What is functional nutrition?
You might have heard the term “functional medicine” or “functional nutrition” floating around in the news. Maybe you even dismissed it as just another buzzword. After all, when it comes to health buzzwords are everywhere. The term “functional” can tell you a lot about the approach your health practitioner takes with your care, so I implore you to read on and learn what this term really means.
Functional nutrition operates under the tenets of functional medicine. While a licensed nutritionist cannot diagnose disease, s/he is trained to assess clients by considering the unique physiology, biochemistry, and lifestyle of each client. Evidence-based recommendations, crafted to consider the patient’s lifestyle, health needs and readiness for change are then discussed. This approach is extremely personalized and will look different between two people who have the same gender, age, and medical conditions.
Consider the case of a patient with heartburn who is prescribed acid reducers. Under a functional practitioner, the treatment for this patient would look at physiological, emotional, social and psychological health, crafting an evidence-based treatment aimed at healing the cause of disease.
This study offers an excellent example of the benefits of the functional approach to health. It highlights the nutritional challenges that children with developmental disabilities (DD) face in managing their increased risk for obesity.
This population has specific nutritional needs, yet they also have unique tastes, strengths and challenges. Over-indulgence in sugary food and beverages, under-consumption of vegetables, and “picky” eating might describe the majority of this population. Through assessment, a functional nutritionist finds tastes and preferences, strengths and roadblocks, and varying health risks and imbalances that open up pathways to treatment.
The functional nutritionist looks beyond the diagnosis to treat the person within.
A functional nutritionist approaches children with DD in a way that honors them as individuals with individual needs. The same approach applies to “post-menopausal women” or “obese, middle-aged men,” as successful treatment relies on more than their specific diagnoses. The best treatment involves collaboration between the patient and a functional nutrition expert who values their strengths and limitations.
Is Functional Nutrition Right For You?
Eager to give functional nutrition a try? Contact me to schedule an appointment for a free phone consultation! We’ll talk for about 20 minutes about your goals, I’ll discuss my approach in detail and you can decide if this style of treatment fits your needs.
If you’ve tried this approach – either through functional nutrition or a functional medicine practitioner – I’d also love to hear about your experience!