What is a dietitian?  And what exactly do you do?

When people discover that I am a Registered Dietitian, they respond in different ways.  Some have a look of confusion, not sure of what to say.  Some ask if Dietitians eat cookies and cake, curious to know what “us foodies” will accept.  Those that are especially fearful hide their plates, hoping to escape judgement. If you are unsure of what a Dietitian does, not to worry, you are not alone.

Rest assured, Dietitians are not the food police.  In fact, we are very friendly people!  A Registered Dietitian (RD) is a health professional trained in food and nutrition. RDs use their knowledge and skills to promote healthy eating and wellness in their communities.

In order to become an RD, one must complete a Bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition sciences, as well as an internship program or accredited Master’s degree.  The title of RD is only granted upon the successful completion of the Canadian Dietetic Registration Exam (CDRE).  This title and profession is protected by law, and regulated by a provincial governing body (e.g. College of Dietitians of Ontario).

A nutritionist is different than a Dietitian in that they are not protected by law, and thus have no required level of education and/or training.  People with many different levels of knowledge can refer to themselves nutritionists.  Here’s a great little video on dietitians:

For more information, please visit the Dietitians of Canada links below:

What’s the difference? – RD vs. Nutritionist Factsheet

Smart Choice for Healthy Eating – Registered Dietitians