7/29/2020

For Brands: What is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

I talk a lot about registered dietitians (RDs), but you may be wondering: What is the difference between RDs, nutritionists, health coaches, or anyone else who offers nutrition advice?

The reason I focus on registered dietitians is to be sure that I’m connecting you with true experts to speak to the nutrition properties and health benefits of your products. It’s important to be selective in who you choose to partner with and represent your brand.

My mission is to help clear up confusing nutrition information for the consumer and RDs are the most trusted source for nutrition information.

Nowadays, anyone and everyone talks about food and nutrition. This is great in many ways, but in many cases, it can spread misinformation and increase consumer confusion.

So what is an RD…

A registered dietitian is the only globally recognized credential for nutrition experts. Registered dietitians meet the same requirements and training nationwide. They complete a science-heavy undergraduate and/or master’s degree, complete a year-long supervised practice internship, sit for the national exam, and maintain their credential through completing continuing education credits.

Registered dietitians are the only nutrition professionals who can work in hospitals and bill insurance. However, they actually work in a huge variety of settings (not just hospitals) with a variety of specialties. RDs typically choose 1 or 2 populations, disease states, or diets to specialize in. You’ll find them in functional medicine clinics, schools, private practice, and more. Check out a few of the more unique settings you’ll find RDs here.

But, RDs aren’t the only nutrition experts…

It’s true, there are nutrition experts have chosen not to pursue the RD credential. But how do we know who they are? Many other nutrition experts have master’s degrees and even PhDs in nutrition.

What about health coaches, nutritionists, and doctors?

Some doctors do specialize in nutrition and that is great – these would also be considered nutrition experts. Others focus on a different area of medicine and don’t continue to stay up on current nutrition trends, fads, science, and research.

Health coaching is a valuable skillset used to encourage and ‘coach’ people to improve their health. Their focus is not necessarily on food and nutrition.

The term ‘nutritionist’ isn’t regulated. So in many states, anyone can and does call themselves a nutritionist. While some nutritionists do have extensive training and nutrition knowledge, many influencers call themselves nutritionists and others are self-taught.

With the growing wellness influencer space, these days everyone thinks they’re a nutrition expert. But when it comes to your brand position, reputation, and credibility you should be selective in your partnerships and who you choose to speak on behalf of your company.


Still wondering if RDs are right for your brand? Check out this post.

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