Dietitians' perspectives on the role of dietetics practice in ‘gut health’

Publication Name

Nutrition and Dietetics


Aims: This study aimed to explore dietitians' perspectives on the evidence surrounding the relationship between diet and ‘gut health’ and the current and emerging role of dietetics practice in this area. Methods: A qualitative descriptive methodology was used. Online semi-structured interviews were conducted with Australian dietitians, focused on the perspectives related to gut health management in dietetics practice. Inductive thematic analysis was employed, commencing with initial coding by two researchers, and further coding leading to development of emergent themes. Divergent data were discussed and considered in analysis. Results: Fourteen interviews were conducted (2 males, 12 females). An overarching theme identified that current evidence is insufficient to direct dietetics practice change regarding gut health. Six subthemes on dietetics practice in ‘gut health’ emerged including (a) practice is multifaceted, (b) current practice aligns with dietary guidelines, (c) symptom management remains the primary concern, (d) evidence-based information is sought, (e) translational evidence is required for practice change and (f) there is a role for dietetics in gut health research and translation. Conclusions: Dietitians do not appear confident in their practice regarding gut microbiome-related management and recognise there is currently limited translatable research to inform practice. Evidence to date suggests that recommendations for positive gut health do not differ substantially from Australian Dietary Guidelines. Dietitians will need additional education if further evidence emerges, however they demonstrated a strong commitment to evidence-based practice.

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