The Difference Between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist

If you needed to takeGood Food your car to be fixed would you rather take it to a factory trained mechanic or a guy you know that has read a lot about cars? That is how stark the difference is between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist. The problem is that many people don’t know that there is a difference. In a recent podcast I spoke to Michele Manarino RD MS about this. I was really surprised to find this out and I wonder how many people get substandard advice form Nutritionists. Here is what you need to know about the differences between Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists. [audio]

Dietitians go through extensive schooling to learn the science of food. Many earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science and nutrition and how that affects the human body. Along with six to eight years of schooling RDs must complete an internship that takes them through many different disciplines including: food preparation, food science, nutrition, and food/restaurant service. Lastly, a dietitian candidate must sit for an exam to show they have the necessary knowledge to become a Registered Dietitian. Much like an accountant, there is a BIG difference between a CPA and the college student at your local H and R Block.FDA_Nutrition_Facts_Label_2006

Nutritionists do not have to under go any of that scrutiny. Many just independently study dietary topics and then put a sign in the window that says “Open for business”. There is no verification and no background  to where many of these people have learned the information that they are now selling to you. Some may have certificates showing various trainings and seminars they have attended but that dose not replace the level of education an RD must receive.

Let’s face it, you would probably only seek out a mechanic for your car for two reasons. Either your car is broken or you want to increase the day to day performance of you vehicle. Those are the same reasons you would be reaching out to a professional in the dietary field. Most of us would want the best repair possible for our wheels why wouldn’t you want the same level of care for our bodies? Besides, you can always go out an by a new car.

Can a dietitian help you achieve your health goals? Michele Manarino is a Registered Dietitian in Southern California. You can reach out to her at:

For more great tips on what to eat check out the Podcast! You can also get this and otThe Prepared Idiother episodes on iTunes and Stitcher!

Have more questions about diets or food? I would love to here from you! Post a comment or shoot me an email at


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