Monday, March 2, 2009

Dietitian vs. Nutritionist

If you needed help with your diet would go to a dietitian or a nutritionist?
Most people just assume those are two words for the same profession, but that is definitely not the case. We could even ask if you would go to your physician, dietitian or nutritionist for help with a diet and my answer would be the same for both questions. We all know that physicians are required to go to a lot of school and know a lot in the health field. But only about 25% of medical schools in the U.S. require their medical students to take ONE nutrition course. And of those 25% only half of them even offer more than one course as an elective. These numbers are getting better though, so by the time 80% of people in America are obese the doctors will be able to help a little more. But as for right now I would not recommend going to a physician for diet help. One they aren't very educated in it and two, they would charge way too much for the consultation and advice.
Now let's compare dietitians and nutritionist. A dietitian is a person trained in nutrition, diet planning, and food science. Many times they are referred to as an RD or registered dietitian. A nutritionist is some who studys nutrition. Some nutritionists are RDs but others are self-proclaiming experts whose training is questionable and who are not qualified to give advice.
My nutrition professor in college had a dog that was a "certified nutritionist." That shows how easy it is to get a nutritionist certifications from so called accredited schools online. So always look for degrees and credentials listed after a persons name such as RD, MS, PhD, LD, or MD.

1 comment:

The Crace's said...

Hey Cade,
I appreciate that post. As a dietitian I feel it's really important that the public understand those differences. In fact, a few months ago the president of the American Dietetic Assoc. asked all RDs to refer to themselves as Registered Dietitians instead of nutritionists. That's awesome about your profs dog. Maybe he'll develop the next miracle diet :)