But what is a Dietitian?

Everyone is a Nutritionist or "Nutrition Expert" these days.  I do want to take a quick minute to explain the difference between a Registered Dietitian & a "Nutritionist." 

A Registered Dietitian (R.D) is a food & nutrition expert that is regulated by the American Dietetic Association & the Center for Dietetic Registration.  There are strict pre-requisites, including years of biochemistry & a year long internship at a hospital.  Finally, a national exam that some study months for (me).  While practicing as a Dietitian, there are continuing education credits that must be completed in order to keep your license.

The term Nutritionist is not regulated by anyone.  Some do have years of education but others only have weekend courses in nutrition.  I like to compare it to cooking - there is a trained Chef and then someone who likes to cook.  Just because you can cook, doesn't mean you are an expert.

Below is a section taken from the American Dietetic Association on the benefits of seeing a Dietitian:

The highest level of nutrition counseling. Anyone can call themself a nutritionist, but only a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) has completed multiple layers of education and training established by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition to holding a bachelor's degree, an RD or RDN must fulfill a specially designed, accredited nutrition curriculum, pass a rigorous registration exam, and complete an extensive supervised program of practice at a health care facility, foodservice organization or community agency. What's more, roughly half of all RDs and RDNs hold graduate degrees and many have certifications in specialized fields, such as sports, pediatric, renal, oncology or gerontological nutrition.

Personally tailored advice. When you see an RD or RDN, the last thing you'll get is one-size-fits-all diet advice. "A dietitian is like an investigator seeking to learn about your current and desired state of health," says McDaniel. "At your initial visit, expect to do a lot of talking while the dietitian does a lot of listening." After learning about your health history, favorite foods, eating and exercise habits, an RD or RDN will help you set goals and prioritize. Follow-up visits will focus on maintenance and monitoring your progress.

Help managing chronic diseases. If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer it can be hard to know what to eat. "An RD [or RDN] can review your lab results with you, help you understand your condition and provide education about the nutrients that affect it," says Angela Ginn, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy. "Then, he or she will help you create an eating plan that includes all the important nutrients that can help you manage your condition."

Guidance navigating food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. When you suffer from conditions such as celiac disease, food allergies or lactose intolerance, it's easy to be overwhelmed by what you think you can't eat. That can translate into a boring diet and may even lead to nutrient deficiencies. An RD or RDN can teach you how to read food labels so you’ll know which ingredients to avoid and a help you find substitutions to keep your diet balanced and tasty, too.

A weight loss program that really works. Fad diets may sound like the quick ticket to weight loss, but they rarely work for very long. A registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist will partner with you to develop a safe, effective weight loss plan that you can stick with for the long haul. To guide and motivate you, an RD or RDN will use creative and out-of-the-box strategies to help with meal planning, grocery shopping, food journaling and mindful eating.



Anyhow, this is not knocking down anyone who drinks green juice while reading nutrition & wellness books because I think we need to raise the awareness of just how important food really is.  Food is medicine.  This is just to clear up any confusion.  

Happy eating!