Nutrition is the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth. At the very least food keeps us alive but if we want to function optimally then we need to take our nutrition seriously and consume a diet that enables our cells to function at their best. This involves eating a balanced diet that gives us all the nutrients we need to prevent illness and disease. However, the quantity of nutrients needed will vary form one individual to another, depending age, gender, activity levels and genetics.
Healthy eating is simply eating a diet that promotes optimal nutrition, thus promoting optimal health of all the bodily systems and preventing disease.
The term ‘diet’ simply refers to a pattern of eating. Which technically means that most of us are on a diet as the majority of us follow some sort of pattern of eating. However, these days the term ‘diet’ can have negative conotations as we associate it with eating less, hunger and discomfort.
A ‘balanced diet’ requires the regulation of the foods we consume from all of the different nutrient groups, including water. A balanced diet avoids the overconsumption of one nutrient group and the elimination of any others.
Professional role boundaries
As a qualified personal trainer you should give advice that is based on healthy eating. If a clients requires major change that exceeds healthy eating guidelines they should be referred to a dietitian. Dieticians are insured to prescribe personalised eating plans for clients, they are qualified to degree or masters standard and are registered with the health and care professions council. If you refer clients to a nutritionist you should first ensure they are qualified. The term ‘nutritionist’ is an unprotected term, so anyone can use this title without breaking the law. It does not guarantee to the client any specific level of qualification.