What is Diet Therapy?
Diet Therapy is known as a Traditional Chinese medicine by using diet and nutrition as a method to prevent and heal illness. It uses foods to affect various functions of the body thus improving health. In plain words, you know what to eat, so eat for your health. In his manuscript prescriptions worth a thousand ounces of gold of the Tang dynasty 1500 years ago, Dr. Sun Simiao pointed out. Treatment of illness should first start with diet. Only if diets alone could not fully restore health should medicine then be used.
Food as Medicine
An example of the most loyal fan of diet therapy is the emperor of China. No one took this more seriously than the Emperor. The Emperor has a whole hospital full of the finest doctors to himself. Diet therapy has been passed down over the millennia for a very simple reason. Most of the important foods that are used are seen commonly in everyday lives.
Chinese Yam is the number one food in important diet therapy. Sanya, a type of Chinese Yam, is inexpensive but is packed full of nutrients that can nourish the whole body. It relieves coughs, diarrhea, back pain, and reduces inflammation and infection and It nourishes the lungs, stomach and liver. It helps to make hair glossy and strong and improve memory. No wonder its name in Chinese means ‘Mountain Medicine’.
Photo: Chinese Yam
Diet therapy has duck meat in number two on its important list. The last Chinese emperor Pu Yi, truly recorded in his autobiography, “The first half of my life that breakfast used to include dishes such as duck with three fresh ingredients – duck strips with seafood and the list goes on. The duck meat was such a staple of the Imperial diet that the Empress Dowager went through 30 ducks a month. The imperial family had a love for duck food.
Photo: Duck Meat as Diet Therapy
According to Chinese medicine, the body is affected by agents such as heat, cold wind, dampness, dryness, or fire which can remain in the body causing illness. The most special thing about duck meat is that it is not considered warm or hot. So ingesting it can relieve excess fire in the body. Levels of cholesterol in duck meat are also comparatively not considered high. So for those conscious of their weight, appetites can be thoroughly satiated with some lean duck meat.
As the saying goes there is medicine in the food and food in the medicine. Pairing the right foods together and eating the right foods at the right time keeps us healthy from head to toe.
What is Nutritional Therapy?
Nutritional Therapy, a practice of using foods, fasting, healthy diets, functional foods, supplements, dietary counseling, assessment, and support to assist people to reach their health goals. Foods have a profound effect on the way we feel and the way the body functions. Nutritional therapy applies the science behind the food and therefore the nutrients that promote health performance and well being.
Diet therapy plays a very major role in managing and controlling various diseases, especially lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity. This therapy where diet therapy features a crucial role to play is understood as Nutritional Therapy. The main focus of Nutritional Therapy is ‘Food as Medicine’.
Photo: Nutritional Therapy
What kind of issues can Nutritional Therapy help with?
Nutritional therapy has the possibility to help with a good range of health issues and can support things like – low energy, digestive issues, skin conditions, hormone health, stress, and weight management for instance.
How Clinical Nutrition Therapy helps?
Sufficient well-balanced nutrition is important for a healthy life. Without it, we cannot get all the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements our bodies require but what about people who cannot get adequate nourishment through their diet through the illness or old age for example or after an accident.
That is when Clinical Nutrition therapy helps. It is distinguished between Enteral Nutrition and Parenteral Nutrition. Enteral means via the gastrointestinal tract. It is for patients whose digestive systems still function but who cannot eat enough or cannot chew. Enteral nutrition usually comes as a drink. The astronauts had the good fortune to drink the first drink ‘‘Enteral Nutrition’ because it was developed for them. Enteral nutrition can also be administered through a stomach tube patients whose gastrointestinal tracts do not function receive Parenteral Nutrition. The gastrointestinal tract is bypassed and a parenteral nutrition solution has to be delivered directly into the bloodstream. Parenteral nutrition comes in many different forms with the help of a special backpack people without functioning gastrointestinal tracts can receive their parenteral nutrition even when they are outside from home. This is a way to help them stay independent. Clinical Nutrition Therapy is making sure that people who cannot eat or cannot eat enough still get all the nutrients they need.
History of Nutritional Therapy
Nutritional Therapy and Medicine have opened new horizons in modern medical science. A question may have popped up in your mind: How did it originate? A small example from the Jewish tradition can help us to understand the topic. They believed that feeding chicken soup to the sick is the best way to prevent diseases, like the modern use of vitamin pills to help prevent diseases. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fashionable medical treatments often used dangerous heavy metals like mercury and arsenic to treat diseases. Nutritional therapy was born from three parents: the naturopath movement, allergy, and environmental medicine movements, and recent nutritional medicine. American Dietetic Association introduced it as MNT or Medical Nutrition Therapy to better articulate the therapy process.
Benefits of Diet Therapy and Nutritional Therapy
There are 10 important benefits we can mention in this article for you.
1. Improved Digestion
2. Better Sleep,
3. Weight Loss
4. Reduced Stress
5. Heightened Immunity
6. Balance of Hormones
7. Increase immunity and energy level
8. Ease of High Blood Pressure
9. Maintaining low / high cholesterol that helps to cut the risk of some functional diseases – Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancers, and osteoporosis.
