Nutrition and Dietetics - Dietetic Internship


Dietetic Internship Director:
Dawn Erickson, MPH, RD, LDN
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CTH 149C

Diet Reviews

Gluten Free

A gluten free diet was first developed for the treatment of celiac disease. This is because gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. With this diet, long-term compliance is required for symptoms to be eliminated or reduced. The key items to avoid on this diet are wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats. Oats are a subject of controversy because commercial oat products are often contaminated with wheat; however, they are fine by themselves in limited quantities. For those with celiac disease, this diet will improve villous atrophy, gastrointestinal symptoms, bone density, iron deficiency anemia, pregnancy outcomes, and quality of life. However, this diet can result in low consumption of iron, folate, niacin, B12, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. So, it is recommended to take and multivitamin and mineral supplement avoid deficiencies. Once starting a client on this diet, it is important to monitor intake through a food journal, antibody levels, cross contamination exposure, and hidden sources of gluten in foods, medications, and supplements. All of these things are necessary to evaluate dietary compliance.



 A vegetarian diet is when an individual does not eat any meat or fish. A lacto-ovo vegetarian drinks milk and eats eggs but does not consume animal meat or fish. A vegan does not consume any products that contain animal products; this includes milk, eggs, and cheese. Vegetarians have been found to weigh approximately 3-20% less than non-vegetarians. A major concern for vegetarians is protein intake. A vegetarian must adjust their diet to account for the low protein bioavailability from plant sources. A well-planned vegetarian diet can be healthy, nutritious, and prevent certain diseases. Even going vegetarian for two days a week can be beneficial to your health, the environment, and your wallet.


Paleo Diet- Healthy? 

Provided by Michele Falin

The Paleo Diet emphasizes eating fish, meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts. It does not include dairy or grain products such as milk or bread. By decreasing or eliminating our intake of refined-carbs, high sugar foods and processed foods, Paleo Diet enthusiasts believe that the human body can reduce its risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes or obesity. The Paleo Diet is a sound plan due to its emphasis on increased fruit and vegetable intake, lean meat consumption and the removal of processed foods. However, eliminating all grains from your diet may significantly decrease the amount of calories you are consuming and may eliminate necessary nutrients in your diet. If you find that you are losing too much weight after the removal of grain from your diet, you may want to consider adding back healthy whole grains. Also, it is important to make sure that you are consuming enough calcium after the removal of dairy from the diet. If you are consuming enough leafy greens then you may not need to supplement but if your calcium levels are low, then a supplement may be an adequate solution.

The Paleo Diet is a diet plan that mimics the eating habits of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gather ancestors, while still using modern foods. There are seven fundamental characteristics of the Paleo Diet. These characteristics are as follows:

  1. Higher protein intake—from fish, meats and nuts
  2. Lower carbohydrate intake and lower glycemic index—removal of grain from the diet
  3. Higher fiber intake—increased fruit and vegetable intake
  4. Moderate to higher fat intake of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats with balanced Omega-3s and Omega-6s.
  5. Higher potassium and lower sodium intake—high fruit and vegetable intake while eliminating processed foods
  6. Net dietary alkaline load that balances dietary acid
  7. Higher intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals

The Paleo Diet emphasizes the reduction of sugar intake, the reduction of refined-carbohydrate and the removal of processed foods from the diet. The Paleo Diet can be healthy when followed correctly. It is important to emphasize with patients that the removal of grain products can significantly decrease their caloric intake and may need to be modified. It is also important to remind patients that removing dairy from the diet can significantly decrease the amount of calcium they are consuming. As a Registered Dietitian, you could recommend that they can acquire their recommended calcium needs by consuming leafy, dark greens or a supplement. It is important to always suggest consuming nutrients from food sources first before recommending a supplement.

The bottom line: The Paleo Diet can be healthy as long as your nutrition needs are met. You should always consult with your Registered Dietitian (or doctor) about your nutrition needs and whether the Paleo Diet is appropriate for you!

