A recent segment on Good Morning America is a hot topic of conversation among registered dietitians due to inaccurate information that was presented to the public by a self-proclaimed “nutritionist” during the interview.
Hearing that someone is a “nutritionist” often makes the public think that they’re educated and trained in nutrition science and health issues. But in many states, titles like “nutritionist” and “diet counselor” are not regulated, so terms like these are used by people who are not qualified to give accurate nutrition advice. Many “nutritionists” have little if any actual nutrition training or just mail-order credentials. Even if a person holds degrees from accredited institutions, nutrition may not be his or her specialty.
So who is the qualified nutrition expert? When you need trusted, accurate, timely and practical advice, seek the advice of a registered dietitian.
With required college degrees in nutrition, dietetics, public health or related fields such as biochemistry, medicine or a nutrition specialty in family and consumer sciences, from accredited colleges and universities, RDs know the science of nutrition. And to earn the RD credential, they must perform a supervised internship, pass an extensive examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration and earn professional education credits throughout their careers to maintain registration.
With their education and experience, RDs have the skills and knowledge to translate nutrition science into practical meal planning. A registered dietitian can assist with eating disorders; work with your health-care team by helping you change your eating plan pre- or post-surgery; and help you set goals for athletic performance – whether you’re running a marathon or jogging with your dog.
The next time you hear nutrition advice on television, or see a diet book that looks like it might help you lose those last 10 pounds, take a closer look to make sure the information is coming from the qualified expert in food and nutrition science: a registered dietitian.
Visit ADA at http://www.eatright.org to locate a registered dietitian near you.
The American Dietetic Association is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.
Jessie M. Pavlinac, MS, RD, CSR, LD
American Dietetic Association President