What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Nutritionist?

Some RDs may call themselves “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The definition and requirements for the term “nutritionist” vary. Some states have licensure laws that define the scope 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. Individuals with the RD credential have fulfilled specific requirements, including having earned at least a bachelor’s degree, completed a supervised practice program and passed a registration examination—in addition to maintaining continuing education requirements for recertification. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.  Some people read a few diet books and feel that they know enough to share their knowledge and counsel other people. Others, who have lost a significant amount of weight, want to share their success and proclaim themselves weight loss experts. Take caution with people who have no credentials. Nutrition and health and weight loss is much more complex than just what you eat. The body is not just that straight-forward.  There are complicated biochemical pathways that need to be considered, lab reports to analyze, family health history to consider, as well as many other psychological and social issues. Don’t trust your health to just anyone.  Choose an RD.  

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