What if there was a simple solution to avoid diet scams, gimmicks, and expensive weight loss products? What if you could receive personal assistance with virtually any nutrition problem? The answer can be found in a Registered Dietitian/ Nutritionist (RDN). RDNs are the only licensed health professionals that can give you factual, scientifically-based nutrition information to improve your health and fight diseases.
There is a saying, “Want to know if someone is a nutritionist or dietitian? Ask if they have student loans.” Anyone can self-proclaim themselves as a nutritionist. RDNs have at least bachelor’s degree, 1200 practice hours and sit for a national board exam. Here are some facts to help you understand how an RDN can help you achieve wellness throughout your life cycle. Regardless of your health situation, here are a few things to consider:
- RDNs are the only credentialed food and nutrition experts. An RDN has undergone rigorous classes in science, counseling, and management as well as pass a national board exam. You can rely on an RDN to understand the biochemical, psychological, social, cultural, and practical aspects of food and nutrition. The average RDN has a Masters Degree and completed a 1200-hour internship program in hospital, community, and food service settings. Many RDNs earn credentials in different specialties, such as oncology, pediatrics, or sports nutrition. A few RDNs have earned doctoral degrees in Food and Nutrition Sciences, the highest level of education in the field.
- RDNs work in diverse areas of industries. Many people may only see an RDN when they have a health condition that puts them in the hospital, such as a heart attack or diabetes. However, there are a variety of opportunities to work with an RDN so you or your loved ones can prevent going to the hospital. RDNs work in outpatient centers, public health departments, and foodservice industries. Multiple RDNs run their own business through social media.
- RDNs rely on evidence -based scientific information to help you. Many people have difficulty with sorting through the confusing information about health and wellness. Some may be conned into purchasing shakes and supplements that are ineffective or even harmful when combined with medications! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the national organization that oversees the credentialing RDNs and ensure that they are constantly reviewing the latest scientific evidence with other medical health professionals to ensure that you have access to the best care.
There are several reasons why you should be seeing a Registered Dietitian/ Nutritionist (RDN). Some of have their own private practices that take insurance or partner with medical doctors’ private practice groups. To find a Licensed RDN near you, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at www.eatright.org/find-an-expert.
Written by: ShLanda Burton, BS Dietetic Intern ; Lauren San Diego, RDN; Roberta Silva, PhD; and Heather Colleran, PhD, RDN CSSD, LDN, CSCS