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Distinguishing Between Dietitian vs Nutritionist
Many people mistakenly use the terms “dietitian” and “nutritionist” interchangeably. Although these two professions are undoubtedly related, they maintain distinctive qualities. The biggest difference between dietitians and nutritionists lies in the legal restrictions that each title carries. Only nutritionists that become registered with Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) may legally declare themselves as dietitians or more precisely, registered dietitians (RDs).
Unlike dietitians, the nutritionist profession is much less protected under the law. In fact, nutritionists that do not intend to use the titles of “dietitian” or “registered dietitian” are often free from government regulation. Some states may require nutritionists to obtain an occupational license from a Board of Nutrition, while other states allow individuals to practice as nutritionists without any previous education, training or work experience.
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Dietitians provide food and nutrition information, and support people to improve their health. They provide advice on nutrition-related matters and can modify diets to help manage conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, overweight and obesity, cancer, food allergies and intolerances.