In today’s healthcare world, more and more patients are seeking the help of dietitian and nutritionist to assist them in finding the nutrients their bodies need, losing weight, and following a healthy eating plan. It can be hard to find an excellent dietitian or nutritionist in your area, so we decided to put together this list of what you should be looking for in these professionals in order to ensure you receive the best care possible. This article will also give you some helpful tips on how to be sure that your dietitian or nutritionist is worth your time and money.
What is Dietitian and Nutritionist?
A dietitian is a licensed nutrition professional who helps people manage their health. Their services can include assessing patient dietary needs, developing meal plans, and educating patients on a healthy diet. Many dietitians also work to influence public policy in an effort to provide greater access to affordable, healthy food for all Americans.
Check out our post about how to become a dietitian for more information. What Is A Nutritionist?: While there are some similarities between dietitians and nutritionists, they’re actually quite different. The main difference is that while both are licensed professionals with advanced degrees in nutrition science, only a registered dietitian (RD) may call themselves dietitian or nutritionist—and only after completing an accredited program and passing an exam administered by The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). If you want to learn more about becoming a registered dietitian, check out our post here!
Do I Need To Hire One?
Food is a huge part of our lives, so why wouldn’t you want someone who can help you take full advantage of that fact? Of course you can still be healthy without seeing a dietitian or nutritionist—there are plenty of resources online to help you reach your health goals. But for some people, whether it’s weight loss or specific dietary needs, personal training with an expert can be beneficial.
Asking yourself a few questions may help: Do I want to manage my own food intake or use an outside source? Is it possible to eat healthy on my own or do I need guidance in learning what and how much I should eat? If professional support is needed, who should provide it? A physician, registered dietitian (RD), or licensed nutritionist (LN)? A medical doctor might be able to prescribe medication if necessary; however, most physicians don’t have extensive education about proper nutrition.
An RD will likely have more expertise than a physician but less than an LN. An LN has specialized training in many areas including general nutritional counseling and management of specific conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disorders and others.
How To Work With One
If you’re considering hiring a nutritionist or dietitian, it’s important to know what those terms mean. According to both American Dietetic Association (ADA) and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), anyone can call themselves a nutritionist as long as they have a bachelor’s degree, but they do not have any professional experience.
Dietitian is another term used by professionals without prescribing requirements. To practice in many states, however, nutritionists must be licensed by AND or ADA; therefore a dietitian has completed additional coursework beyond an undergraduate degree to be eligible for licensure. Additionally, these individuals must abide by ethical guidelines like maintaining confidentiality and providing honest recommendations.
Some people choose to work with a registered dietitian who may charge more than a nutritionist because he or she has passed an exam administered by ADA/AND. Registered dietitians are also required to maintain continuing education credits every year in order to keep their license active. If you’re looking for someone who will hold your hand through your entire weight-loss journey, then it might be worth paying extra for that kind of support—but if you just need help making healthier choices, either one will suffice.
Getting Healthier With An RD Or NTP
Look for a registered dietitian or nutritionist (RDN) or a certified nutrition specialist (CNS) if you want to improve your overall health. These professionals can help put together a diet plan that will leave you feeling energized, increase your chances of maintaining your weight loss, and keep those pesky chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure at bay.
The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics states that RDNs must complete an undergraduate course in foods & nutrition along with supervised practice to be qualified. If you want some additional guidance after discussing options with an RDN, ask about joining a support group run by organizations such as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig which offer free memberships to their services.