Tips for choosing a nutritionist

Nancy Teeter, RDN

Between what you hear on TV and read in the news, eating right can seem like a real challenge. Diet books and the Internet may seem like easy solutions, but your best bet is the personalized services of qualified professionals in the field.

Your premier resource is a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). There is no difference between the two, but the RDN designation emphasizes the fact that all registered dietitians are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. This is an important distinction because in Arizona, you can call yourself a nutritionist without any formal nutrition education, training, licensing, or certification, but it is illegal to call yourself a dietitian without proper credentialing.

RDNs are food and nutrition experts who have completed multiple levels of training established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). While many RDNs are generalists with knowledge about a variety of nutrition subjects, some might have a specialty interest or an advanced credential such as a Certified Diabetes Educator, or CDE. In addition, many RDNs have a masters or doctoral degree in nutrition.

RDNs provide vital food and nutrition services while helping individuals make unique, positive lifestyle changes. Whether you want to slim down, manage a disease or simply eat better to avoid age-related diseases, an RDN can help cut through the clutter of confusing nutrition advice and provide a sound personalized plan that is tailored to you and your goals.

RDNs are the food and nutrition experts and are the best source of timely, accurate and reliable information on eating well. When choosing an RDN, look for someone who has been practicing for at least a couple of years and has expertise in your particular health problem or condition. In addition, look for someone with whom you feel comfortable confiding health information.

If you would like more information about how a registered dietitian can help you, feel free to email me at [email protected].

Nancy Teeter is a SaddleBrooke resident and has been a practicing dietitian for more than 40 years.