What is the Difference Between a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist


It seems like everyone these days is a nutrition expert and with information just a click away, we can easily gain access (both good and bad) to all of our healthcare questions Whether it's searching the web, or scheduling an appointment, it is important to use a critical lens when determining the validity of someones services or article. I often get asked the difference between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist. A simple response would be that anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.......literally anyone, regardless of background, education or experience. To use the credentials, RD or Registered Dietitian one must:

  • Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  • Completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to 12 months in length. This is a minimum of 1200 supervised hours!

  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at www.cdrnet.org.

  • Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. To keep our skills nice and fresh and stay up to date on all of the current research and interventions!

Registered Dietitians are the leading experts in the field of food and nutrition. Training goes beyond medical nutrition therapy and often includes advanced counseling techniques and various approaches to nutrition which may include mindfulness and intuitive eating. Most Registered Dietitians have a passion for the science of food and nutrient and helping people. If you are looking for professional, realistic, ethical and evidenced based nutritional counseling, a Registered Dietitian is the best place to start (and finish)!

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