What is a Registered Dietitian?
A Registered Dietitian (RD) is a health professional who can provide advice on nutrition.
Food and healthy eating choices to help you look good and feel great.
Registered Dietitians take complex medical and nutrition research and make it easier for you to make daily food choices and plan healthy meals.
They can show you how healthy eating can be fun.
Enjoyable and delicious!
Registered Dietitians are your trusted experts in nutrition.
Why would I need to see a dietitian?
Whether you are trying to manage a medical condition with a special diet, control your weight, feed your family, or interpret nutrition facts on food labels, a Registered Dietitian can help.
Contact a dietitian if you need help with:
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Prevention or management of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, osteoporosis and kidney disease.
- Menu planning for busy families, physically active lifestyles, vegetarian diets and budget conscious individuals.
- Feeding your baby or toddler
- Sports nutrition
- Digestive problems
- Food allergies
- Making the right food choices to get enough calcium, iron, folate and other vitamins and minerals
Hiring a Registered Dietitian ensures that you get accurate and appropriate information from a professional who is accountable for his or her knowledge and expertise.
By hiring a dietitian, you are protected against unethical or false advice and can trust that you’ll receive a high quality service.
What is the Difference Between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently announced that registered dietitians (R.D.), now have the option to use “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist”, or R.D.N., as their credential.
If you’ve ever sought out the help of a nutritionist, you may also have seen the credentials of C.D.N. or L.D.N. used for nutrition practitioners.
So what is the difference between all these credentials and how is an RD or RDN different from a nutritionist?
The use of the credential R.D. (and now R.D.N.) is authorized only by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. R.D./R.D.N.s have at least a bachelor’s degree and have completed a comprehensive program of nutrition-related coursework.
In addition, R.D./R.D.N.s must complete an internship of supervised practice in various areas of nutrition as well as pass a registration examination.
Lastly, to maintain certification, R.D./R.D.N.s are required to meet continuing education requirements as well.
Some states have licensure laws for nutritionists.
Such as C.D.N. (Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist) or L.D.N. (Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist).
These credentials indicate that a person has met the state’s particular education or experience requirements for licensure.
Generally, someone with an R.D. or R.D.N. would also meet the state’s criteria, so you could see the state’s credential used in conjunction with R.D. or R.D.N.
However, in states with no licensure, there is little regulation over the use of the term “nutritionist” and the third-party verification of qualifications, education and experience that is part of the licensure process was never conducted.
How can a dietitian help me lose weight?
Planning to kick start your weight loss efforts?
Striving to boost your sports performance?
Needing to change your diet for health reasons?
Or, just looking for an individualized eating plan to help optimize health?
Whatever your unique situation, a registered dietitian (RD) may help you increase the enjoyment and success of a dietary overhaul.
While many allied health professionals — including qualified personal trainers and fitness experts – can do a lot to help you increase nutrition knowledge, try healthy recipes.
And adopt federal dietary guidelines like the MyPlate eating plan. A RD can help you go several steps further.
A RD has special skills and training to help you develop a nutrition program that specifically meets your needs – whether that’s a health and fitness goal, weight loss, health optimization, or medical condition treatment.
While the various readily available tools like MyPlate.gov can offer a general idea of what to eat, a RD can help you put an ideal plan into action.
A safe approach
Fad diets can help you drop weight fast.
But the weight inevitably creeps back on while potentially causing health risks.
A RD will develop a safe nutrition plan to meet your goals while optimizing overall nutrition and health.
She or he will also keep you up to date with the latest research and recommendations of what really works versus what is risky or unproven.
This is especially important for individuals struggling with obesity, diabetes, chronic disease, or very restrictive eating practices such as eating disorders, food allergies, or serious health conditions.
Answer the tough questions
Wanting to know if a particular supplement may be worth trying?
Or perhaps you’re curious about a food-drug interaction with the new medicine your doctor just prescribed?
A RD can work closely with the other health professionals involved to help answer some of the tough questions and make sure that a nutrition plan will best meet your needs.
Given your unique circumstances.
There’s nothing like having a bona fide nutrition expert holding you accountable.
A RD can help you stay motivated, troubleshoot challenges and barriers, and help you get back on track after a relapse.
What can I expect during my initial session?
At your initial visit, the RD will strive to understand you, your past successes and challenges. And your current goals.
She or he will get some background health and medical information and will likely ask you to complete some form of a nutrition log to gain a better understanding of your current eating patterns.
Based on your height, weight, gender, and physical activity level.
She or he will plug a few numbers into a high-tech program that will give you an idea of about how many calories you need per day to maintain your current weight.
From there, the RD will put all the information together and help you come up with your own individualized nutrition plan.