Much of what has been shared is true but I have to add a big exception which is that in some states, Registered Dietitians are referred to as Nutritionists but they also carry the R.D. as well. The key in evaluating if a person who calls themselves a "nutritionist" is to see if they also are Registered by the Commission on Dietetics. If they are not and their nutritionist title and credentials come from other organizations, it might be best to look elsewhere so you are getting the most from your visit and your dollar.
10/23/12 7:12 A
Like others have already said, there is a big difference between a registered dietician and a nutritionist. Personally I wouldn't bother with a "nutritionist"-- what I'd want (and specifically request a referral to), is a registered dietician. Most health insurance will cover at least one visit to a registered dietician, for a health condition that is related to diet-- ie, diabetes, gallstones, etc.
Ruth in Cookeville, TN Central Time Zone
Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think - Christopher Robin to Pooh
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385 10/23/12 6:43 A
Nothing beats educating yourself in nutrition. If you aren't your own best 'nutritionist', then it doesn't bode well for your health.
Of course, consulting a specialist in specific cases or when you have unique circumstances is very helpful...I have an aunt who is a retired dietician who has provided me with good advice on specific questions. But to get the most out of a consultation, you should already know how food and your body works and exactly what you are eating and why (all of which is FREE info here or at your library or all over credible places on the web).
If you bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth that which is within you, that which you do not bring forth will destroy you.
Be aware that there are different "styles" -- I ended up with someone who was more of an "eating therapist" than anything else. She felt that I had lost too much weight, I think perhaps because she had a lot of ED patients, and was trying to convince me that I didn't weigh enough -- I am 5'7" and was about 150 lbs, and she wanted me to weigh 175, which I thought was odd as that is quite overweight for my height. She was of the opinion that someone who has always been overweight should not attempt to be a "healthy" weight. She was very into the "love your body" / healthy body image thing, which I am not. I was concerned about diabetes which both my parents have, etc., not my dress size or physical appearance, something she either refused to believe or just couldn't fathom. So it was basically a constant battle with her. But overall I'm glad insurance paid for it because I would have regretted the money.
My point is that there are different styles, and you have to find a good fit. I didn't, because the one I went to was all about learning to love and accept yourself, which I find a bit flaky (for me). I would have done much better with someone who would have talked about calories, micronutrients, antioxidants, whatever it is that they talk about. Be prepared to "shop around" for someone who will talk to you about the things that are important for you.
In the US, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. It is an unlicensed term. There is no training, no qualifications, no testing. I can call myself a nutritionist right now and try to get clients. It's not illegal.
However, the term dietitian is restricted to those who have applied the required learning and proven they have retained sufficient knowledge and skill to be able to pass exams. It is a registered term and only a qualified dietitian is able to call themselves that.
Deb, in New Zealand
10/22/12 11:39 P
A registered dietitian (like SP's Dietitian Becky) are "registered" because they have undergone a rigorous course of study on nutrition. The reqiurements for a 'nutritionist' are WAY lighter; they don't necessarily have the expertise to assist you competently.
If your surgeon doesn't refer you automatically, ask specifically for a Registered Dietitian.
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