What is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?
I am frequently asked this question since people often confuse the two. The quick answer is that all dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.
Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, including people who have taken one course in nutrition as well as those who have doctorates in nutrition. In fact, there’s even a story of a dog getting a nutritionist certification!
However, to be called a dietitian (also known as a Registered Dietitian, RD or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, RDN) you need to have undergone a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, completed a supervised practical experience at a hospital, community agency, or foodservice organization, and have passed a rigorous nationwide exam.
Required coursework consists of many pre-med type courses, including biochemistry and physiology, as well as specialized courses in nutrition and food science. Many dietitians continue on for advanced degrees and have certifications in specialized areas of practice.
For example, I have a master’s degree in nutrition and exercise physiology, and I have obtained various certifications.
While living in the United States, some of the certifications I have obtained include:
- Exercise Test Technologist by the American College of Sports Medicine
- Certified Diabetic Educator by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators
- Nutrition Support Clinician by the American Society for Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition
While living in Israel, I have completed certificate courses by the Israeli Dietetic Association, Amutat Atid. These include:
- Advanced Course in Nutrition & Kidney Disease
- Balanced Nutrition in Vegetarianism and Veganism
So what am I?
I am proud to be a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist who can practice in two countries – Israel and the United States.
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