Have You Ever Wondered What the Difference Is Between A Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

6396bf52eb744bf5e52811d59e737506Registered Dietitians (RDs) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts who have met specific education, practice and exam requirements. In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree, an 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. Specific details are below:

• Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and coursework through an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP). Dietetics students study a variety of subjects, including food and nutrition sciences, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, foodservice systems, business, pharmacology, culinary arts, behavioral social sciences and communication.

• Completed 1200 hours of supervised practice

• Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

Some RDs or RDNs hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, sports dietetics, oncology, gerontological, nutrition support and diabetes education.

All states accept the RD or RDN credential for state licensure purposes, but some require additional licensure (LD).

So, what is a nutritionist?

The term nutritionist is not a regulated title. Anybody can call themselves a nutritionist, but only people who have gone through the RDN education & training and have passed the national exam can call themselves an RDN.  This is not to say that nutritionists are not full of nutrition knowledge and experience. This does mean that you need to question their skills and experience before taking advice. Some nutritionists may have completed the didactic portion of their education and just did not go on to finish their internship and exam. However, be careful of some nutritionists with no education or experience. Do your research before taking advice.

What are the benefits of seeing a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

Personally tailored advice: After learning about your health history, favorite foods, eating, and exercise habits, an 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 RDN can review your lab results with you, help you understand your condition and provide education about the nutrients that affect it. 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 like 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 RDN can teach you how to read food labels so you’ll know which ingredients to avoid, and help you find substitutions to keep your diet balanced and tasty, too.

A weight management program that really works:
A registered dietitian nutritionist will partner with you to develop a safe, effective weight management plan that you can stick with for the long haul. To guide and motivate you, an RDN will use creative strategies to help with meal planning, grocery shopping, food journaling and mindful eating.

Information obtained from Please check out their website for more information on nutrition, the benefits of hiring RDN’s and how to become an RDN.

If you are looking for a RDN, please check out to see how we can help you with your nutrition needs! Look at the Services page to see some of the services offered to you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s