7 Day Color Diet

Provided by Brittany Smith

The “7 Day Color Diet” is a fad diet where you eat a different color each day of the week and on the last day you get to “eat the rainbow” which is any color you want. The diet is supposed to be a way to help people eat more of their fruits and vegetables. Day one is “white” and you can only have white foods. Foods listed to eat are foods such as cauliflower, bananas, garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Day two is “red” and the foods listed are tomatoes, red peppers, cherries, strawberries, and watermelon. Day three is “green” and the foods examples that are given is broccoli, asparagus, kale, green beans, cucumbers, and peas. Day four is “orange” and the food examples given are sweet potatoes apricots, squash, carrots, oranges, mango, and grapefruit. Day five is “purple” and food examples given are eggplant, blackberries, blueberries, plums, and raisins. Day six is “yellow” and examples given are pineapple, corn, lemons, and yellow apples. Day seven is “eat the rainbow” where you can eat any colors you want.

The principle behind this diet is to help people eat more colors and increase fruit and vegetable intake. Although eating a different color each day is a good way of learning how to incorporate different colors into your diet, this could be viewed differently by the public. People may think that just because a food is a certain color that it is healthy or good for you. Just because grape soda is purple, does not make it a healthy choice on day five.

Also if people or eating only one color per day, they are not getting a variety to nutrients and antioxidants. People need a variety of colors on their plate to get the variety of nutrients they need to stay healthy.

The public could also perceive this diet as in they can only eat colorful fruits and vegetables. Although colorful fruits and vegetables are healthy foods, we also need proteins and healthy fats to be healthy, which fruits and vegetables are normally not good sources of.

Overall, I think that the concept to increase colorful fruits and vegetables is good, but I think that the chance of people misunderstanding the concept is high. Instead of trying the 7 Day Color Diet, people should just try to incorporate different color fruits and vegetables in their diet on a daily basis.


The Paleo Diet
Provided by Haley Kormos


The Paleo diet focuses on eating like our Paleolithic ancestors. There is heavy emphasis placed on saturated fats, non-starchy vegetables, seeds, meats, and some fruits, like berries. Generally, the diet is high in fat, moderate in animal protein, and low in carbohydrates. This diet typically excludes processed foods, grains (ex. wheat, oats, rice, barley, corn, rye, etc.) legumes, dairy, sugar, and most vegetable oils.


Eating Paleo is supposedly the way humans were designed to eat, in the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Advocates of the Paleo diet claim that if we ate more like our prehistoric ancestors, we would be less likely to become obese, or develop diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.


With a few changes, this diet could be very healthy. Avoiding processed foods while consuming a large amount of fruits and vegetables is a good principle to incorporate into any diet. However, eating large amounts of animal protein and saturated fats are not good for the heart. Also, any time several food groups are completely avoided, it can be cause for concern. There is a lot of evidence to support the health benefits of legumes, whole-grains, dairy, and healthy vegetable oils. By avoiding these groups, you risk missing out on key nutrients.


The bottom line: Instead of the Paleo diet, it would be best to adopt a clean eating diet that limits processed food, and is high in fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and unsaturated oils.



Juicing has become popular over the past couple of years, and for good reason. Don’t be too confident that juicing is the answer to your long-term dislike of fruit and vegetables, though. Check out this list of pros and cons:


  1. If you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables (about 5-a-day: 2 whole fruits, 3-4 vegetables), juicing is a great way to get some of the important vitamins and minerals that fruits and vegetables contain.
  2. Juicing at home allows you to control what you’re drinking; you don’t have to be concerned about added sugars and preservatives.
  3. Your digestive system gets a ‘rest’ as it takes less energy to drink your fruits and vegetables than it does to eat them.


  1. During the juicing process, fruits and vegetables are often rid of their vitamin- and mineral-rich skins as well as the pulp, which contains fiber.
    1. Note: You can add fiber-rich pulp back to juice or save and add to other recipes such as muffins, soups, or pasta dishes.
    2. Juicing machines can be very expensive. The price typically ranges from $50 - $400 and up.
      1. Note: If you buy bottled juices, watch out for added sugars or high levels of fruit concentrates. This increases the overall sugar content and can increase blood glucose levels.

