Sunday, November 13, 2011

Medical Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes

Medical Nutrition Therapy or MNT is a critical part of the process of controlling blood glucose (sugar) levels in people with diabetes and promoting overall health. As part of your medical nutrition therapy and diabetes self-management training, you will learn:

  • Diet basics: what foods to eat, what to avoid, and tips for planning healthy meals and snacks
  • The importance of physical activity and specific exercises in controlling your blood sugar 
  • How to use oral medications or insulin to control your blood sugar
  • What to do if your blood sugar is too low or too high
  • Potential health risks associated with uncontrolled blood glucose levels
  • What you should know about obesity and diabetes
  • How to prevent or control diabetes complications, including heart disease, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, vision problems, kidney disease
If you are among the 17 million plus Americans who have been diagnosed with diabetes, these are practical things that you need to know to control your diabetes. A registered dietitian can help. 

November is National Diabetes Month. Look for more practical information on medical nutrition therapy and how to manage your diabetes with regular updates on this blog. 

And remember, registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and qualified to provide practical guidance to help you manage your diabetes and prevent potentially serious complications. To find a registered dietitian, visit the American Dietetic Association website, and look for "Find a Dietitian."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Medical Nutrition Therapy

If you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease, your doctor will or should refer you to a registered dietitian for medical nutrition therapy or MNT.


Because registered dietitians are highly trained healthcare professionals with extensive experience in food, nutrition and dietetics. As a result of the extensive training and experience, a registered dietitian can answer your food and nutrition questions and help you understand how to use food to improve your health.

Patients are often told to talk to their doctor about diet and nutrition. But in fact, physicians have little or no training in this area. As a result, you are not likely to get much guidance.

Physicians are trained to assess your health status and to know when to make the referral to other healthcare experts. Yet, few bother to make the referral when managing chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and other diet-related problems.

In fact, an endocrinologist once told me that he does not make nutrition referrals because patients don't lose weight anyway.

And a general practitioner suggested that he does not refer patients for nutrition counseling because insurance doesn't cover the consultation. He also suggested that he does not know where or to whom he should refer them.

Clearly, there is a need for physician education on how to ensure that their patients get the medical nutrition therapy they need to better manage chronic diseases.

With this in mind, the next time your doctor says you are overweight, obese, underweight, have diabetes, heart disease, pre-dialysis kidney disease or other diet related problem, ask for a nutrition referral. Then visit the American Dietetic Association website at and click on "Find a Dietitian."
See also:


Daily Diet Guide(tm), and Nutriscope(tm) are trademarks of Dorene E. Carter, PhD, RD. Copyright (c) Dorene E. Carter, PhD, RD. All rights reserved. Inquire about syndication.