Healthy eating patterns are associated with improved aging and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers, and obesity .
But what exactly does healthy eating look like?
Figuring out the right food for you to support your best possible health can be complicated. Fortunately, this is what Registered Dietitians specialize in.
What Is A Registered Dietitian?
Registered Dietitians or Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (abbreviated as RD or RDN) are qualified food and nutrition experts.
RDs must be registered in order to provide professional services in their field, this means that the profession is regulated by the government.
Registration requires three main steps:
Successful completion of an approved bachelor's or master's degree program
Completion of an approved dietetic internship or practicum
Passing the registration examination
An Important Distinction To Note
The terms nutritionist and dietitian are often confused, though these two professions vary greatly regarding education requirements, qualifications, and certifications.
Nutritionists aren't held to the same standards as a dietitian (RD) because they aren't governed by a regulatory body.
Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist and provide nutrition related services.
Government regulation of the profession ensures that RDs meet high practice standards to be:
All of these
What Do Registered Dietitians Do?
There are several - sometimes overlapping - work fields for an RD. The roles and responsibilities of an RD will vary depending upon the environment in which they work.
Work in settings such as hospitals, public health facilities, and long-term care facilities.
Assess a person's nutritional status.
Provide counseling on nutrition strategies to treat illness and promote health.
Work in government agencies, non-profit organizations, and public health clinics.
Educate the public on food and nutrition.
Work in food service settings, hospitals, and cafeterias.
Plan and manage dietary and meal programs.
Develop and analyze food and food products.
Work in research facilities, laboratories, and other public health facilities.
Conduct research in the science, techniques, and practice of dietetics.
What skill should an RD have in order to be successful in their profession?
Critical thinking skills
All of these
Why Should You See A Registered Dietitian?
RDs can help and provide nutritional counseling for individuals who are experiencing certain medical conditions or who would like to achieve specific goals.
Maintaining weight loss or weight gain
Needing practical advice for meal planning
Improving athletic performance
Recovering from an eating disorder or an injury
Disease prevention and management
RD counseling typically requires two visits:
Nutrition assessment. A visit to assess your health status and your specific goals. The RD will review your current habits, measure your resting metabolic rate, your body composition, and possibly do blood work.
Follow-up session. A second visit to discuss a personalized plan and nutritional recommendations. This is based on a complete analysis of the initial nutrition assessment.
What is an action that an RD would not take?
Help you identify foods to avoid
Follow trends and prescribe a fad diet
Assess your lifestyle and eating habits
Design a personal weight loss plan
Could an RD help you reach your health goals?
Or maybe you think you'd make a great RD yourself?
Consider reaching out to an RD in your area for an initial consultation!
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This Byte has been authored by
Learning Experience Designer