Registered Dietitian (RD)

maria faires, registered dietitianAre you getting your nutrition advice from the best person?  Many personal trainers, acupuncturists, chiropractors or "nutritionists" offer nutrition advice to their clients. However, they probably shouldn't.

To the surprise of many individuals, no medical doctor nor healthcare professional receives as much formal education on nutrition as do Registered Dietitians (RD). An RD is specially trained to look at a client’s medical history, current symptoms, medications, supplements, exercise routine, weight, and eating habits and give advice that is safe and effective. They provide reliable, objective nutrition information, separate facts from fads and translate the latest scientific findings into easy-to-understand nutrition information.

Dietitians & Nutritionists are Not One in the Same

People often interchange the words nutritionist and dietitian, but that’s incorrect. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. A “nutritionist” may or may not have the credentials of a registered dietitian (RD). Registered dietitians are the recognized experts in the science of food and nutrition and the the authority on nutrition.

If you are looking for someone to help you with your diet and aren't sure if the person you find is credentialed, ask them if they are an RD and ask to see their credentials.  Some nutritionists claim they have credentials, but if he or she is not an RD then their credentials are not backed by science, education, and experience like they would be if they were an RD.

What kind of training does a Registered Dietitian have?
 

  • 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 and will include classes in foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, culinary arts, sociology, communications, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, anatomy and chemistry plus a dietetic internship.
  • Passed a rigorous national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
  • Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. For more information, refer to CDR’s website at www.cdrnet.org

For more information about the process of becoming an RD, read the RD Fact Sheet from the American Dietetic Association or for more information about careers in Dietetics read the Registered Dietitian Information Sheet.

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