What is a Registered Dietitian?

Registered Dietitians (RD for short) are often thought of as “the food police”, but that really isn’t the case! RDs choose this area of work because we love food! We believe in empowering patients, clients and communities to enjoy and understand food. We work with people on an individual level to support their nutrition needs in order to improve their health and relationship with food.

RDs are trained food and nutrition experts that translate scientific evidence into easy to understand nutrition education and practical nutrition advice for individuals. RDs are regulated healthcare professionals, which means that we have a regulatory body and must stay up to date with nutrition related scientific research.

At minimum, a RD in Ontario must have an accredited undergraduate degree in nutrition (usually a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition), complete supervised practical training and pass the national Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination. This extensive education and rigorous training plus dedication to ongoing learning makes RDs the trusted experts in food and nutrition.

RDs work in a variety of settings including private practice, hospitals, community health centres, research settings, family health teams, food industry, public health, long term care and many more places. They collaborate with clients, caregivers, other health care professionals and community services to promote good health, prevent disease and manage chronic disease.

Is there a difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

Yes! A Dietitian can be considered a Nutritionist, but a Nutritionist cannot be considered a Dietitian. That is because the word dietitian is a Canadian wide protected term for nutrition professionals who have completed the necessary requirements required to become registered with the regulatory body.

A Nutritionist is not a regulated term and can be used by anyone even if they don't have an educational background in health and nutrition. Regulatory bodies are in place to protect the public to ensure professionals are held accountable to the highest standards of education and ethics. My advice? Always look at someone's credentials and background prior to working with them when it comes to your health and wellbeing.


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