Infuse Issue 13 May 2021 - Page 8

the science into practical terms because the benefit to the athlete was the food they put into their mouth had a major impact on performance … and that was the missing link .”
Sports dietitians of today have a lot to be thankful to Karen Inge for . When she began as a sports dietitian , there were no full memberships for dietitians for the Australian Sports Medicine Federation . “ What I had to do was lobby and write position letters … try and build a case for why a dietitian needs to get full membership .” And she knew she wasn ’ t only doing it for herself . “ I had to do it for the rest of the dietitians that came after me .” And that she did – often without payment . “ A lot of my work in the early days was in an honorary capacity to try and show the value of a dietitian .”
Soon after this not-so-small feat , Karen played an integral role in setting up Sports Dietitians Australia . “ It really was born out of necessity … We had to form our own association for our survival within the sports medicine world . We had no choice .” Again , however , Karen knew it was for the greater good of the dietetic profession . “ We knew that we were laying the foundations for something that was going to be bigger than us .”
These opportunities within the field of sports nutrition opened up doors for Karen within the food industry . “ I was very , very particular about the food companies I worked with … I knew that my credibility had to be preserved … I worked with many primary industries … it was very satisfying for me .” As a controversial topic in the field of dietetics , Karen ’ s stance on working with the food industry is loud and clear : “ When people say , ‘ Should dietitians be working with food industry ?’ my answer is ‘ Yes , absolutely !’ because it doesn ' t mean endorsing junk food or ultra-processed foods . It means working within the food industry to ensure the best nutrition outcomes for consumers .”
One unexpected phone call led to Karen ’ s 23-year stint with Jenny Craig . Initially , she wasn ’ t particularly interested in the position , but the encouraging words of a mentor helped Karen shift her perspective . After a year or so , Karen ’ s position changed to an advisory capacity – she was appointed to the JC International Medical Advisory Board and that was something she was very grateful for . “ I sat on that board for over 20 years and that was quite incredible … I was sitting alongside highly esteemed obesity researchers and
© Dietitian Connection 8 Infuse | May 2021