Nutrition professionals are tasked with covering a wide variety of topics, from the effects of sleep deprivation on food choices to the role of exercise in creating a balanced lifestyle.
One thing that’s worth putting in the rotation of discussion topics is what’s making the news these days. Being able to put newsworthy stories into context can create deeper and more meaningful conversations between you and your clients. Here are four to consider:
1. GOLO and Ketogenic Diets
Recently, Google released a report on the most-searched terms for 2016, and there were plenty of newer diets on the list. For example, the most searched was the “GOLO diet,” which involves purchasing certain supplements and following a meal plan as a way to reverse insulin resistance.
Another top search was the ketogenic diet, which follows an ultra-low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein plan. This diet in particular seems to be gaining a great deal of traction. If you search #keto on Instagram, you’ll get nearly two million posts in return.
Take time to look at the newest diets and what they entail, because it’s likely that at least some of your clients will want to chat about them. Even if it’s not helpful for them to follow GOLO, ketogenic, or others, being able to discuss their drawbacks—and potential benefits—can be an advantage.
2. Changing FDA Guidance
Because new information and research is changing the nutrition landscape on a consistent basis, it makes sense that the Food and Drug Administration would change its guidance on topics like sugar intake, trans fats, and salt. But often, this type of directive gets lost in the news cycle, even when it may be a major shift.
For instance, last June, the FDA issued guidance for sodium intake, suggesting that people lower their amounts from 3,400 mg/day to 2,300 mg/day. Although this was targeted mainly at food manufacturers and restaurants as a way to get them to reduce sodium load, it’s also a newsworthy topic for client consultations. Similarly, the FDA is looking to eliminate trans fats in cooking oils by 2025, and is calling on manufacturers to change production processes now.
This type of guidance by the FDA can give more weight to your discussions about individual intake of salt or trans fats, and help clients see what kind of shifts are happening on a regulatory level that are likely to affect individuals.
3. Medical Studies
As a nutrition professional, you’ve become well aware that studies are useful but very rarely reliable as a one-size-fits-all nutritional game-changer. However, there are some instances where clients will have heard about studies because they’re highlighted on the news, and it’s helpful to be able to chat about them.
For example, a study about stress and prebiotics is getting attention, and clients may ask if they need to take supplements. You can determine the answer based on individual nutrition and health plans, but no matter what the situation, you may chat about how the study was done on rats and that it involved acute stress, akin to losing a loved one. Being able to dig into a study like that helps clients think more critically about what they’re reading.
4. Nutrition Labels
Part of nutrition counseling is empowering your clients to make healthier choices for themselves. The rollout of new labels is expected from the FDA in 2018, and it’s expected to list added sugars.
But why wait until then? Giving your clients the ability to identify sugar content and decipher existing facts on protein, fiber, fat, and other components can be an essential part of your discussions.
No matter what news topics you pick, it’s helpful to stay up to date on what’s trending. Part of being a nutrition professional is staying informed so that you can offer the freshest insights for all of your clients.To learn more about AFPA’s certifications—including specialty credentials—visit our programs site.