Michelle Katz MS, RD, LD, CDE
MNT IN DIABETES
for something nutrishus
Michelle shows us once again the diversity in the dietetics profession. She works with groups/classes, one-on-one with individuals and takes part in clinical trials, thus requiring and possessing a variety of skills. Her optimism for the future is great and it's truly exciting to be part of a field that is changing and growing in so many different areas (yay science!). Her concern about misinformation is one I'm sure we all share as we support our patients/clients in the pursuit of health and an enjoyable life, which she reminds us takes commitment.
Why did you become a RD?
Since I was in my young teens I always had an interest in food. My mom used to cook all meals at home. We hardly ate at restaurants and I use to help her looking for healthier recipes. My dad had hyperlipidemia, hypertension and heart disease so we were always watching for his food choices. Once I graduated high school I knew I wanted to help people, I wanted to stay in the science /health/ medical area. I explored the different options that University of Costa Rica was offering at that time and Licensed in Nutrition was calling my name.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
Currently I'm working providing medical nutrition therapy (MNT), specialized in diabetes.
How would you explain what you do?
- I provide diabetes education to patients with type1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. I also help coordinating clinical trials in diabetes.
- I teach classes for diabetics once a month using the “learning maps” concept sponsored by Merck.
- I provide private nutrition consultation to families and individuals for weight loss and healthy eating in general.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
- Provide nutrition counseling to patients with diabetes.
- Counseling patients on insulin administration, monitoring blood sugars and any need for training in devices like pumps, continuous blood sugar monitoring (CGM), Vgo among others.
- Coordinate clinical trials – screening patients for studies and follow them up during the different studies we currently have.
What has been your career path?
My career path is definitely a ladder. There are so many opportunities in the world of diabetes. Always new devices, new medications, new types of insulin, artificial pancreas, etc. It is a constant change and is growing all the time.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I have a Master’s degree in Nutrition and I am a Certified Diabetes Educator.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
I think we can expect many opportunities coming up in the next 5 years in the industry, but we need to work hard and show the industry all the many areas we can help and make a change in the patient life and health as dietitians.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
People often get confused with nutritionist and RDs. It’s important to clear up that dietitians are committed to evidence-based practice. This means that when we make a recommendation it is based on the best available scientific evidence. Dietitians translate the science into practical information you can use to improve your health.
What would you like people to know about RDs?
I would like people to know that RDs are university trained, regulated health professionals who use several educational tools and research to make sure their advice is based on the best available information.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
Main challenges I encountered are all the nutrition advice we see online or in the media. Many recommendations are not based on scientific evidence.
Lots of advertising trying to sell the “quick fix” like fast weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood sugars with supplements among others. But if it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is. Making lifestyle changes is a commitment to eating well and exercising regularly.
What do people think that you do for a living?
If you ask my 12-year-old daughter she will say I teach people how to eat better.
Other people might think that we “make diets” or we help people lose weight.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
I am passionate about helping others and making a difference in people’s life, Every time patients returned to my office and their blood sugars improved, their weight is down, they feel better, their babies are born healthy - I just can’t explain the feeling of satisfaction. It’s just hard to describe the great feeling of helping others and seeing results of hard work and dedication from the patient end.
What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?
Like I mentioned above, we are university trained professionals that used scientific evidence in a very creative way to translate into practical recommendations to manage and improve your health. The title dietitian is protected by law.
What is your favourite meal?
Fresh salads, sweet potatoes, vegetables and dark chocolate :)
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
I just say to please, please don’t believe everything you read. Do your research.
One single study is not enough to make a claim. Were the studies done in humans or animals? What are the person’s qualifications? Dig a little deeper before you make a change. One study or theory is not enough to change our advice.
And last but not least: Eat a variety of foods including vegetables, fruits, dairy, legumes, nuts and fish, portion control, and the right balance of meals and exercise every day.
More about Michelle:
Facebook: Michelle Lechtman-Katz