A complete nutritional assessment involves examining various data. Such as anthropometry, dietetics, biochemical data (laboratory tests) and clinical examination (condition of the skin, teeth, etc.). Unless they are dietitians, personal trainers usually do not participate in full client evaluations. But it is advisable that they are familiar with each of the components of a complete dietary assessment. So that we can work as a team with the dietitian and provide our clients with the best possible service. We clarify that in this article we are referring to the term DIET not as a weight loss plan, but as a human diet plan.
Food intake data
When a client seeks advice from their personal nutrition coach, they will ask a nutritionist for an assessment so that they can prepare a personalized and appropriate diet for the client. This requires the personal trainer to collect information about the diet that his client currently supports. As if you were allergic to any food, if you are on a balanced diet, if you are a vegetarian or on a diet to lose weight, if you limit certain foods, if you have recently changed the way you eat or eat from time to time. The answers to these questions will help guide the advice that the personal trainer offers to the client.
Collecting data is often difficult as most people do not remember exactly what they ate in a day and how many, especially overweight people. There are three methods a trainer can use to collect food intake data:
Diet history, 24 hour reminder. and a diet diary.
- In your food history, answer questions about your eating habits, tastes, schedules, medical history and weight, etc.
- In a 24 hour reminder. the client will report what he has eaten in the last 24 hours.
- Diet Diary, a notebook in which the client records all of their consumption over three days (food, drinks and supplements).
Of these three methods, the diet diary is considered the most reliable for assessing a person’s diet. This valid method requires a person’s meticulousness in annotations for three days without forgetting or omitting. In this case, a 24-hour reminder data collection would be more appropriate. or a dietary history.
How is the diet evaluated?
After collecting data on a client’s diet, the personal trainer has various options to explore the information. One option is to compare it to the guidelines found in the country’s general dietary guidelines. The United States has a manual, MyPlate. There is also a computerized diet analysis.
Produced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this guide is a reminder to follow a healthy diet. Their website is a useful interactive tool for personal trainers and educating their clients. My + Plate is a combination of the person’s lifestyle (My) and the amount of food in the diet (Plate), for example:
Vegetables, fruits, proteins, cereals, dairy products, foods rich in calcium and low fat proteins.
MyPlate’s main dietary goals are three:
How to balance calories
Eat everything but smaller amounts, avoiding large meals.
Reduce these dietary foods
Choose foods that have less sodium in foods such as bread, soup, and frozen foods. It is preferable to drink water before sugary drinks.
Increase the amount of these foods in your diet
Half of the vegetables and fruits should be on the plate. At least half of the grains taken are whole. Drink skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.
Empty calories are those that come from solid fats or added sugars that are lacking in nutrients. The USDA lists some foods and drinks that are high in empty calories:
Pasta, cookies, cakes, donuts and ice cream contain added sugars and hard fats.
Energy drinks, soft drinks, fruit juice drinks and sports drinks, these drinks contain added sugar.
Hot dogs, sausages, cheese, pizza, bacon and ribs contain solid fats.
How to analyze diets using a computer
Computer analysis provides an overall picture of the client’s diet, including vitamin and mineral intake. For this, it is important that the client’s appointment is made within three days. You should write down the amount of each food and drink, explaining how you prepared it and the brand name.
One of the drawbacks is the veracity of the consumption data provided by the customer.
Another disadvantage is that these pages cannot calculate calorie needs with the same accuracy as a nutritionist.
Evaluating a client’s diet is a long, complex and detailed process that requires experience. Therefore, personal trainers should consider referring the dietary assessment to a nutritionist.