If you have diabetes (or pre-diabetes), your doctor has probably told you to make lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms and reduce your risk of further complications such as kidney disease. You probably know that you need to "eat well" and "be active."
But what does that mean? Do you have to become a vegetarian or learn to like running? For most people, it's nearly impossible to make significant lifestyle changes that contrast with their preferences and habits. Even if they can change their diet or exercise pattern for a while, they tend to burn out eventually.
If you've tried and failed to improve your nutrition to manage your diabetes, you're not alone. Many people give up after a while. But it is possible to make sustainable improvements – you simply need the right plan and a robust support system.
That's where a diabetes nutritionist can help. Every diabetes nutritionist in our network is highly trained, with top-notch credentials and thousands of hours of professional experience. When you work with a personal nutritionist, they will take the time to learn about you, your lifestyle, and your health conditions. Then, they will build a holistic plan to help you manage your condition through healthy eating, exercise, and stress reduction. A diabetes nutritionist can help you make long-lasting lifestyle changes for managing diabetes and your overall health.
The Bottom Line
What is a diabetes nutritionist? Every diabetes nutritionist in our network is a registered dietitian who specializes in helping clients with pre-diabetes, diabetes, and associated conditions such as high blood pressure and early chronic kidney disease.
What are the benefits of working with a diabetes nutritionist? A diabetes nutritionist has the expertise to help you improve your overall health and manage diabetes through healthy food choices and lifestyle changes.
How to get started with a diabetes nutritionist? You don't have to search for "nutritionist near me" and wade through pages of results. At Top Nutrition Coaching, we'll match you with a nutritionist with the right expertise and personality to help you meet your goals.
A Diabetes Nutritionist Is More Than the Calorie Police
Any medical professional or health website can tell you that avoiding weight gain and eating healthy foods can help reverse pre-diabetes or treat diabetes. So what do you gain by working with a diabetes nutritionist? Here are some of the advantages of working with a personal nutrition expert.
Some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are things you can't control, such as age and genetics. However, many other potential causes of heart disease are controllable through a healthier lifestyle. Actions that protect your cardiovascular health can also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight are all things that support good cardiovascular health. Stress and poor sleep habits can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, so addressing those areas is essential.
A diabetes nutritionist has the expertise to understand how your current lifestyle contributes to your diabetes and heart disease risk. They can help you take small, sustainable steps to improve your weight, eating habits, and exercise routine, which can improve cardiovascular health and help you manage diabetes.
Your body uses cholesterol to help build cells, but too much can lead to heart problems. When cholesterol builds up in the walls of your arteries, it affects blood flow and can increase your risk of stroke and heart attack.
It can be hard to figure out how to balance your cholesterol because there are actually two types of cholesterol. The good kind, HDL, is necessary for your body to function correctly. Too much of the bad kind, LDL, contributes to cardiovascular disease.
While high cholesterol is often associated with obesity, thin people can also have high cholesterol. Some risk factors for high cholesterol are uncontrollable, such as genetics. But the lifestyle changes of a diabetes prevention program can significantly impact your LDL cholesterol.
An experienced diabetes nutritionist can help you make sustainable steps to lower your cholesterol levels. These might include changing your diet to reduce your consumption of saturated fat and trans fats. But it might also be necessary to focus on eating more "good" fats or veggies. An expert can help you understand what to do to manage your cholesterol.
Improved Kidney Health
Untreated diabetes can damage your kidneys and lead to renal failure and death. By taking steps to manage diabetes or pre-diabetes early, you can help your kidneys stay healthy. This reduces your risk of chronic kidney disease and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
As with many other health conditions, many factors can contribute to kidney disease. While you can't change whether you're genetically predisposed to this condition, you can make lifestyle changes to keep your kidneys as healthy as possible.
Many of these steps revolve around eating habits, which your nutritionist can help you improve. Reducing sodium and sugar intake can help, as can increasing your consumption of whole grains.
