Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) is a therapeutic approach to treating medical conditions and associated symptoms, by using a specifically tailored diets and nutrition therapy. It is an evidence-based medical approach to treating certain illness, inflammation or disease, through the use of an individually-tailored nutrition plans. It can play a life-changing role in reducing complications associated with an illness, injury or certain chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, and digestive issues. It plays an important role at all levels of prevention. This kind of diet therapy is often ordered and approved by a primary care physician, then formulated and implemented by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is a qualified professional who is an expert in Nutrition Sciences. They would have undergone rigorous academic and professional preparation with a license to practice and are specialised in nutrition for different categories of people, especially clinical patients. An RDN primarily works in hospitals or health care centers to guide patients in the right kinds of nutritional intake. They are also qualified to give Enteral (tube feeds) and Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). It is always advisable to consult a Registered Dietitian in Medical Nutrition Therapy cases, as it involves a thorough medical evaluation, physical examination and an evaluation of the client's medical, dietary, and other history.
During MNT interventions, dietitians counsel patients on behavioral and lifestyle changes required to positively affect recovery, long-term eating habits and health. It occurs in a hospital or outpatient setting and involves a comprehensive assessment, nutritional diagnosis, and treatment plan. In an outpatient setting, an RDN may be consulted if a doctor suspects a nutrition-related concern. MNT can be used to treat numerous medical conditions
The dietitian assesses the overall nutritional needs of the client. This helps the dietitian provide patient-centered goals and individualized nutrition recommendations. Together with the patient, dietitians plan and implement nutrition interventions that meet patient needs and establish a plan for positive change. Repeated follow-up visits are provided by the dietitian to support the person’s behavioral and lifestyle changes. This involves monitoring and evaluating progress, as well as any health or medication changes.
Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) cannot replace the treatment of disease. It is used to complement the normal use of drug therapies prescribed by physicians and other licensed healthcare providers. Registered dietitians started using MNT as a dietary intervention for preventing or treating other health conditions that are caused by or made worse by unhealthy eating habits. A patient may need to follow a strict diet to see benefits while using a medical nutrition plan.
Benefits of Medical Nutrition Therapy intervention:
It is useful in treating disease
It can promote greater resistance to specific conditions
It can prevent or supplement treatment
It can help one to live better at any age
It may help patients recover faster than medical treatment alone.
It can reduce risk of complications in pre existing conditions like Type2 Diabetes and high cholesterol
It can slow or reverse chronic disease symptoms
Can improve energy and activity levels
Help to reduce health care costs
A therapeutic diet can help treat a disease, prevent a disease, delay complications and in some cases even delay death in case of some long standing chronic complications. Although diet is not medicine, it is however, used to help correct nutritional deficiencies that involve modification of a normal diet. MNT is thus a well-established nutritional approach that can help alleviate, manage, and treat certain medical conditions.