It's important to know that, as previous posters have said, in the United States the title "nutritionist" is meaningless. In other countries it's different, but here, ANYONE can say they're a nutritionist. Dietitians are the ones who have to have a degree and a registration or license. Some people who choose to call themselves nutritionists do have qualifications, but most are just random people who have decided that they know enough to charge people money.
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2,562 12/18/13 1:50 P
If you're looking for someone to help you improve your diet, ask for a referral to a Registered Dietitian. RDs have to pass a state mandated licensing exam while the title "Nutritionist" has no requirement (though there are boards that certify nutritionists based on exams). As when evaluating any new heath professional before you start seeing them regularly, ask them for a list of qualifications and certifications.
Kris's link provides good advice for finding professional nutrition advice that applies to all countries.
Fitness Minutes: (37,726)
4,351 12/18/13 11:58 A
The nurse at my surgery asked if I'd like to be referred to a dietician. (It seems that there's not a huge difference.) To be honest, I've learnt far more from spark people than I did from my 5 or 6 appointments. I told her that I didn't really know what 2000 calories looked like, but she never showed me a 2000 cal (or a 1500 cal) diet plan. She talked about replacing butter with low fat spread. She suggested that dates would be a good substitute for chocolate, but not to have too many. (Bad idea - I had no idea how many calories were in dates!) She was happy with my regular supper of cheese and crackers - again, it was only on SP that I realised how many calories I was packing away with that. I finished the course of sessions not much the wiser. Fenway Girl, if you have to pay for a nutritionist I'd say stick with SP. It's free and highly effective.
Fitness Minutes: (34,370)
22,454 12/16/13 4:01 A
My Registered Dietitian always refers to herself at "Nutritionist"
Actually, in the United States and many other countries, anyone with no credentials or education at all can call themselves a nutritionist--seriously, anyone can do it and it's not at all regulated. It is registered dietitians who are required to have training, a degree and a license.
I'm not usually a fan of Wikipedia, but it does have a good explanation:
Fitness Minutes: (31,113)
1,888 12/15/13 7:38 P
I pulled this from a job description website and edited it a bit to take out some redundancies.
A nutritionist will meet with you and discuss your lifestyle, your activity level, your nutrition goals. medications, health problems and food likes and dislikes. Then they will prepare sample meal plans for you to help you learn how to meet your goals. They will also provide you with lists of foods that you should eat as well as portion sizes etc.
Nutritionists are health professionals who develop healthy meal plans and who oversee meal preparation to ensure a high-quality of nutrition in the diet. Often, they work in hospitals or other care facilities, including nursing homes or schools cafeterias. Nutritionists must have at least a bachelors degree in nutrition in order to find a job, and other licenses or certifications may be required for active practice in some states.
Consultant nutritionists are those who generally have a private practice and work on an individual basis with their patients. They work with patients to create an individual meal plan aimed at losing weight or increasing overall health
In order to become a nutritionist, it is necessary to have at least a bachelorís degree in food science, nutrition, or a related area. It is beneficial if you have a masterís degree in these areas, but it is not necessary. Courses required for a nutritionist often include courses in biology, nutrition, psychology, finance, and chemistry.
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