You may already know these rules, but it can be hard to follow them, especially if you feel like you're spending all your time reading food labels and calculating nutrition numbers. You don't have to do all that work yourself when you have a dietitian you can trust. You have an expert on your side who can translate those vague "rules for healthy eating" into real, concrete lifestyle changes.
Better Stress Management
Often, suggestions for a healthy lifestyle revolve around eating habits. That makes sense – your diet can significantly affect your overall health. But your diet isn't the only thing that can impact your health, especially if you're living with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Stress also plays a significant role in your overall well-being. A constantly elevated stress level can affect your sleep, lower your willpower to resist unhealthy food, and even make you feel hungrier than usual. Sticking with a healthy diet can be tricky if you don't take steps to lower your stress.
Our diabetes nutritionists aren't just here to offer you a meal plan. They take a holistic approach to your health. Your nutritionist will work to understand how stress affects your health and your diabetes so they can provide suggestions for stress relief.
A Deeper Understanding of Your Body
Nutrition is a complicated subject, and it's different for everyone. Your physiology and psychology are unique, meaning that healthy eating and exercise choices that work for someone else might not suit you. When dealing with a chronic condition like diabetes or kidney disease, you must factor that in when deciding how to manage your health.
By hiring a diabetes nutritionist, you can skip the frustration of trying different meal plans and diets only to find out they don't work for you. Instead, your nutritionist will use their expertise to help you better understand your body so you know what eating well and being active look like for you.
With an expert on your side, you can learn how factors such as sleep schedule, stress level, and alcohol consumption affect your health and your condition. Extensive knowledge of your body gives you the tools to care for it better for the rest of your life.
How a Diabetes Nutritionist or Dietitian Can Help You Create Healthy Lifestyle Choices
If you're diabetic or pre-diabetic, it's essential to figure out how to build healthy habits that can mitigate the symptoms of your condition. A diabetes nutritionist can help you manage your health through a nutrition diagnosis and sustainable lifestyle choices.
Renal and Early CKD
Without treatment, chronic kidney disease (CKD) can lead to renal failure, which is fatal without a kidney transplant or dialysis. In most cases, treatment for early CKD involves slowing down the progression of kidney failure by identifying and mitigating the causes.
Common causes of CKD and renal failure are high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and certain medications. An expert diabetes nutritionist can factor in your medical history, lifestyle, and preferences to customize a dietary plan that addresses your unique health issues.
There are many links between diabetes and cardiovascular health. One of the causes of diabetes is high blood glucose, which can damage blood vessels and nerves over time. High blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol increase your diabetes and heart disease risk. When you work with a nutritionist to manage your diabetes, you can also expect improvements in your heart health.
Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes
Pre-diabetes is the precursor to type 2 diabetes, but pre-diabetes is often reversible. Making lifestyle changes can help you bring your blood glucose back to normal. A diabetes nutritionist can explain how your eating habits, exercise routine, stress, and sleep pattern contribute to high blood glucose levels and suggest realistic lifestyle changes to reverse pre-diabetes.
Diabetes isn't reversible, but you can manage many of the symptoms with help from a diabetes nutritionist. An expert can help you control your condition and overall health through physical activity, stress reduction, and a healthy diet.
If untreated, hypertension (high blood pressure) can cause severe health problems, including cardiovascular disease. Many potential causes of high blood pressure, including kidney disease, are also related to diabetes.
Other risk factors include obesity, lack of physical activity, stress, and a diet low in potassium. Consuming too much sodium can also lead to high blood pressure. A diabetes nutritionist can help you address these issues by creating a balanced meal plan and helping you find out which types of physical activity you prefer. Maintaining these good habits over time can help bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
Your body needs cholesterol to maintain cell health, but too much "bad" cholesterol makes it hard for blood to flow through your arteries. If left untreated, high cholesterol can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and high blood pressure contribute to high cholesterol. However, it's often possible to control cholesterol through exercise and diet, especially if you can reduce sodium intake and replace "bad" animal fats with "good" fats, like those found in avocados. With help from your diabetes nutritionist, you can learn which foods contribute to your cholesterol problems and find healthier alternatives.
