The Role of a Registered Dietitian at PLC by Melissa Darlow

A nutrient-dense diet provides your body with the nutrients it needs to not only function correctly but optimally. Proper nutrition influences many facets of health such as reducing the risk of certain diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, strengthening immunity, improving energy levels, well-being, and more. At Princeton Longevity Center, a patient’s health is examined not only with a variety of tests, scans, and biomarkers but also by their nutritional status.

As a Registered Dietitian at PLC, I meet one-on-one with patients and provide an in-depth nutritional evaluation and consultation. Before meeting, patients provide a 3-day Food Diary that includes a column to assess hunger/fullness levels as well as a vitamin and supplement log. This information is inputted into a quantitative analysis software that breaks down the various macro and micronutrients obtained from their typical diet measured against personalized recommended intakes. In addition to the food diary, by the time I sit with patients, the DEXA Scan that analyzes body composition including bone density and fat mass along with their visceral fat and laboratory markers are completed and ready to be discussed about nutrition. 

The nutritional evaluation and consultation can last up to an hour and cover a lot of ground. A typical session begins with assessing if the patient has certain goals or topics around nutrition that they wish to discuss. By doing this, the patient’s experience is fully tailored to meet their needs. Responses range from improving reflux symptoms, losing weight, building muscle, lowering hemoglobin a1c, managing menopausal symptoms, and more. These personalized objectives set the tone of the discussion. 

The session consists of reviewing results, discussing any nutrition-related concerns, providing pertinent education, setting up goals, and creating a customized plan around food, lifestyle, and supplements if warranted. After the session, a personalized nutrition report is generated that includes certain lab values, body composition analysis, and relevant nutrition and supplement information. There are also follow-up nutrition coaching programs available that focus on medication-assisted weight loss, weight management, or nutrition-forward living. These programs last up to three months with the option to renew. 

After the nutrition evaluation and consultation, patients can expect to leave with a roadmap on how to achieve their nutrition-related goals derived from the latest evidence-based nutrition information. With the plethora of conflicting nutrition news online, the nutrition evaluation at PLC is a critical piece in guiding patients on their health journeys. Not only does nutrition increase lifespan, but more importantly health span. The personalized nutrition recommendations combined with the individualized workout plan by the Exercise Physiologist and in-depth physical results from the Board-Certified physicians can take patients’ health to new heights.