Nutrition Therapy for Children
Good nutrition is the foundation of health. So by recognizing the malnutrition and giving children the proper nutrition that they need, that can help improve clinical outcomes. It can reduce their length of stay in the hospital and it can prevent them from being readmitted after they have been discharged.
Clinical Nutrition Therapy is an assessment and a diagnosis. It is coming up with interventions and evaluations. Clinical dietitians try to understand the medical aspect of what is going on with the patient and also have to understand what their treatment is including medications. They also have to interpret labs using all that they come up with a feeding plan. They track their growth, weight gain and try to make the patient’s diet as palatable as kin-friendly as dieticians possibly can.
Nutrition Therapy for Adults with Diabetes or Pre-diabetes
Nutrition therapy introduces some new guidelines for adults with diabetes or pre-diabetes. We know that medical nutrition therapy is effective at lowering A1C if people follow the advice. So, it can work as well as medication but the problem is getting people to change their habits and then to stick long term to a new way of eating. It probably looks like a diet but you can consider it as a lifestyle change, a form of eating is a way of existing that is healthier than prior patterns. It is known that adults living with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes have individualized diabetes. It helps to encourage them to go back to see their registered dietician as they live their life with diabetes. Now, in general, it is recommended that focused medical nutrition therapy be given by a registered dietician who has expertise in this field particularly with regards to patients with diabetes. It is also recommended that patients with pre-diabetes and who are overweight and or obese to lifestyle interventions such as the diabetes prevention program which are becoming increasingly more available to the patients.
Nutrition therapy’s primary goal is frankly to market, promote and support healthful eating patterns, emphasizing a spread of nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portion sizes. So, healthy foods eaten in the right amounts will lead to improvements in A1C blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A second and really important goal is to take care of the pleasure of eating for patients by giving people positive messages about healthy food choices and providing practical tools for day-to-day meal planning. A piece of evidence is found and it suggests that there is not an ideal percentage of calories from fat and carbohydrate-protein. But rather macronutrient distribution should be based on individualized needs using current eating patterns, preferences, and metabolic goals. A key strategy to achieve this means that patients undergo an assessment of what they are currently eating followed by individualized guidance on self-monitoring of carbohydrate intake optimizing meal timing and food choices along with medication and physical activity.
In general, there is a variety of eating patterns that are acceptable for the management of diabetes. There is not just one way but frankly, the best way is the way that the patient will adhere to. There are some important key patterns to focus on.
1. Emphasizing non-starchy vegetables but vegetables, in general, are good for you.
2. Minimize use of added sugars and refined grains.
3. Choose whole foods over highly processed foods.
So this is pretty simple. Eat healthy non-starchy vegetables, minimize sugars, less refined grains, less processed foods, and whole foods are better than others. Reducing overall carbohydrate intake has demonstrated the foremost evidence for improving glucose control. Reducing overall carbohydrate intake with low or very low carbohydrate eating plans is a viable approach for the management of patients with diabetes. The most robust research associated with eating patterns for pre-diabetes or Type-2 diabetes prevention Mediterranean style low fat or low carbohydrate eating plans.
Now there are a whole bunch of different eating plans or patterns discussed. They include the Mediterranean style eating pattern, vegetarian or vegan eating patterns, low-fat eating patterns such as Ornish or Pritikin eating patterns, low carbohydrate or very low carbohydrate eating patterns, the diet Paleo eating patterns is intermittent fasting. So really there is information here on all of these different patterns and basically, all of these are acceptable as long as the patients are getting the right distribution of macro and micronutrients to remain healthy and achieve their target goals. In individuals with Type-1 diabetes, a very low carbohydrate eating pattern may have potential benefits but it is still in processing to have clinical trials of civilians to confirm the findings from prior smaller studies.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are not a good thing. We all know these are associated with an increased risk of Type-2 diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and tooth decay. So sugar-sweetened beverages are not a good idea, we all know that. On the other hand, what nutrition therapists suggest patients do is consume water as much as they can as a replacement for these sugar-sweetened beverages. There are sugar substitutes that are less bad than sugar-sweetened beverages but are not considered good. So patients should avoid as much as they can by compensating with the sugar-sweet substitutes because they are going to potentially increase caloric intake from other food sources. Other considerations are that overall it is not recommended that patients take vitamins or minerals unless they are proven deficient. But there needs to be a consideration of patients having additional vitamin B12 supplementation if they are on Metformin. So it is recommended the vitamin B12 status be just annually in patients who take Metformin.
In terms of fat and reducing cardiovascular disease risk, it is recommended that regardless of whether It is high fat or low-fat diet that saturated fat should be kept to less than 10% of the overall diet and that is if patients are adding in more fat in terms of increasing the feed in the diet. It should be unsaturated or monounsaturated fat. In terms of sodium intake, the recommendations are the same as for the general people with diabetes. In general, they do not need sodium restriction and interestingly some nutrition therapists do not want to recommend reducing protein intake in patients with chronic kidney disease. It states that protein intake in CKD patients does not need any restriction compared to what they recommend for the general public. However, those with macroalbuminuria may benefit from switching to more soy-based protein than animal-based protein to reduce their cardiovascular disease risk. Diet Therapy and nutritional therapy are now also recommended by doctors and experts using them for COVID-19 treatment. Nutritional Therapy is also used in the treatment of mental disorders such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia.
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