Frequently asked questions
What is a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN)?
RDNs are food and nutrition experts who have to meet rigorous criteria to earn and maintain the credential. The criteria include:
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree and completion of a Didactic Program in Dietetics curriculum, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)
Successful completion of an 1200+ hour ACEND-accredited supervised nutrition practice internship, including rotations in healthcare facilities, community agencies, and foodservice settings
Passing a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)
Completing continuing professional education requirements to maintain the credential
Resources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
What’s the difference between a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) and a nutritionist?
This is a common question! The term “nutritionist” is a general, self-proclaimed label that is not regulated by any accrediting body. If you are working with a nutritionist without an RD/RDN credential, make sure to ask about their training, formal education, specialties, and experience! There are lots of smart and passionate nutritionists without RD/RDN doing good work, but as with anything, it’s important to ensure your needs match with a nutritionist’s level of expertise and training.
On the other hand, RDNs are held to certain academic and practice standards. The title “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist” is protected by the law, and RDNs must comply with a Code of Ethics outlined for the profession. This ensures that those working with RDNs are receiving up-to-date and evidence-based nutrition advice. They are able to work in settings like hospitals and healthcare facilities, government agencies and public health/community organizations, food industry, research and academia, or private practice. RDNs are the only legally recognized nutrition experts.
When it comes to receiving nutrition therapy for medical conditions, it is especially important to work with an RDN, as formal education in biology, chemistry, anatomy/physiology, and biochemistry -- along with required clinical nutrition experience in a hospital -- are a part of an RDN’s specialized training.
Oh! And one last thing. RDNs may choose to call themselves either a dietitian or a nutritionist. You'll hear both often. I know that makes things confusing.
What can I expect when working with an RDN?
RDNs are trained to provide practical, evidence-based, and culturally sensitive nutrition advice that is individualized based on each patient or client's health needs and medical history.
You can be sure of:
Customized recommendations based on your eating habits, preferences, and health needs
A safe, science-backed approach to achieving health goals
Expert counseling that focuses on behavior change and motivation
No fads or trends -- we focus on long-term results
Ready to work with a dietitian nutritionist? See my counseling services here.