So, you are looking for nutrition advice and wonder who to talk to. Let me be frank and tell you it should ALWAYS be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). No, not all people who call themselves “nutritionists” are Registered Dietitians, but ALL RDN’s are nutritionists. In some states it is actually ILLEGAL for individuals to call themselves a nutritionist without having the proper education, registration, and licensure of an RDN.
Becoming an RDN takes an enormous amount of effort and commitment. The process begins with a rigorous academic program, called a Didactic Program of Dietetics (DPD). This program is a four-year Bachelor of Science degree that includes a specially designed accredited nutrition program. Once this program is completed, a candidate must complete a rigorous 1200 hour supervised program of practice in the areas of healthcare, foodservice, and community nutrition. After the successful completion of the aforementioned components, the individual must pass a comprehensive registration exam to earn the credential of Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
In addition to the stringent requirements to become an RDN, many of those practicing have advanced degrees and hold certifications in specialty areas, such as sports nutrition, pediatrics, renal nutrition, oncology, and diabetes care and management. It goes without saying that seeking the advice of an RDN is the safest, most effective way to acquire nutritional knowledge and make lasting positive health changes. Here are some of the reasons to find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist near you:
1. You need help managing a chronic disease (diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, etc.)
2. You would like to make lifestyle changes
3. Improve sports performance
4. You have digestive issues or food allergies
5. You or a loved one has been diagnosed or suspected of an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder)
6. You are pregnant or looking to become pregnant
7. Help with planning and cooking balanced meals for your family
To find a qualified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist near you, visit Find an Expert (eatright.org).