A Dietitian versus a Nutritionist. What is the difference? Who should you trust? A Registered Dietitian (RD) is a nutritionist that has been accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In order for someone to become an RD they must have a four year degree in nutrition, complete a dietetic internship, and pass a national registration exam. Many RDs have also earned their Master’s Degree or PHD in a related field.
A nutritionist, on the other hand, can be anyone. A nutritionist might have a four year degree, they may have taken some online classes, or they may have no training at all. I would be very weary of “nutritionists” especially if they are trying to sell you some type or miracle weight loss product.
Today we have yet a third player in the game, RDN. RDN stands for Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Have you seen these credentials anywhere? As of last year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics officially started recognizing RDN in addition to RD as credentials for a dietitian. The Academy decided to add nutritionist to our title because that is what we are and that is the term the public identifies with. Until recently dietitians have shied away from calling themselves “nutritionists” as you are constantly taught in school that you are NOT a nutritionist, you are a dietitian. In the end, I don’t really care about my exact title, I just want you to know that I am a credible source of information and someone you can trust to steer you in the right direction.
P.S. We like our name spelled with two t’s. No C! (I know, I know, it’s even spelled in the dictionary with a C…)
The Nutty Nutritionist
Heather Mason, MS, RDN