Bottom Line:

Juicing is not “bad” for you by any means, especially if you struggle with incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet another way.

Set a goal to gradually aim for about 2 whole fruits and 3-4 vegetables everyday so you don’t miss out on a good source of fiber and important vitamins and minerals.

5:2 Diet
Submitted by Kelsey McGuire
The 5:2 diet limits caloric intake for two nonconsecutive days of the week, and the other five days are spent eating normally. The days of fasting require women to take in no more than 500 calories, and 600 for men. This diet is also known as intermittent fasting. The general claims are quick weight loss, and improvements in cholesterol and blood glucose levels. A long-term benefit this diet claims is promoting the IGF-1 hormone to repair, instead of grow. The potential benefits are weight loss, depending on how many calories are taken in during the other five days of the week. The deficiencies could be related to vitamin and minerals because the diet is focused on caloric intake, not quality of food items. Also, weight gain could occur if someone overate on the other five days of the diet.


Submitted by Elizabeth Prendergast

The FOD MAP diet is currently a “fad” among the nutrition world as a Medical Nutrition Therapy for patients who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS). IBS is diagnosed when a “person has had abdominal pain or discomfort at least 3 times for the last 3 months without other disease to explain the pain” according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Since IBS is not a clear cut disease where all individuals experience the same symptoms, it can be difficult to control symptoms. FOD MAP stands for Fermentable Oligo- Di- and Mono-Saccharides And Polyols. This category includes foods from lactose, fructose, fructans, polyols and gallactans, in layman terms these make up natural sugars or fibers . While the FODMAP carbohydrates come in different forms they have similarities as well. FODMAP’s can have a hard time being absorbed in the small intestine, they are often the favored foods to be consumed by bacteria- resulting in large amounts of gas and FODMAPs can absorb excess fluid in the large intestine and interfere with how fluid is handled in the intestine. This combination can lead to the bloating , diarrhea, and constipation an individual with IBS may often see.

The FODMAP diet happens in two phases the elimination phase and the challenge phase. The elimination phase starts off by cutting out the fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) that may cause an individual with IBS to present with symptoms. Some of the common foods and food add in’s that are cut out during this period includes: apples, wheat, honey, yogurt, high fructose corn syrup, garlic, onion, etc. This period lasts 1-2 months depending on the program you are participating in.   In the challenge phase the individual should slowly introduce the FODMAP foods back into the diet. The individual should continue to eat all foods allowed on the elimination diet and focus on challenging one type of FOD MAP in at a time. By focusing on one FODMAP at a time and tracking symptoms of each challenge, you will better be able to identify which carbohydrate group is creating the problem.

Limitations of the FOD MAP diet:

- The FOD MAP diet has many lists out on the web and certain lists contradict one and other, also programs vary in how long the elimination period should last.

- The research is still very new meaning that strong evidence is not yet available to provide direct results.

- The diet is very restrictive and may require a specific clientele that is more educated about different foods and the ingredients that can make up the foods . Target ingredients are some times hidden in foods, making label reading crucial for the elimination diet to be successful.

Master Cleanse
Submitted by Kaitlan Beretich

The Master Cleanse is a liquid-only diet consisting of a lemonade-like beverage, salt-water drink, and herbal laxative tea. The lemonade-like beverage consists of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. Many celebrities have been known to follow this diet including Beyoncé. The Master Cleanse claims that if you give it 10 days you will drop pounds, detox your digestive system, and feel energetic, vital, happy, and healthy in addition to curbing cravings for unhealthy food. This diet provides so few calories making weight loss likely. Most of this weight loss is due to a loss of water and lean muscle mass. However, after the 10 day diet is over, you are likely to gain the weight back because you will not be restricting your calories like the Master Cleanse does. There is no research that suggests this diet can detoxify your body. The Master Cleanse is not a balanced diet. This diet lacks adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, dairy, carbohydrates, and protein. From a nutritional standpoint, the Master Cleanse is not recommended.