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What is the Difference Between Dietitians and nutritionists?
A lot of time people use the word dietitian and nutritionist interchangeably and a lot of people do not even know that there is a difference but there is and it’s important for us to know the difference.
What is a Dietitian?
A dietitian has a specific level of education so dietitians first have to complete a degree in nutrition from an accredited program that has a certain mixture of course work and they have been accredited to trained dietitians and then they also have to go through a reoccurring process every few years. After completing the degree the next step is 1200 hours of supervised practice. So this is a real-world real-life work as a dietitian getting practical experience then after that, there is an exam. So just like a lot of other health professionals, dietitians have to take an exam before they can become a dietitian.
What are the different means that dietitians can go by?
The kind general term is dietitian but as far as official titles dietitians can call themselves REGISTERED DIETITIANS ( RD) or a REGISTERED DIETITIAN and NUTRITIONIST ( RDN) so they both are the same.
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What does a Dietitian do?
Some people think of dietitians as just working in the wellness area or just working in hospitals or something like that but really dietitians can work in a lot of different places so:
Some dietitians work in hospitals like dialysis center
Some work with people who have diabetes
Some work in health and wellness and lifestyle type area
Some work in community nutrition or public health or eating disorders food allergies
Some work with food companies to help them develop products
What is a Nutritionist?
The truth is basically anyone can call themselves a nutritionist it does not refer to a specific type of education or a specific level of education. There is not kind of one definition for nutritionists. It’s just a kind of this open world, it’s not clearly defined and that means a lot of people use it with various levels of education for example
Someone who calls themselves a nutritionist could be a registered dietitian because registered dietitians are nutritionists.
It could also be someone who may get the degree of dietitian but then for whatever reason did not go through the other steps so now they just call themselves a nutritionist.
It can also be someone in another field for example nurse or doctor or a personal trainer and they decided to get a nutrition degree because they get a nutrition question in their everyday job and so they thought having that extra degree, having some extra training might be helpful for them.
What does a Nutritionist do?
It could also be someone who works in nutrition but just wanted to get a specific degree in a very specific area and did not want to do all the stuff that was required to be a dietitian.
It can also be someone who took some sort of like private course or certification so there really is not like a big regulating body it’s just private company that offers its course those can vary and the quality of the information and also the length of the course.
It can also be someone who has no nutrition training whatsoever who maybe wants on a diet and lose weight and now they call themselves a nutritionist and try to help other people.
Maybe someone who is interested in nutrition as a hobby has read a few books and calls themselves a nutritionist.
A good phrase to remember
“Every Dietitian is a Nutritionist But not every nutritionist is a Dietitian.
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Thanks for reading.