With so much information available about food and nutrition, it can be hard to know who to trust trust when looking for accurate, useful information about food and nutrition. While only a dietitian can use the title "dietitian," it's important to understand that the term "nutritionist" itself is not protected, so in some U.S. states where nutrition and dietetics are not licensed or regulated, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even if they're not qualified.
Some registered dietitians (RDs) may refer to themselves as nutritionists, usually in order to simplify things for those who may not be familiar with the term dietitian, but not all nutritionists are RDs. RDs have met specific academic and experiential requirements set forth by the Commission on Dietetic
Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The credential RD (registered dietitian) is a nationally-recognized, legally protected, professional title and it can only be used by those who are authorized by the CDR.
An RD must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in dietetics, nutrition or nutrition sciences. Approximately half of all RDs actually hold advanced degrees. The academic program for these degrees includes such coursework as food science, clinical dietetics, community nutrition, life-cycle
nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, education methodology, biochemistry, microbiology, social sciences, human anatomy and physiology, and other culinary- and nutrition-related classes.
An RD has also completed a dietetic internship or supervised practice program where hands-on, in-the-field experience is gained. RDs have also passed the registration exam and must
recurrently obtain continuing education credits in order to complete the recertification process. This process ensures that RDs are continuing to stay abreast of the latest research and practice
information to best serve the public.
Val Schonberg is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian who specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, disease