The role of Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) has been found to be crucial in preventing diabetes, managing existing diabetes and preventing, or at least, slowing the progressive rate of diabetes complications. So as can be seen, MNT is vital at all levels of diabetes prevention and forms a cornerstone to diabetes self- management.
Why is nutrition counselling so important? As seen, the nutrition aspect can be handled solely by a nutritionist. Why is the counselling angle required? Diabetes as a condition affects all body systems and thus it is imperative to counsel the patient on the importance to managing nutrition; making healthy dietary choices and making positive lifestyle changes.
The nutrition counsellor helps make diabetics aware of beneficial nutrition interventions, in order to avoid obesity- which is one of the major causes of type 2 diabetes and to maintain optimum glycemic control. The counsellor educates the patient on the goal to be achieved and the strategies to attain the goal, keeping in mind the view that each individual is unique and has to be handled differently.
For new diabetics, the diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming and scary. Adopting a healthier diet and lifestyle is central to managing the disease and the counsellor can help the patient come to terms with this. For existing diabetic patients, the nutrition counsellor assists the patients by helping them adhere to the nutrition regimen and unconditionally support them when they see no light at the end of the tunnel. Diabetics need constant encouragement and support to stick with their nutrition plan. This is where the counsellor also helps.
Diabetes is a chronic condition, requiring a holistic approach. Nutritional management and nutritional counselling are the foundation of an effective and efficient diabetes management plan. Nutrition counseling should be sensitive to the personal needs of the patient and how much effort the patient is willing to put in to making the change to eating appropriately.
E178 – Nutrition Counselling for Diabetics – diabetic.today