Tell us briefly about you?
I am Mehwish Idrees, Clinical Nutritionist/ Dietitian, Counselor and Educator. I have done MS in Human Nutrition and Dietetics (HND). I have Conducted different researches but mainly were on Osteoporosis and Chronic Liver Disease during my case study tenure. Currently working as Clinical Nutritionist in an aesthetic clinic, gained 3.5 years of relevant experience, during which I served as Nutritionist for many hospitals, clinical setups, pharmaceutical companies and hospitality industry. Being a member of PNDS (Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic Society), I attended different CNE (Current Nutrition Education) sessions which is add on to update members on latest scientific developments on Nutrition, Dietetic and Medical Fronts.
Who and what gives you the most inspiration?
I believe that when you change the quality of your thinking, you change the quality of your life. I always get inspired by the people with optimistic approach, who’re hardworking and look forward for positive change in their self and environment. Being a Nutritionist, I took this as my responsibility to education people about how healthy living is helpful for every individual. I love the fact that my job allows me to help communities be healthier; I’m helping to make a healthier future for the next generation.
What is the wackiest Nutrition Myth you have heard of?
Most of the patient comes with the question about skin disease named as “VITILIGO” , which is basically result of the fungal infection or destruction of pigment forming cells called melanocytes. But they think that eating Fish and Milk together or in immediate continuation has, is one of the contributing factors to vitiligo. There is no scientific evidence to prove that having milk after fish is harmful to health in any way. As per science, the combination of dairy and fish is not harmful. Curd is used to prepare a lot of fish dishes, which itself rebukes the theory of them being dangerous together. The concept that consuming milk after fish causes leukoderma is just an old wives tale.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about Nutritionists?
I think whenever the word “Nutritionist” has come, people relate it with weight loss or weight gain. Infact, I have seen this in advertisements as “if you’re invited for dinner at nutritionist home you will be offered with just fruits and boiled vegetables” and that was hilarious for me. So, people exactly have this mind set about nutritionist, which is absolutely wrong. We always work on Balanced Diet, combination of foods from all food groups. In addition to that , we do MNTs related to different diseases like Diabetes, HTN, CVD, PCOS, thyroid or other hormones related issues and much more, community and hospital based work.
What are the sections/Issues in which Nutritionist can be helpful? Or What are the domains/issues you have gripped on?
Professional guidance can be helpful, particularly in an area like nutrition that feels ever-changing for your life and well being. As a clinical Nutritionist, having great experience to the most recent and up-to-date evidence based approaches to dietary interventions. I have been fascinated by all Nutritional approaches, deep knowledge and understanding to improve the overall health status. Due to this passion, I strived to build up an extensive knowledge base in multiple areas of nutrition and is able to help clients with variety of conditions.
Here’s our top areas in which we can be helpful to our clients:
- Weight Management (Underweight, Overweight).
- Digestive Issues (Diarrhea, Constipation, IBS, Heartburn).
- Children’s Health (Assessment, Growth rate, Malnutrition)
- Food Allergies (Lactose Intolerance, Celiac Disease).
- Nutritional Deficiencies (Iron deficiency anemia, Rickets and Osteoporosis, Hypo/hyperthyroidism etc).
- Acute and chronic diseases like Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Chronic Liver Disease, Gout and arthritis.
- Pregnancy and Lactation.
- Eating Disorders and “Picky Eaters”.
- Athletic Performance Sports Nutrition
What are the impacts of lack of Nutritional awareness in future of Pakistan?
Pakistan is still in the early stages of the nutrition transition. High rates diabetes, high blood pressure, vitamin D deficiency, intra uterine growth retardation, low birth weight, obesity, stunted growth and subsequent malnutrition are seen. Most work done on children has concentrated on malnutrition, and obesity has not been studied adequately. However. The National Health Survey data set clearly shows the double burden of under nutrition and over-weight in adolescents and adults. With the high prevalence of Hypertension, Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases, Anemia in children, Stunted growth and a shift in dietary and lifestyle patterns, countries like Pakistan may experience a larger burden of stunted-obese individuals in the next few decades.
There is a great need to conduct representative surveys of the population and to create the Nutritional campaigns , consultations , seminars to create public awareness and to keep the importance of Nutrition in the ‘Limelight’ and for changing trends in the dietary and life style pattern of Pakistani families and their consequences on the health of the population.