I have heard the terms “nutritionist” and “dietitian” used in the news lately. Is there a difference between these professionals?

The majority of the general public does not realize that there is a significant difference between a Nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian. When you want nutrition information based on scientific literature, or want to know how food promotes health and fights disease, depend on the most-qualified professionals in the field of food and nutrition: a registered dietitian. The truth of the matter is that anyone can call oneself a Nutritionist, no matter what form of education or experience that they have had. A registered dietitian, or RD, is a highly trained food and nutrition expert who has completed a four-year degree program and a supervised internship program and passed a comprehensive credentialing examination. Registered dietitians must also complete 75 hours of continuing education credits every 5-year period.

To contact a registered dietitian, visit the American Dietetic Association at http://www.eatright.org and enter your zip code in the “Find the Nutrition Professional” box.

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