Skip to main content

Spotlight: Dietitian or Nutritionist What’s the Difference?

Both terms are used interchangeably but can mean very different things. I for one do not have a preference of what I am called: nutritionist, dietitian, and food lady what have you but there is a point of differentiation that is worth discussing to help an individual decide who is best to work with.

A dietitian must have a bachelor of science in nutrition or dietetics from an accredited school and enter a post graduate internship program that usually lasts nine months to a year.  In the internship program the individual will work in a hospital, medical institution, government, or community focusing on medical nutrition therapy.  After completing the required hours in the internship, that individual is then able to sit for the national registration exam governed by the American Dietetic Association.  Once passed most states require licensure and the dietitian is required to take at least fifteen continuing education credits a year to maintain their registration and licensure.

A nutritionist is not governed or accredited.  Essentially anyone who is interested in health, fitness, or nutrition can call themselves a nutritionist.  This is not to say that the nutritionist does not have personal experience or some training and knowledge of the subject, it just means they are not governed by a national governing body and most likely did not work in an internship dealing directly with individuals and different disease states that present themselves in medical nutrition therapy. 

Most physicians will refer patients to a registered dietitian as they have specific medical nutrition therapy experience. Also registered dietitian’s can work with insurances as nutritionists can not.  To find out if you are working with a dietitian or nutritionist you can always ask for the individual’s accreditations and you can also look for the acronyms behind the name.  RD means registered dietitian and LD means licensed dietitian.  Some states have a LDN meaning licensed dietitian and nutritionist.  You can also ask the individual for their registration number and check with the American Dietetic Association. 

Your insurance company can usually guide you to a registered dietitian in your area as well as the American Dietetic Association at http://www.eatright.org/.  Good luck and be well.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Make it Happen

Parents, I see you. I see you putting everyone else's needs in front of yours. I see your dark circles under your eyes, your gray hair, that your wasting away, or that you've collectively gained weight over the years. It's time to put yourselves first because if you don't take care of yourself you won't be around to keep taking care of everyone else.

So often friends, acquaintances, or clients say to me, "I don't know how you find the time to exercise." "How can you take the time away from everything else and get away to exercise?" "I wish I could actually focus on myself and exercise."

Exercise to me is self care. It produces endorphins faster than any other activity I engage in. It  reduces my stress, keeps me healthy, increases flexibility, and gives me more energy to be on point with my busy kids and my demanding job.

My exercise isn't extravagant and it doesn't take too much time. Here's my secret. I always work e…

The Truth Behind Clean Eating

A quick trip to the grocery store or chain restaurant and you will likely be bombarded with the concept of “clean eating” foods that claim to be “organic”, “natural”, “non GMO”, and “gluten free”. There is also the laundry list of foods you should avoid such as high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and various toxins or chemicals. As a consumer it can be very overwhelming and intimidating to choose which foods are best for you.
While clean eating is not a new sensation, it has become increasingly popular in part due to misinformation on social media. Fear mongering is the latest marketing strategy in which companies are deliberately arousing fear in consumers to help sell their product. For example, products claim to be non-GMO when in fact it is not produced as a GMO food in the first place. There are only 8 genetically modified crops commercially prepared in the U.S. Products that have never contained gluten have a “Gluten free” label on them. Then there is the irrational conce…

Why this Dietitian Cares more about your PREbiotics than your PRObiotic Pill

Clients ask me all the time what I think of their brand of probiotic or which one they should start taking.  Studies have shown that probiotic supplements definitely have their place in certain circumstances (that’s a whole other blog for another time), but my bigger concern is... what are you feeding the ones you have already?
“Probiotics” is just a fancy word for helpful bacteria.  Even if you don’t take a pill, you have these little guys in your digestive track.  The problem right now is that current probiotic supplements can only include the bacteria that scientists have been able to 1) identify and 2) put in a pill without them dying right away.  
However, we (probiotic and non-probiotic users alike) have so many different strains of bacteria (somewhere in the neighborhood of billions) who do so much good for us such as make vitamins and help battle bad bacteria.  BUT - just like us - they need to eat!  A recent study showed that a diet high in protein is not in their best interest…