnancy.
At the start of a counselling session, an adviser analyses the patient’s needs and then advises the best way in which to make the necessary changes. This is followed by a written account of the patient’s specific targets. It is advisable to change nutritional and exercise habits slowly to be sure of success. By making a conscious decision to make nutritional changes, it can give long term improvement to physical and mental health.
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