Learning all about the role of a dietitian, macros, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Using evidence-based approaches, dietitians work autonomously to empower or support individuals, families, groups, and populations to provide or select food, which is nutritionally adequate, safe, tasty, and sustainable.
Dietitians assess specific nutritional requirements throughout the life span and translate this into advice and/or treatment. This will maintain, reduce risk to, or restore health, as well as alleviate discomfort in palliative care. Beyond healthcare, dietitians improve the nutritional environment for all through governments, industry, academia, and research.
We caught up with Dr Mario Caruana, professional dietitian to give us more insight into what goes on in his line of work.
What are macros and how do you calculate them for an individual?
Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. There are specific equations that give an indication of the basal metabolic rate i.e., how much energy (calories) the person needs to stay alive vis-à-vis client’s age, gender, physical activity level and any disease. From this calculation, then specific percentages of carbohydrates (around 50%), proteins (around 35%) and fats (around 15%) will be translated into food intake. The amount given to a client is not standardised but depends on the thorough dietary assessment and any medical history.
How do you know how many calories to consume if you’re on a fat loss diet?
A practical deficit of around 500 calories is done to induce weight loss. This deficit can also be achieved through physical activity.
Is there a secret to a fat loss diet?
No secret at all – all fad diets try to give an impression of a ‘miracle’ or ‘mine is best’ approach but in reality, all have a deficit of calories, but most are not good for health and might actually cause disease.
On the other hand, what is the most efficient way to build muscle?
By a good balanced diet and training. What is important is for the dietitian to define and instruct on what a ‘good balanced diet’ means in practice. I think that this is where we lack professional advice; many people in the nutrition industry just give general advice that they assume fit-for-all! There is also a misconception that just by increasing your protein intake in your diet, you will build muscle.
What is the key to a healthy nutritional diet?
The key to a healthy diet is to eat the needed amount of nutrients for how active you are so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you will put on weight. If you eat and drink too little, you will lose weight and not perform well in the recommended physical activity. Also, one should eat a wide range of foods to make sure s/he is getting a balanced diet and your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
Do you have any tips for someone who is starting out on their healthy lifestyle journey?
It is important to have a dietary assessment from a registered dietitian and an individualised meal plan to set you off the journey. The aim is always long-term, and the motto is ‘not how much you lose weight, but how successful s/he is in keeping it off’. This approach has the best positive impact on our health!
For more information about our plans and meal packs, all cooked to perfection after the advice from our dietitian, contact us today.
This interview was held with Dr. Mario Caruana Grech Perry, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist