Medical Nutritional Therapy – Benefits & Uses Of MNT

Medical nutritional therapy is a personalized diet and meal plan used to treat certain chronic medical conditions.

It is also called nutrition therapy because here treatment is based on nutrition. It includes checking patients’ diets and then prescribing right food or nutrition to patients according to their diseases.

Medical nutritional therapy is developed to treat certain medical conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, cancer, PCOS, and gastrointestinal disease.

This therapy recovers patients in a very short time and allows patients to spend less time in hospitals. It involves changes in patients’ diet, or tube feeding or intravenous nutrition.

Medical nutritional therapy was developed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 1994. It is the largest and most renowned organization of registered dietician nutritionists (RDNs) and other certified food experts in the United States.

Who will implement Medical nutritional therapy (MNT)?

MNT is developed and implemented by a registered dietician nutritionist RDN with the permission of a doctor. MNT varies from patient to patient.

MNT is conducted either in hospitals or in an outpatient clinics. Now it is also a part of the telehealth program.  

How does medical nutrition therapy work?

Medical nutritional therapy is based on scientific research on the relationship between nutrition, diet and health outcomes. It is completely different from other nutrition education where only basic nutrition information is taught to people.

To start medical nutrition therapy, first, you need permission from your physician. Your doctor will direct you to RDN with written all medical conditions that you have.

MNT services are usually covered by insurance such as Medicare.

Your first appointment with RDN will take 1-1:30 hours. During this time he will ask you about your current diet, lifestyle, and present and past medical history.

Then RDN will ask you what are your goals for MNT. Together you and RDN will decide the outcomes of MNT. After this RDN will create a personalized diet and meal plan for you.

To make work easy dietician will ask you to use a food journal so that you can reflect on your habits and diet. A food journal can help RDN to decide where you need to change or improve your diet plan.

During follow-up visits, RDN will monitor and evaluate your progress and provide you with tools to track your MNT. RDN will teach you how to make the best food choices and track your progress in response to MNT.

Note: only qualified RDNs will provide Medical nutritional therapy and can either be prescribed in a hospital or outpatient clinic. Usually, MNT starts in the hospital and continues into an outpatient setting, depending on a patient’s health condition.

Who can seek medical nutritional therapy?

MNT is used to manage certain kinds of chronic medical conditions through weight loss or weight gain. MNT is also called nutritional counseling.

You will need Medical nutrition therapy if you have:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Kidney disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • History of heart attack
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS

A change in diet can potentially reduce the symptoms of chronic disease. Your RDN will give you a tool to track your performance and he will collect feedback from you.

How Medical nutrition therapy can help chronic medical conditions?

The popularity of Medical nutritional therapy is increasing day by day because it is the main component of management for several medical conditions. MNT can be simple in some diseases or complex in certain conditions such as cancer.

Diabetes and nutrition

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which your blood sugar levels are high. There are two types of diabetes type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes your pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin to meet the body’s requirements. While in type 2 diabetes, your body does not respond to insulin to regulate blood sugar.

MNT is helpful for diabetic people. It complements the symptoms of diabetes. A personalized diet plan keeps blood glucose levels within the normal range. Medical nutritional therapy can dramatically reduce the symptoms of diabetes such as weight gain and frequent urination.

Modern scientific studies have shown that MNT can help control diabetes.

For instance, MNT reduces the levels of hemoglobin A1c. Hemoglobin A1c keeps blood glucose levels normal for a long time. So it means that MNT lowers certain markers of diabetes.

MNT is very effective in gestational diabetes. Diabetes that occurs in pregnancy is called gestational diabetes.

In diabetes RDN focus on carbs intake because carbs affect blood glucose level more than other nutrients.


Cancer is a pathological condition in which cells start to divide uncontrollably. Cancer can affect any part of your body such as bones, organs or blood.

MNT is very important for cancer patients because of several reasons. For instance, chemotherapy causes loss of appetite, damages the lining of the gastrointestinal tract which leads to difficulty in eating and digestion and finally patient becomes at risk of malnutrition.

In this condition, RDN recommends high-calorie nutritional shakes or other protein and fat rich foods that are easily consumed and digested. RDN in severe cases prescribes IV feeding or tube feeding.

Heart disease

Heart disease refers to several kinds of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, tachycardia, bradycardia, ischemic heart disease and atherosclerosis. All these conditions affect the function of the heart. If they are left untreated they can cause heart attack, heart failure, stroke, aneurysm and death.

RDN will prescribe you a list of food that have low or no cholesterol, saturated fat, sodium, and inflammatory foods.

Researches tell us that MNT reduces the risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol, LDL, VLDL, triglycerides, high blood pressure, obesity and irregular heart beating.

Kidney disease

Medical nutritional therapy is the best option for kidney disease because the use of medicine aggravates the symptoms of kidney disease. All medicine is filtering through the kidneys and some of them can cause kidney damage.

During kidney disease, the level of calcium and potassium rise in the blood, the level of iron goes down, and bones become weak.

So food adjustment is very crucial in kidney disease that’s why MNT is the best option for kidney diseases. 

For instance, if you have kidney disease you should limit the intake of protein, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and other liquids that are harmful to the kidneys.

Again the intake of food items depends on the disease and severity of the disease. RDN will properly guide you and will warn you to follow the diet plan strictly.

Management of high blood pressure in kidney disease is very important because it not only increases the risk of heart disease but also the risk of kidney failure.

Gastrointestinal conditions

Medical nutritional therapy is very necessary for people who have certain digestive medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome IBD, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, colitis and people who have lost part of their intestinal tract due to surgery.

These digestive diseases can cause malnutrition, poor absorption, make toxins in the colon and inflammation.

RDN will prescribe a tailored Medical nutrition therapy plan that reduces the symptoms of a specific digestive disease and improve the quality of life.

For instance, if a person has IBD, RDN will prescribe MNT plan that can reduce inflammation and be acceptable to the patient.

Weight loss

Medical nutritional therapy is a useful tool for weight loss if you are obese or overweight. In weight loss, RDN will ask about your current diet, lifestyle habit, and present and past medical history.

After collecting your history from you, then he/she will decide on a personalized diet plan that can reduce your weight as well as other medical conditions. Medical nutritional therapy for obese people is very important because it reduces other health complications such as;

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Mental health problems
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • PCOS

MNT is hand-holding support. Your dietician will teach you how to make better food choices. You will work with a dietician to achieve realistic weight loss goals. Usually, a dietician will set a goal for you to lose 1-1.5 pounds per week.

You will also learn:

  • How to read a food label
  • How many micronutrients such as calcium, potassium, vitamins, etc you need per day in your diet
  • How many calories do you eat and lose per day
  • Daily intake of protein, fat and carbs
  • What kind and how much of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are to be consumed
  • How much water should drink
  • How to avoid high calorie beverages
  • How to increase daily activities and workout
  • How to manage breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
  • What variety of foods are good for you  
  • Eat fiber and protein to feel fuller
What are the Benefits of Medical Nutritional Therapy?

There are innumerable benefits of Medical nutritional therapy. It helps in the management of chronic medical conditions and also prevents future health issues.

MNT is used to treat or reduce the symptoms of the following diseases:

  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Kidney disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weight loss
  • Prevent other diseases
  • Increase your daily activity and energy

In Medical nutritional therapy weight loss is the main goal in nearly all situations. When you are working with RDN, you will learn:

  • How to change habits
  • How to increase physical activity
  • How to read a food label
  • How to reduce fried or processed foods that you eat
  • How to avoid high calorie beverages
  • How to drink more water
  • How to lead an energetic life

During the practice of Medical Nutritional Therapy, these habits will improve your overall health both now and in the future. You will pick up those habits which you need in MNT.

Where can I find Medical Nutrition Therapy?

If you are experiencing chronic illness and want to lead active and healthy life visit your family doctor. He/She will do your check-up and if you need MNT then the doctor will suggest you. Doctors have contact with RDNs.

Just Google Medical Nutritional Therapy near me, and you will find lots of registered dietician nutritionists who are practicing MNT. When you are sure that this dietician is registered and competent visit his/her clinic and start MNT.


Medical nutritional therapy is a nutritional approach to manage, alleviate and treat certain chronic medical conditions.

Research has proved that MNT is the best option for many chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, digestive disorders, kidney disease, cancer and osteoporosis.

MNT is performed with the permission of a registered physician. Medical nutrition therapy is started after the in-depth evaluation of the patient history, lifestyle and current diet.


Spread the love

Leave a Comment