Your weight can significantly affect your overall health and increase your risk for diabetes. There is a strong link between obesity and type 2 diabetes, although not every person with type 2 diabetes is overweight. You can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by managing your weight.
Even if you already have diabetes, weight loss can reduce the symptoms of diabetes and other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. A diabetes nutritionist can create a meal plan and offer lifestyle suggestions to help you manage your health.
What Are the Benefits of Working with an Online Diabetes Nutritionist or Dietitian vs. Going It Alone?
With all the information on the internet, you could create your own plan to manage your health. However, working with an expert offers many advantages you can't get on your own.
More Time for Your Priorities
It takes a lot of time to find trustworthy sources and read through all the information to learn how to manage diabetes through diet and lifestyle changes. And after doing that research, you need to condense it down enough to create an eating and exercise plan.
This time-consuming process can disrupt your schedule and leave less time for your responsibilities and hobbies. A diabetes nutritionist already has expert knowledge of diabetes management. With your input, they'll create a plan for you, so all you have to do is follow it.
Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are good ways to manage diabetes. Your doctor has probably given you this basic advice for managing your condition. But not all weight management and exercise techniques work for everyone.
Maybe you have food allergies or sensitivities that prevent you from eating certain vegetables or grains. Or perhaps you have physical limitations that mean you can't just start jogging. Your diabetes nutritionist will listen and take the time to understand your unique needs and preferences. Then, they'll create a personalized, sustainable health plan that fits your lifestyle.
Many online health resources can help you understand your condition and how to manage it. But there are unreliable sources, too, and it's often hard to distinguish truth from misinformation. It's easy to find influencers and diet companies who seem to offer sound advice but really just want to sell you their latest product or supplement.
Every diabetes nutritionist in our network is a registered dietitian who has met rigorous professional requirements. You can trust your nutritionist to offer trustworthy, science-based advice in your best interest.
What to Ask During Your First Free Consultation with One of Our Diabetes Nutritionists
At Top Nutrition Coaching, we match each client with a nutritionist with the right expertise and personality. Once we pair you with a diabetes nutritionist, you can schedule your first consultation, which is your opportunity to make sure our expert is a good fit. Here are some questions you may want to ask during your consultation.
How do I communicate with you? Can I text you questions outside our scheduled meetings?
Nutrition counseling sessions take place via a secure online platform. However, you might have questions that can't wait for the next session, and it's essential to know whether you can connect with your nutritionist in other ways, such as Top Nutrition Coach's unlimited 24/7 messaging service.
What is your approach to diabetes management and overall health?
There are many ways to treat and manage diabetes, and it's vital to ensure that your nutritionist's viewpoints in these areas match your own. For example, a nutritionist who focuses on strict dietary rules might not be the right fit if you struggle with disordered eating.
Have you worked with clients similar to me?
Diabetes nutritionists have met specific education and professional experience requirements, but every client is unique. Choosing a nutritionist who has worked with clients with similar health issues and lifestyle preferences is essential.
What is your success rate with clients? How do you define success?
For example, if you are pre-diabetic, you want to know that the nutritionist you're working with has helped clients reverse this condition. If you have diabetes, you should verify your nutritionist's ideas about overall health and "success" match yours.
What elements would be included in a program you build for me?
Working with a nutritionist who understands your preferences and lifestyle is vital. A nutrition plan for diabetes management must be sustainable, so you want to be sure that your nutritionist will build a program you can realistically follow long-term.
Mariel is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lends her talents to creating valuable content that enriches communities, strengthens cultures, and moves people to change. With over ten years of writing experience and as an advocate for physiological well-being, her breadth of work extends from parenting podcasts to health and wellness pieces.