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Dietitian or Nutritionist?

Next time someone gives you nutrition “advice” ask yourself, “what are the credentials of the person giving me this advice?” There is a difference when it comes to the nutrition professional with whom you choose to work. It benefits you to know as much as you can about the background, study and process undergone by your dietitian or nutritionist, as this person will provide you with important recommendations pertaining to your wellbeing.

Differences between a dietitian and a nutrtionists

The definition and requirements for the term nutritionist vary. A nutritionist may have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in nutrition. But, be aware that there are individuals who market themselves as nutritionists with very little or no training whatsoever in nutrition. Some states have licensure laws that define the range of practice for someone using the designation nutritionist, but in other states, virtually anyone can call him- or herself a nutritionist regardless of education or training.

Before you take nutrition advice be sure to check out the professional background and training of the individual giving it.
If you’re working with a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), you can be sure this person has completed a rigorous course of mandatory study and training. The “RD” credential is a legally protected title that can only be used by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Some RDNs may call themselves “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are registered dietitian nutritionists.

Individuals with the RD or RDN credential have fulfilled specific requirements, including having earned at least a bachelor’s degree (about half of RDns hold advanced degrees), completed a supervised practice program and passed a national registration examination — in addition to maintaining continuing education requirements for recertification.

Food for thought when making the decision of whom to contact. . .