What should I eat? It’s a common question – and there are plenty of people willing to offer nutrition advice. But who should you really trust? Tip: This might not be the influencer you follow on Instagram or TikTok.
Here, discover the type of professional who can advise you on improving your eating habits, making it easier to lose weight, managing a chronic condition through diet, and more.
What makes someone a Registered Dietitian and Dietitian?
A Registered Dietitian and Dietitian (RDN) is a specific professional credential. To earn the RDN title, someone with at least a bachelor’s degree and completed course work accredited or accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, completed an approved supervised practice program (lasting 6 to 12 months), and passed a national exam as per the Academy of Nutrition and nutrition science. To maintain RDN accreditation, they also complete continuing educational requirements.
What is the difference between a dietitian, a registered dietitian, and a registered dietitian?
You may see nutrition professionals with an RDN or RD (Registered Dietitian) after their name. So, what’s the difference? “there is nobody! “The two certification options are identical in their meaning,” says Jennifer Browning, RDN, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago.
Related: Why are healthy eating habits important?
Is a dietitian the same as a registered dietitian?
No, anyone can call themselves a dietitian. It’s a totally unregulated term. This is, in part, where the RDN address came from. Inserted “N” for further clarification. “The option to add an ‘N’ to ‘Nutritionist’ was added to help the public understand that while all nutritionists are nutritionists, not all nutritionists are dietitians,” she says.
What about state accreditation?
You may also notice that the expert includes additional letters after the RD or RDN credentials. These may include LD (licensed dietitian), LDN (dietitian – licensed dietitian), or CDN (certified dietitian), according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These are state licenses, and the letters vary by state. While the RDN or RD is a national registration, this state credential indicates that the dietitian is also registered to practice in his state, which is also important. “Many states choose to require licensing or proprietary protections for dietitians to ensure that the public receives medical nutritional therapy and other forms of nutritional counseling from certified practitioners who have the documented knowledge and experience necessary to do so safely,” Browning says.
What advice should I get from a registered dietitian anyway?
There is a lot you can learn from RD-RDN. “RDN is uniquely trained to provide expert advice on a variety of nutrition and health topics, and they are the only certified health care providers to offer clinical nutrition therapy,” says Justin Cardock, PhD, RDN, director of the university’s Dietetics Education Program. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Certified Specialist in Diabetes Care and Education (CDCES).
For example, they can help teach you the basics of healthy eating, develop a diet to gain or lose weight, or help you manage chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer, says Browning. Plus, they can help you navigate food when you have a food allergy or intolerance, and if you’re recovering from an eating disorder, she adds.
Related: What is binge eating disorder?
Can certified health coaches be experts in diet and nutrition?
A certified health coach focuses on making behavioral changes to get you to your health goals. Specifically, they “engage with clients who seek to enhance their well-being through self-directed and lasting changes, aligned with their values,” according to the National Health and Wellness Coaching Council. Some of the health coaches are RDNs, and they have a training certificate from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. There are also personal trainers who are certified through agencies like the American Council on Exercise (ACE) who are also ACE Health Coach certified and can use this to help their clients lead a healthy lifestyle and enhance their overall well-being.
The type of professional accreditation your health coach has obtained will state the type of diet and nutrition as well as the fitness advice he or she can provide. Ask your health coach about their background, as well as the certification program they’ve attended, and do your research to make sure the program and its philosophy fit what you’re looking for.
What about credentials in specialized nutritional approaches, such as sports nutrition, cooking, holistic or functional medicine?
There are seven specialty certifications offered through the Dietetic Registration Committee, which is the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These include board certifications in geriatrics, oncology, pediatrics, pediatric critical care, renal nutrition, sports diet, and obesity and weight management. These credentials are easily recognizable because they begin with “CS,” Bruning points out. For example, a professional who is board certified as a sports dietitian will earn a CSSD. RDN Board Certified Obesity and Weight Management contains CSOWM.
When it comes to credentials for other specialized nutritional courses, such as culinary nutrition or functional medicine, there is no set standard, but these dietitians usually look for additional programs to focus in a specific area of practice. Your best bet is to first research RDN and then look at their areas of specialization. An easy way to do this, says Browning, is to use the Nutritionist Finder on EatRight.org. First, you’ll search across your city, state, and ZIP and then use the drop-down “specialty” box and check the experience you’re looking for. culinary arts; complementary, complementary and alternative feeding; and Vegetarian Nutrition are among the thirty specialties included.
You can also ask about their training and work experience, notes Dr. Cardock. “Any RDN should provide a potential patient with a summary of their skill set, and if they are not the right RDN for the job, they can refer you to another RDN with this level of experience,” she says.
Are there any credentials for RDNs that specialize in Keto, intermittent fasting, and other popular dietary approaches?
No it is not there. However, all RDN should remain on top of diet trends, Bruning says. This way, they can advise any patient interested in trying these approaches on things like safety and nutrition. says Browning, who recommends researching RD-RDN who notes he specializes in one of these types of diets. (This information is often easily found on their website, if they have one.)
What nutritional qualifications should I look for if I have a disability or other health problem?
If you have a medical condition, “it is essential that you have a well-trained and certified nutrition practitioner to help you,” says Browning. Cardock adds that RD-RDN has “strong knowledge of various conditions, including but not limited to: overweight and obesity, endocrine disorders, cancer, malnutrition, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal, and kidney disease.” In other words, to help with a chronic condition, you can feel confident that RD-RDN is qualified to help you. However, finding someone with additional certifications can be beneficial. Here’s what to look for:
If you suffer from a chronic condition
diabetic CDCES is an accreditation granted by the Accreditation Council for Diabetes Care and Education, the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Professionals notes.
Chronic kidney failure Find someone who specializes in kidney nutrition (CSR), at the academy.
cancer The Diet Registration Committee also has Board Certification for Oncology Dietitians (CSO).
Heart disease or high blood pressure Find a dietitian who specializes in CV-WELL, the diet practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. CV-WELL stands for cardiovascular health and well-being. You can find a qualified expert through the Academy’s search tool and click “Heart Health – Cardiology – Hypertension” in the Specialty dropdown menu.
Related: Food as medicine: what it means and how to reap the benefits
If you are pregnant
Consider RD-RDN who is also a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC). “The RD that specializes in pregnancy and lactation is great for those who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant,” Bruning says. They can also continue to provide support if you decide to breastfeed.
If you suffer from an eating disorder
Consider an Eating Disorders Professional (CEDS) certified by the International Association of Eating Disorder Specialists.