From diet tips to exercise routines to medical advice, people who claim to be experts offer all kinds of guidance. Learn what the differences between a nutritionist and a dietitian are, and what kinds of training each title requires.
When scanning through endless websites, social media accounts, blogs and forums offering weight loss advice, there are two professions that come up consistently: Dietitian and Nutritionist.
Both professions are qualified to provide nutritional advice that is healthy, sustainable, and helps you achieve your weight loss goals - and there is a great deal of crossover between the two. The main differences between dietitians and nutritionists are legal, with differences in restrictions and regulations each carry. A dietitian is a legally protected title that requires hours of supervised practice. A nutritionist is not a protected title and can cover a broader array of working roles in the nutrition space.
We will consider the differences between these roles and the benefits they offer weight loss programs in a clinical setting like DietMD®!
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are experts on food and nutrition, providing clinical nutrition therapy to patients, assessing their diets and lifestyles, and educating them on their nutritional needs. Dietitians create individualized meal plans for each patient's goals, needs, and health targets. Nutrition-based treatment for diabetes education and management, known as Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), should only be provided by a registered dietitian or a nutritionist working under the supervision of an RD.
While they are not medical doctors, registered dietitians are highly qualified clinical specialists with a degree in nutrition and verification statement from an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited program. Dietitians must complete 1,200 hours of supervised clinical time under a licensed professional and a bachelor’s degree to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam. Starting in 2024, dietitians must obtain a master’s degree BEFORE obtaining their license.
Passing the CDR exam and earning a national RD credential qualifies a dietitian to hold a license and practice in most states. These board-certified professionals are qualified to work in hospitals, research institutions, clinics, and a host of other institutions within healthcare, food service, community health, and research.
Dietitians can pursue a variety of specializations and certifications, such as Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). While certification can vary, universities further offer different specialty areas for students. The Registered Dietitian on our DietMD(r) team, Kevin McCulloch, chose Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) as a specialty in order to focus on type 2 diabetes management through diet.
Nutritionists cover a spectrum of roles and generally defined as "any professional who offers nutritional advice". Nutritionist titles are not regulated as strictly as dietitian titles and therefore have less certification and professional training requirements. This does not mean, however, that every nutritionist is less qualified than every dietitian, but rather the title itself is not as clearly indicative of qualifications.
There are titles for clinical nutritionists that require exhaustive certification and training. These nutrition professionals often use laboratory testing to conduct their work as part of a larger medical team. The Board Certification of Nutrition Specialists (CBNS) allows nutritionists to earn a certified nutrition specialist (CNS) credential. CBNS designation requires a masters’ or doctoral degree in a field-related discipline, 1,000 hours of supervised practical experience, a satisfactory score on the CBNS exam, and completion of continuing education requirements.
Our DietMD® nutritionist, Victoria Signorelli, works closely with our diverse team of healthcare professionals. Victoria focuses on patient education, using nutritional guidance and individual skill-building to ensure patients build lasting habits that support overall health.
The DietMD® Difference
At DietMD®, we have a team that includes a Registered Dietitian, a Nutritionist, and Physician’s Assistants. The entire DietMD® team is led by weight loss and diabetes management expert, Dr. J. Shaun Murphy. The different backgrounds and experiences of each healthcare professional on our DietMD® team offers crucial advantages when constructing a weight-loss program that is healthy, safe, and effective. We can guarantee that all nutritional and dietary advice is medically sound, including its impact on health, body systems, disease management, and overall well-being.
The clinical setting in which DietMD® operates sets it apart from other low-carb or keto-focused weight-loss services, especially those not led by medical doctors. DietMD® is also qualified to offer services designed specifically for diabetic patients, with outstanding health statistics that target weight loss, A1C reduction, and insulin dependence.
• Average 29 pounds lost within 3 to 4 months on the program
• Average 45.5 pounds lost within 8 to 12 months on the program
• Average 2.53 point reduction in A1C for type 2 diabetics with starting A1C > 7
• Type 2 diabetes patients no longer needed insulin within 4 to 6 weeks on the program
Want to learn more about DietMD®? Call today and schedule you FREE consultation!