Let’s clear up the confusion…
With so many out there claiming to provide the best, quality nutrition information, whom can you trust? Is one really any better than the other, and does it matter? I’m sure you would agree that when it comes to your health, you want the best, most qualified doctor or nurse taking care of you. Why should it be any different when we are talking about the fundamentals of healthy eating for wellness or disease management?
“Keep in mind every Registered Dietitian is a Nutritionist but not every Nutritionist is an RD“ (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (United States), a Registered Dietitian is someone who has:
Some states have licensure laws that define the range of practice for someone using the designation "Nutritionist," but in other states, virtually anyone can call him- or herself a "nutritionist" regardless of education or training.
The requirements for licensure vary a bit by location. Some states only license RD’s, while others license nutritionists if they're certified by one of the certification boards.
Some healthcare providers (medical doctors, osteopaths, physician assistants, chiropractors and naturopathic clinicians may also be nutritionists if they've completed extra study in the area of nutrition.
A Health Coach is someone who works with clients on wellness goals through stress management, diet and creating balance in life, it is a more holistic approach.
The training is usually about 1 year, from an affiliating Institute. It is usually a wellness approach with a non-medical emphasis, unless there is extra course work or a degree in Nutrition or related Science field.
As you can see it is important to know a little bit more about the credentials of the professional who calls himself or herself a Nutritionist. The term is very broad but it doesn’t mean all are the same. If you are in need of nutrition or health coaching look for someone who has an undergraduate or graduate degree in that field, along with credentials from a reputable source.
Training and qualifications are very important to make sure you are receiving the best care for your health goals whether for wellness or disease management. Check out the educational background and experience level before you invest time and money. Choosing the right person is key because there is a lot of faddism and confusion regarding nutrition because of wrong advice.
Your health is important enough to get the best care!
Let me know your thoughts, I would love to hear from you?
Janet Brancato is a Registered Dietitian based out of Glen Rock, NJ. She works with clients online, over the phone, and face to face.