I feel like its been so long since I talked about general nutrition information. Not going to lie, this semester has been brutal. So brutal, that I forgot to acknowledge the best month out of the year, National Nutrition Month®. During the month of March, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) created a nutrition education and information campaign called National Nutrition Month®. The goal of this campaign is to promote the Academy and its members, fellow Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), as the most credible and valuable assets for disseminating scientifically-based food and nutrition information.
While campaigns within the past have focused on a variety of topics, this year the AND focuses on increasing “the public’s awareness of the importance of good nutrition and position registered dietitian nutritionists as the authorities in nutrition”.1 As many are aware of healthy nutrition practices, I think it’s important to clarify the importance of RDNs within the community. Many people are unaware of the difference that exists between a nutritionist and a registered dietitian nutritionist. Therefore, in honor of Nation Nutrition Month®, I decided to answer that specific question: what is the difference?
Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
- Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree through a university or college, that is an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP).
- Completed 1200 hours of supervised practice through an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship or an Individual Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP).
- Passed a national examination.
- Maintain license, must complete a certain amount of continuing education hours every year.
- Can be used by anyone who has taken a course or two in nutrition
- Less protected title under the law
Licensing laws and regulations are confusing in the overall sense. The, overall, importance of this breakdown is to emphasize that not everyone who claims to be a nutritionist, is an expert in nutrition. The internet is a great tool, yet not everything you read is factual. Make sure that whatever nutrition article or advice you are following is from an RDN or professional with credentials to support their facts. If you are looking for nutrition counseling or general information on nutrition, please reach out to your local RDNs. They are the ones who can truly help you make a difference in your journey to becoming a happier and a healthier you.
For more information on RDNs and National Nutrition Month®, please visit EatRight.org.
1.Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. National Nutrition Month®. EatRightPro website. https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/national-nutrition-month. Published January 2019. Accessed March 29, 2019.
2. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Careers in Dietetics. EatRightPro website. https://www.eatrightpro.org/-/media/eatrightpro-files/career/become-an-rdn-or-dtr/becoming-a-registered-dietitian.pdf. Published 2013. Accessed March 29, 2019.
3. Distinguishing between Dietitian vs. Nutritionist. NutritionED.org website. https://www.nutritioned.org/dietitian-vs-nutritionist.html. Published 2019. Accessed March 29, 2019.