Who Do You Ask for Nutrition Advice?

RDN Means “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist”

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

As National Nutrition Month comes to an end, I’m sharing this news  – I just added an N to my RD credentials indicating I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, an option approved by the board of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) to more accurately reflect who registered dietitians are and what we do.

As explained at eartight.org, it communicates a broader concept of our practice areas, including wellness and the prevention and treatment of health conditions beyond medical nutrition therapy. 

To sum it up, all registered dietitians are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. 

What’s a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)?

The AND website clarifies that only RDs or RDNs ”have completed the organization’s multiple layers of education and training. In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree, an RD must fulfill a specially designed, accredited nutrition curriculum, pass a rigorous registration exam, and complete an extensive supervised program of practice at a health care facility, foodservice organization or community agency. “About half of all RDs hold graduate degrees and many have certifications in specialized fields such as sports, pediatric, renal or oncology nutrition. Some have added training in the culinary arts.


Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

What is a nutritionist

The definition and requirements vary. Some states have licensure laws defining the range of practice for someone calling themselves a “nutritionist.”  In other states, virtually anyone can call him- or herself a “nutritionist” regardless of education or training.

Take time to verify the qualifications, experience and training of the person you trust with your health and wellbeing.  If you face surgery, will you go under a knife guided by someone with an MD (and a board certification), or someone who calls themselves a healer?  Will you seek aftercare administered by an RN, or someone called an assistant, helper or caretaker?

Everyone eats – and many feel that gives them authority to weigh in on matters of health and nutrition, including mom, granny, the store clerk, best friend, colleague and fitness trainer.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto


I advise those that seeking nutrition advice to think carefully about the proposed solution and the source.  Are they selling you something?  Is it a secret, miraculous, quick-fix?  Is it based on research reported in a peer-reviewed science journal?  Who funded the research or stands to profit from the results? If what your hearing sound too good to be true –it probably is. 

© 2013 Lorelle S Del Matto

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.


  1. I hardly comment, but I browsed some of the comments on Who Do You Ask for Nutrition Advice?

    . I actually do have a few questions for you if it’s okay. Could it be simply me or does it seem like some of these responses appear like they are left by brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional online social sites, I would like to follow anything fresh you have to post. Would you list of the complete urls of your social networking sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

    • Thanks so much for your comments! I’m sorry for the delay. I’d love to get your questions. Perhaps I could put the answers in a blog post for others. I do individual nutrition counseling too. I’m working on being more regular with twitter, facebook, etc. Thanks for the reminder on this- I just wish there were more hours in the day!

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