It’s no secret: what you choose to eat can have a profound effect on your body and your overall health. In recent years, many studies have linked obesity to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and cancer. And though we’ve always been told the key to weight loss is simply balancing the number of calories we consume from foods and beverages with the number of calories our body uses daily, many experts now agree it’s not always that simple. In fact, they say even the tiniest nutrition detail should be customized for each individual.
So the real problem for the average person now is knowing what foods are actually nutritious and how much you need to eat to fuel your body properly. But in a world where many self-proclaimed health experts seem to exist, it’s difficult to know who to trust on matters of nutrition.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Registered Dietitians (RD) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) are deemed the experts.
“Dietitians receive intense clinical training in food and nutrition,” said Denise Fields, a licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of DF Nutrition and Wellness, a Valdosta-based nutrition consulting practice. “Dietitians are trained in the science of nutrition and use evidence-based treatments to guide patients in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases and conditions.”
Fields, who holds bachelor’s degrees in nutrition and exercise physiology, has worked as a Registered Dietitian for the past 15 years.
“I’ve worked with thousands of patients over the years, and most of the time when they see me for nutrition counseling, it’s unfortunately after they’ve been diagnosed with a disease or a chronic condition,” Fields said.
Though it’s not always the sole factor, research shows that nutrition can help decrease the risk of certain diseases.
“I have always been an advocate for using nutrition as a prevention method for disease. I have a huge heart for my patients, and I would always find myself wishing I could’ve helped them sooner,” said Fields.
So in 2019, Denise founded DF Nutrition & Wellness, a company focused on nutrition and weight loss coaching, but with the unique oversight of an experienced and medically licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
“I’ve found that most people at risk for obesity know they need to lose weight, or most people that are pre-diabetic want to get that under control before they develop full-blown diabetes. But the problem is, they just don’t know how to do it. And that’s how I can help.” said Fields.
DF Nutrition and Wellness offers Medical Nutrition Therapy services for people with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease, and obesity. Fields offers patients convenient virtual appointments and provides customized treatment plans tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs. Medicare and many private insurances cover dietitian services with a diagnosis of a chronic disease.
Fields also offers personalized weight loss plans that are often covered by insurance.
“I truly believe there is no one-size-fits all approach to weight loss. My programs focus on learning to change your behaviors, rather than dieting. In the beginning, I meet with every patient to help them set their goals and determine which foods are best for them to eat. I also customize nutrition plans around foods you like to eat, so you don’t feel deprived or restricted. I really focus on holistic treatment for weight loss, which includes providing the essential support you need through weekly check-ins to keep you on track and to ensure long-term weight loss success.”
When looking for a weight loss program or a professional to help you achieve your nutrition goals, Fields recommends always consulting with a Registered Dietitian.
“You should always make sure the person you are paying for weight loss advice and nutrition guidance is adequately trained in nutrition,” said Fields. “Dietitians use evidence-based medicine. We are not going to recommend a quick fix like a fad diet or gimmicky supplements, especially if it is not proven to help you. But what you will get from a dietitian is the knowledge of a highly trained medical professional and the tools you need for long-term weight loss and nutrition success.”
To schedule an appointment or to learn more about DF Nutrition & Wellness, visit denisefieldsnutrition.com or call (229) 630-3833.
Written by: Megan A. Powell | Photography by: Brandon Pham