“My dietitian saved my life” – Dietitian’s Week 2021

7th June 2021

Each year, the British Dietetic Association build the general public’s knowledge and awareness surrounding ‘What Dietitians Do’ and how they can help you. We want to help spread the word!

For those with digestive conditions, it can be hard to know where to look for diet advice. Different websites tell you different things. People online may tell you what worked for them, but it doesn’t work for you. Social media only worsens the confusion!

Diet advice for those with digestive diseases is often specific to each individual. Dietitians are experts in nutrition. They use science, evidence and your personal circumstances to help you. They’ll consider a range of factors and will work with you, explaining along the way, to make the best food choices for you.

In the UK, we can request a referral to a dietitian from our GP or gastroenterologist, particularly those with a digestive disease, although not everyone is aware of this.

“I spent months in ICU with pancreatitis. Before my attack, I didn’t have a clue what dietitians did. I’d never thought they could help people with digestive diseases.

After my attack, I had lost a lot of weight and was malnourished. At one point, my dietitian even put me on a feeding tube. I didn’t want to do this, but it was absolutely the best decision that was made. In short, my dietitian essentially saved my life” – Rebecca.

Read Rebecca’s full story below.

 

Rebecca's Story - Pancreatitis & my dietitian

“My name is Rebecca and I spent months in ICU and in hospital with severe acute pancreatitis. Before my attack, I didn’t have a clue what dietitians did. I assumed they might help people get healthier or lose weight. I’d never have thought they might help people with digestive diseases.

I am now back home and on the road to recovery, but not too long ago, I didn’t know what my pancreatitis diagnosis meant short and long term. I didn’t know what I could and couldn’t eat. After my attack, I had lost a lot of weight and was malnourished. I was also diagnosed with Type 3c diabetes (a type of diabetes associated with pancreatic disease). There was so much conflicting information. I felt really overwhelmed.

I first saw a dietitian as part of the NHS team looking after me in hospital. My dietitian spoke to me about the importance of increasing certain food groups temporarily to return to better health. My dietitian explained that they needed to move me from being malnourished to healthy again. I was given great advice on what I should eat short-term to do just that, including which meals were best to order off the hospital menu. They discussed so many food options, so I didn’t feel like I was eating foods I didn’t enjoy. We also tried a variety of shakes, to work out which I enjoyed.

I was extremely malnourished and struggling to eat. My dietitian explained the need to put me on a feeding tube at one point. I really didn’t want to do this, but looking back – it was the best decision that was made. In short, my dietitian essentially saved my life.

I finally had someone I could ask questions, whenever I felt confused. I explained that I was confused between managing the diabetes/sugar intake, versus consuming enough calories and protein after losing so much weight during my hospital stay. My dietitian explained that the priority is getting me back to better health, and then we can discuss the diabetes. This was such a relief. I had answers, a support system.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a digestive disease and you’re confused by the conflicting (and often dangerous) information online, I’d encourage you to see a registered dietitian. They can really help and personalise what you need.”

This is Rebecca’s experience with a dietitian. You can read Rebecca’s full story about her experience with pancreatitis here.

Nutritionists & dietitians. What is the difference?

Dietitians:

Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be regulated by law. This is very important, as they are governed by an ethical code to ensure that they always work to the highest standard.

Nutritionists:

Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. This can unfortunately lead to patients being taken advantage of. However only registrants with the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) can call themselves a Registered Nutritionist (RNutrs).

For further detail, see the British Dietetic Association’s information here.

DISCOVER MORE:

  • twitter
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • youtube
  • tiktok
  • instagram

Read more posts...

Shape the future of pancreatitis research!

Guts UK are incredibly excited to be taking our first steps towards getting the Pancreatitis Priority Setting Partnership up and going. We are now recruiting for 6 members with experience of pancreatitis to join the...

2nd July 2021

How our gut army is celebrating our 50th year!

We are halfway through 2021 already! A lot has happened during these 6 months here at Guts UK, but as always, our incredible fundraisers have continued getting to grips with guts. We are so grateful...

2nd July 2021

#GUTSelfie Campaign

On 27th June 2021, Guts UK launched our unique awareness campaign, The #GUTSelfie Campaign. We reached out to people on Instagram who are affected by a range of digestive diseases. We gave our ‘gut army’...

26th June 2021

World Microbiome Day 2021

On June 27th Guts UK celebrates World Microbiome Day each year. Today we’re answering all your questions about the microbiome! What is the gut microbiota? This refers to all the microorganisms that live inside your...

24th June 2021

It’s Guts UK’s 50th birthday!

It’s our 50th birthday! Fifty years ago, on the 14th June 1971, our founders came together and decided they wanted to end the pain and suffering that you and I recognise all too well. A...

13th June 2021

How we use YOUR donations to change & save lives

Guts UK has three charitable objectives: Provide expert information to patients Raise awareness of digestive health Fund research into the digestive system from top to tail; the gut, liver and pancreas At Guts UK, we...

28th October 2020