Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year and I often remind my friends and family by saying, “Guess what day it is?” No, not hump day although that is also true. Yesterday was Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. Okay, so this is a little selfish of me since I am a Registered Dietitian. And who doesn’t love a day to celebrate who they are? But this day is more than just a day to celebrate professionals such as myself. It is a day that we use to educate others about what we do as Registered Dietitians and how we might be helpful to you. Let me tell you a bit more about one of my favorite days of the year.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day is the second Wednesday in March to celebrate the food and nutrition experts, or Registered Dietitians. It is just one day during a month where we focus on healthy eating as part of National Nutrition Month and take time to return to the basics of healthy eating.
Who is a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?
You may be asking yourself just what a “Registered Dietitian (RD)” or “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)” is and perhaps what the difference is between a dietitian and a nutritionist. You are not alone. This is a common question that many people have and we hear all the time.
The short answer is that every Registered Dietitianis a Nutritionist, but not every Nutritionistis a Registered Dietitian! The difference between “Registered Dietitian (RD)” and “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)” is more of a personal preference for each professional and the terms are used interchangeably.
The more complete answer is that a RD/RDN is a medical professional who has completed the academic requirements for a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university, completed an approved internship program (much like a residency for a physician), and has passed a national certification exam administered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Just like many allied health professionals, RD/ RDNs are also required to remain up to date on their education through required continuing education (CEs) to maintain their registration status.
The title “Nutritionist” is a little bit more cloudy. Virtually anyone can call themselves a “nutritionist” and laws and regulations that govern the title can vary from state to state. In some states, the title “Licensed Nutritionist” is similar to “Licensed Dietitian” with regulations that include required education, exam, and practice requirements to use the title. If you want to learn more about the specific laws and regulations in your state you could start here.
How Can an RD/RDN Help You?
Registered Dietitians work in a variety of different settings including hospitals, long term care centers, schools, public relations, universities, clinics, research, private practice, WIC clinics, local and professional sports teams, in the media, and for food and nutrition companies such as Nutricia.
Chances are that you may have already been taken care of by a Dietitian if you use any of our Neocate products, and especially if you use any of our metabolic products. Perhaps they have been an advocate for you or your child at school or your community to help with your special diet. We get phone calls and emails almost every day from parents or individuals asking how much Neocate they should have daily or how much their child should have. A Registered Dietitian is the perfect person to answer that question for you!! They know you, the details about your health and what your health goals or concerns are, so a RD/RDN is the perfect person to see if you have the same questions. Registered Dietitians can also help you transition from one Neocate product to another Neocate product as you age, or as your taste preferences change.
Registered Dietitians are the food and nutrition experts committed to helping people enjoy healthy lives and eat food they love. I personally chose this profession for many reasons, an important one being that I have always loved to cook and eat food in general. Many people see a Registered Dietitian to either gain weight or lose weight, and questions about calories and weight usually come up in any conversation I have had with the people I have worked with as a clinical registered dietitian.
For more ways a Registered Dietitian can help you and improve your health check out these ideas. What else would you like to know about Registered Dietitians?
-Kristin Crosby, MS, RDN