The Connection Between Nutrition and Gastroenterology Care: A Coordinated Healthcare Approach

With the surge in obesity and the escalating prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)—now affecting 24 percent of U.S. adults—nutritional counseling has become a critical component in managing gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Substantial evidence indicates that dietary intervention and weight loss can significantly alleviate various common GI diseases, including Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac Disease, and Diverticular Disease. According to a recent study by the National Library of Medicine, 61% of over 70,000 surveyed individuals reported experiencing one or more GI symptoms in the past week, encompassing heartburn/reflux, abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea, among others. The prevalence of these issues is expected to grow over time, underscoring the importance of nutritional support.

Nutrition at Allied Digestive Health

Recognizing the imperative for patients to access nutritional counseling, Allied Digestive Health (ADH), a portfolio company of Assured Healthcare Partners and a regional leader in gastrointestinal care, has developed a comprehensive wellness program that seamlessly integrates nutrition counseling. The program aims to assist patients dealing with medical conditions that benefit from dietary intervention, offering disease-specific nutrition education and support for weight loss. Currently staffed by a team of dietitians throughout New Jersey with plans for further expansion, ADH represents a coordinated approach to care, providing patients with personal support from an entire team. "The connection between gastrointestinal care and nutritional counseling is evident. Through the implementation of a robust nutrition program, our objective is to empower our patients to take an active role in their health. By supporting our patients throughout their health journey, our foundation ensures a personalized approach to patient care, focusing on the alleviation of symptoms and enhancing overall digestive well-being," said Jai Mirchandani, MD, a gastroenterologist with Gastroenterologists of Ocean County, a division of Allied Digestive Health. 

Education and Support

Participants in ADH's nutrition program are encouraged to take proactive steps toward improving their overall wellness. “As healthcare evolves, there is an increased focus on a holistic approach to care. The steps that ADH has taken towards establishing a health team comprised of gastroenterologists and dietitians foster continuous communication and coordination within an integrated network, profoundly impacting health outcomes. Beyond symptom management, nutritional counseling will bring to light the root causes of digestive issues, addressing nutritional gaps and lifestyle factors that contribute to gastrointestinal health," said Junsuke Maki, MD, a gastroenterologist with Shore Gastroenterology Associates, a division of Allied Digestive Health. Given that obesity is a major concern for many patients, contributing to increased risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, inflammatory conditions, joint pain, and digestive issues, nutritional counseling becomes a vital tool for educating patients on proper nutrition and setting realistic health goals. Robin Lynch, RDN, lead dietitian at ADH, notes, "The scale never motivates patients because weight fluctuates frequently, so the goal is to focus on other health markers, such as blood glucose levels, energy levels, stamina, sleep, and anthropometric measurements, as small weight changes are made." Nutrition education and goals are tailored to meet individual needs, considering resources, mental state, social support systems, financial circumstances, and physical abilities. Melissa Stump, MS, RDN, a dietitian at ADH, adds, "One of the most challenging aspects of counseling patients about weight loss is breaking through the decades of misinformation about dieting, weight loss, and nutrition. Our program aims to combat this by promoting lasting change for our patients."


In addition to the nutrition program, ADH now offers Fibroscan for patients. This technology assists in staging fatty liver disease, providing patients with a visual representation of their liver's condition. Given the absence of approved medications for treating NAFLD, weight loss is a critical component of improving overall patient health. ADH's treatment plan focuses on losing 5-10% of total body weight, a measure shown to improve fatty liver disease. Despite prospective weight loss medications on the horizon, establishing lasting intake and behavior changes remains crucial. Robin Lynch, RDN, emphasizes, "Our role is to educate patients on how to make lifestyle changes to promote consistent weight loss that will motivate and empower patients to continue working toward their realistic health goals, regardless of having weight loss assistance from approved medications."

Continuity of Care

Allied Digestive Health is committed to providing personalized gastroenterology care through its nutrition program and the introduction of Fibroscan technology. ADH believes in a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of GI diseases, incorporating nutrition and complementary therapies. With an ongoing focus on nutritional counseling, ADH plans to expand its wellness program to include cognitive behavioral counseling, fitness programs, support therapy, and stress management programs. Melissa Kirchner, RDN, expresses the organization's forward-looking perspective, "We are looking forward to being a resource to patients with their diagnosis through multiple approaches and approved treatments as we grow and expand our wellness program at Allied Digestive Health." 

About Allied Digestive Health

Allied Digestive Health is a leading gastroenterology and hepatology practice with 60+ locations throughout New Jersey and New York, specializing in colon cancer screening, and the treatment of Celiac Disease, GERD, and IBD. Allied Digestive Health is committed to empowering gastroenterologists to deliver compassionate, high-quality, and comprehensive care through an unparalleled patient experience. Their team, comprised of gastroenterologists, pathologists, anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, work together to uphold the highest standards of care. Learn more at:

About Assured Healthcare Partners®

Assured Healthcare Partners® (AHP®) provides capital solutions supporting growth, consolidation, and repositioning opportunities in the healthcare services industry. Combining flexible capital with specialized research and an extensive industry network, AHP unlocks value for portfolio companies and investors. For more information about AHP, please visit

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