• 13 – 16 April 2023
  • Exhibition Centre Cologne

15. November 2022, by Niklas Schwarz

Weight reduction counselling with individual diets

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To reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease, diets are often recommended that are easy for everyone to follow in everyday life. But does a change in diet help, and does it make sense for everyone?

Individual forms of nutrition

Due to the different prerequisites and demands of various target groups, the advantages and disadvantages of each individual dietary form must be weighed up individually. A basic initial discussion should be held with the person concerned before a decisive change in diet is made. Here, personal wishes, existing medical symptoms and experiences with previous forms of nutrition can be considered a decisive measure. For example, if clients have had positive experiences with a low-carb diet, nutritionists can build on these. If there are already negative findings about a form of nutrition, these should also be taken into account, as should personal lifestyles, allergies and intolerances. A ketogenic diet, for example, is more difficult to implement for vegetarians and especially vegans and is not generally applicable. The same applies to diets with a high proportion of dairy products: These are rather unsuitable for people with lactose intolerance.

Requirements for the dietary forms

The large number of different dietary forms increases the demands on a dietary change to be able to classify it qualitatively. The basic requirement for weight reduction is a negative energy balance: the person concerned therefore consumes less energy than he or she burns. However, a minimum energy intake of 1,200 kcal is essential. Below this energy level, it is no longer possible to ensure that the most important nutrients, such as proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, are sufficiently supplied to the body (Groeneveld & Rösch, 2010). As an example, a deficit of 500 kcal is considered adequate when the daily calorie intake is below 3,000 kcal per day. If calorie intake is higher or lower, the daily deficit can be adjusted accordingly. In order to counteract the reduction of muscle mass, the permanent preservation of fat-free mass must be ensured during use. In addition, a satisfactory feeling of satiety, which contributes significantly to the success of the dietary change, must not be disregarded. But counselors also have to consider other requirements in order to meet the needs of their clients: Psychological and social factors play just as significant a role as a long-term application period, financial adjustment and the avoidance of the potential yo-yo effect. The harmony of these aspects is essential for the quality of the diet. This is the only way to ensure that the person concerned has the opportunity to integrate a new, beneficial dietary behavior into their everyday life.

Once a suitable diet has been found, it is nevertheless essential to adapt it individually. For example, protein intake should be increased for those who are active in sports. Athletes need a protein intake of 1.2 to 2.0 g/kg body weight (König et al., 2020), whereas inactive people can already achieve significant success in weight reduction with a lower protein intake. Nevertheless, the amount of protein intake can also be increased in these groups of people. The result is usually a rapid onset of satiety, lowering of blood pressure, improved blood lipid values or also a reduction in the loss of muscle mass in old age (Stulnig, 2011). If an increase in protein intake is being considered, important medical conditions must be clarified in this case. People with kidney disease should refrain from a high protein intake, as this may even be hazardous to their health.

In contrast, competitive athletes without health restrictions require a diet that consider an increase in carbohydrates. Since they have to cover a significantly higher energy requirement, a carbohydrate intake of 6 to 10 g/kg body weight makes sense. If the person concerned is of average athletic ability or even inactive in sports, such a high amount of carbohydrates will counteract weight reduction and is therefore not advisable. In some cases, it is sufficient for these people to reduce their carbohydrate intake before making further changes to their diet.

In addition to the diets mentioned above, there are various used diets. These include a vegan or vegetarian diet, the Paleo diet, interval fasting or a “low-carb, low-fat” diet. For these diets, individual adaptation possibilities and suitability for the respective patient must be defined beforehand.

Importance of nutrition advisors

Due to the large number of aspects of dietary changes that need to be taken into account in connection with weight reduction, it is worth consulting a nutrition advisor. They can optimally accompany changes, individually adapt them at any time, and refer to current trends. In addition, these advisors should make scientifically sound judgements and consult their professional expertise when implementing innovative, but also existing forms of nutrition. Thus, the constant updating of one's own professional knowledge also gains relevant importance. Continuous counselling by a qualified nutritionist, such as dieticians or ecotrophologists, is important to ensure counselling at a high professional level and thus to create sustainable customer loyalty. The use of nutrition counselling can also be recommended in companies. Here, too, it is essential to consider different forms of nutrition in order to be able to respond individually to each employee and their personal requirements. At the same time, it is a good idea to hire a specialist who can contribute to the well-being of employees in other areas within the company. This can include the areas of exercise and behaviour modification, which at the same time can increase the range of services available to employees. Individual counselling, in various specialist areas, can therefore only be offered in this case if qualified nutrition experts are involved and thus employees achieve satisfactory results in the long term. Because only satisfied customers lead to close customer loyalty, an increase in turnover and an expanded customer base.

In summary, it can be said that those affected should be supported sustainably and effectively in weight reduction. For this purpose, it is indispensable to choose a form of nutrition that fits the personal needs of the client. In order to keep track of all the different diets, diets and trends, it is essential to work with a qualified nutritionist. This ensures high-quality nutritional counselling, which leads to satisfied customers and a sustainable increase in sales.

Niklas Schwarz
Niklas Schwarz, B. A. Nutrition Counselling, works as a lecturer, author and tutor at the German University of Prevention and Health Management (DHfPG) and as a speaker at the BSA Academy in the field of nutrition. He gained practical experience for several years as a fitness trainer and nutrition coach in the care of athletes as well as overweight people.

This article first appeared in fitness Management