In this section

The PEN system is a global nutrition and dietetic resource that provides quick online access to the most up-to-date, critically appraised evidence on more than 190 nutrition and dieteticrelated topics all in one handy, easily searchable system.

In a nutshell, the PEN system condenses, summarises and presents the entire evidence-base on a particular nutrition or dietetic-related topic, therefore saving you time searching!

The PEN system applies the concept of ‘Knowledge Translation’ by synthesising the ever-changing and ever-expanding evidencebase using the highest quality research available and supporting you to apply that evidence-base in a practical way to nutrition and dietetic practice.

Why use the PEN system?

Dietitians and nutritionists are trusted by the public because their practice is evidence-based. However, maintaining an accurate overview of the evidence base in all general and specialised areasof dietetic practice can be a challenge. As a dietitian or nutritionist, PEN can support you by providing you with the evidencebase on a range of dietetic topics, offering answers to practice-based questions and providing access to an extensive list of practice tools and resources.

What does the PEN system do?

  • Applies the concept of ‘Knowledge Translation’.
  • Communicates dietetic and nutritional science in a transparent way.
  • Delivers critically-appraised dietetic evidence on over 190 topics.
  • Provides practice-based answers to dietetic and nutrition practice-based questions.
  • Promotes self-confidence when answering patient questions and queries by providing you with the evidence-base to help educate patients and clients.
  • Supports you to challenge misinformation, misconceptions and pseudoscience.
  • Helps to inform your clinical decision making as an evidence-based dietitian or nutritionist.
  • Is rapidly accessible online through your computer, mobile phone, home or on the road (for individual PEN subscriptions).

What information is in the PEN system?

Each ‘Knowledge Pathway’ is divided into the following sections. The table below provides you with a quick overview of what each ‘Knowledge Pathway’ contains and when you would use it. *NB: The number of sections under each ‘Knowledge Pathway’ can differ. For example, the ‘Bariatric Surgery Knowledge Pathway ‘contains a ‘Practice Guidance Toolkit’ whereas the ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome Knowledge Pathway’ does not.

Practice Questions

What does this section contain?

These are questions previously posed by dietitians that are likely to pop up in clinical practice.

When would I use this?

If you are looking for an answer to a very specific question.


What does this section contain?

Provides a general overview on a particular topic.

When would I use this?

If you need a refresher on a particular topic or if the topic is unfamiliar to you.

Practice Guidance Toolkit

What does this section contain?

Provides an overview of the ‘Knowledge Pathway’

When would I use this?

If you’re limited for time, but need lots of information about a particular topic (including key nutritional issues, goals and recommendations). The ‘Practice Guidance Toolkit’ also includes a number of selected tools and resources for use in your everyday dietetic practice.

Evidence Summary

What does this section contain?

Provides a brief overview of the ‘Knowledge Pathway’ and the recommendations for your chosen topic according to the strength of the evidence.

When would I use this?

If you’re limited for time, but need a brief overview of the evidence (and strength of the evidence) behind your chosen topic.

Related Tools and Resources

What does this section contain?

Contains the latest guidelines and recommendations, as well as information leaflets and booklets for patients and clients.

When would I use this?

For use in your everyday dietetic practice!


Why choose the PEN system?

  • The PEN database is extensive and covers a wealth of nutrition and dietetic-related topics, which is continually expanding…
  • All of the evidence in PEN is graded so you always know the quality of the evidence behind a particular nutrition or dietetic-related topic. Up until 2015, PEN used the A, B, C, D approach to grade evidence quality. In 2015, PEN adopted the GRADE approach (as used by BMJ Clinical Evidence, NICE, SIGN, WHO, and The Cochrane Library).
  • Each ‘Knowledge Pathway’ is continuously reviewed as the evidence changes, ensuring you are kept as up-todate as possible.
  • All references cited in PEN links to the abstract or full text so you can easily locate the original journal article or research paper.
  • PEN contains a number of useful features. For example, you can use the ‘Sort By – Country’ to search for ‘Related Tools and Resources’ relevant to your country. You can add PEN content to your ‘Favourites’ – this could be a particular ‘Practice Question’ or ‘Background’ section that you can save so you don’t have to re-search for the topic at a later date – saving you time!

Register for PEN today