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Blog: Brain Food
Much of the language used in nutrition therapy may be new to patients, and can be very confusing. It is important that my patients understand their care and feel empowered to ask questions about their treatment. To help patients feel comfortable with the terminology, I have provided definitions to some key nutrition terms below.
Registered Dietitian. A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential “RD.” In addition to RD credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. State requirements frequently are met through the same education and training required to become an RD.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetics Association (ADA). The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.
Irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is not a disease, but a group of symptoms caused by changes in how the GI tract works.
Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. Celiac disease is a type of gluten intolerance; it is not a food allergy. Symptoms differ between children and adults, and may vary greatly from person to person. Most commonly, individuals experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, lactose intolerance, iron deficiency, irritability, depression, mouth sores, tingling in the legs and feet and skin rashes. Children and adolescents may experience growth issues and delayed puberty.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (or Intolerance)
This is a new term used to describe individuals with symptoms similar to those experienced by people with celiac disease, but whom do not have the autoimmune process and antibody formation found with celiac disease. Early research suggests that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is an innate immune response, as opposed to an adaptive immune response (such as autoimmune) or allergic reaction. In addition to the GI symptoms of celiac’s, those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity may also experience extra-intestinal or non-GI symptoms, such as headache, brain fog, joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. It is believed that non-celiac gluten sensativity does not cause the intestinal damage of celiac disease, but more research on the harm it may cause the body is still underway. However, some physicians do believe that non-celiac gluten sensitivity may trigger other immune conditions.
An exaggerated immune response to a food product. In a food allergy, the immune system produces antibodies and a histamine response to the specific food, similar to how the immune system normally reacts to potentially harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses and toxins. The most common food allergies in children are eggs, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. A few food allergies have a late onset, and appear in older children and adults. The most common adult allergies are to fish, peanuts, shellfish and tree nuts. Symptoms usually appear within 2 hours of eating the food and most commonly include itchy lips, tongue or throat, swollen lips, hives, wheezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing or swallowing, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.
A non-allergy hypersensitivity to specific foods, that does not produce a response by the immune system. Negative reactions are often delayed and may be dose-dependent. Symptoms of food intolerance often vary and may mimic those of a food allergy including reactions in the skin, respiratory system and GI tract.
The inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk products. Symptoms include a bloated belly, stomach pain and diarrhea.
An immune system reaction to one of the proteins in milk. The two major proteins in milk products are casein and whey, and the most common allergenic is alpha S1-casein.
“Jan Hangen was highly recommended to us by our pediatrician. She inspired our daughter with her calm, insightful, humorous and compassionate approach. She provided us with incredible insight into the nutritional benefits of various foods. She also helped us understand the true calorie requirements for maintaining a healthy weight in an active and athletic teenager. “
Jan Hangen is a Registered Dietitian with over 20 years of practice in nutrition therapy. She works to understand the unique circumstances of each patient, and develop effective and personalized improvement plans to meet their health goals. Jan treats a variety of health issues and disorders with qualified, coordinated care.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”