The summer has been very busy with a flurry of visitors to the practice. I´ve realised that there is a visible increase in the interest in nutrition, wellness and Nutrigenomics. Of course with a new trend comes a wave of new job titles, website names, support groups and practitioners.
Nutrigenomics or personalised nutrition is not for everybody, and I have learnt that perception of this latest trend can sometimes be somewhat skewed.
From a clinician´s point of view, Nutrigenomics is a tool that should be used in combination with other assessment measures such as BMI, Biochemistry medical and diet history to really get a view of the client or patient health status and where the focus of counselling or therapy should be. It should not be used in isolation or should not be the sole selling technique to get feet through the door or to sell supplements. It does not diagnose nor is it that magic pill that sadly has not been found yet.
However, it is a tool. It can help to shed light on health areas that need support such as detoxification or antioxidant status. It can guide practitioners to advise the best type of diet and exercise that would be suitable for effective weight loss, and it can assist in guiding clients on making necessary dietary changes such as incorporating anti-inflammatory (functional) foods in their diet.
For the individual, the motivation for wanting a Nutrigenomics screen should be clear, otherwise it could lead to disappointment. Whether the aim is for weight loss, an improved dietary and lifestyle or to prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases becuase of a family history, being clear on your goal helps to create a stimulating and motivating discussion and goal-setting during a consultation. Your aim may be different to the practitioner´s.
In order to ensure that you get what you want from your Nutrigenomics practitioner:
1) Do your research and find out if they have completed an accredited course
2) Discuss your goals briefly beforehand and assess if you could work with them to achieve your goals.
3) Establish a communication method early, some individuals enjoy regular contact where others prefer to talk at appointments only. Make sure your clinician can accommodate your communication style, you will have questions!
4) Ask if personalised dietary and lifestyle recommendations and plans are included in the price of the consultation or if it is only a interpretive service
5) If you have any existing medical conditions, ask if they are experienced in that area and if it is still relevant to proceed with a screen
6) When looking for practitioners, also search under “functional nutrition” as this new area of Nutrigenomics falls under functional and intergrative medicine.
If you are happy with the replies and still interested, go ahead and book a consultation it could lead to healthier aging!
Places to find accredited practitioners include:
DNAlysis – www.dnadiet.co.za
American Dietetics association – www.eatright.org