If you want to eat healthier or lose weight, here’s why a Registered Dietitian is likely your best bet.
Finding nutrition information can be as easy as searching on Google or scrolling through your social media feed. While there is an abundance of nutrition information right at your fingertips, you cannot always trust that every post or search result is accurate and evidence-based. The best way to ensure that you are getting accurate information and advice you can trust is to work with a nutrition professional, such as a registered dietitian (RD).
Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain weight, manage a chronic disease or you simply want to improve your eating habits, working with a registered dietitian is a wise choice for many reasons.
- An RD is credentialed – Anybody can call themselves a nutritionist, but not everyone can be a registered dietitian. To become an RD (or RDN), a person must earn a four-year undergraduate degree comprised of a specially designed, accredited nutrition curriculum. After graduation, they must complete a dietetic internship, which typically includes post-graduate course work and hundreds of hours of supervised practice at health care facilities, foodservice organizations or community agencies. Finally, they must pass a rigorous registration exam and maintain continuing education credits throughout their career. Registered dietitians are held accountable by the credentialling board and are required to uphold a code of ethics.
- An RD understands disease states – Want to lose weight while managing a chronic disease like diabetes or hypertension? Or address a newly diagnosed digestive issue? A registered dietitian knows how to help you achieve your goals while managing your health at the same time. Due to their extensive training, RDs are aware of drug-nutrient interactions, caveats of specific health conditions, and how your diet and your health can be intertwined. It can be dangerous trying out the latest fad diet while managing a chronic health condition, but working with a dietitian can help you reach your goals more safely.
- RDs focus on lifestyle changes, not diets. A registered dietitian won’t just hand you a meal plan and call it a day. Working with an RD should start with a discussion about your medical history, eating habits, dietary restrictions and other lifestyle factors. From there, you will receive personalized advice that not only provides recommendations for what to eat or not eat but also addresses any barriers or concerns you may have. Nutrition isn’t a “one size fits all” science – working with a registered dietitian can provide you with information and advice geared specifically to you.
Working with a registered dietitian can be an effective tool when you’re trying to achieve health and nutrition goals that are sustainable. Of course, not every RD has the same knowledge, experience or methods, so just like any health professional, it’s important to find someone you trust and who you feel comfortable working with.
To find a credentialed nutrition professional, ask for a referral from your physician or others you know in your community whose opinion you value. Whether you work with an RD just to get you started or throughout your journey to better health, you’ll likely find that the personalized guidance you receive can help you more successfully – and safely – reach your goals.
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Date Last Reviewed: January 8, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN