With social media becoming a primary source for nutrition tips and dieting ideas, it is essential to know where the information originates from and who is telling the story. The best individual to give valid, trustworthy nutrition information is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, or RD or RDN for short.

An important fact is that just about anyone can call themselves a “Nutritionist.” A person who studies food but doesn’t complete a supervised internship can say they are a nutritionist. Some programs offer certificates in the field of “nutrition,” but it does not guarantee nutrition education in all aspects of nutrition and dietetics.

A registered dietitian nutritionist has received an undergraduate degree in nutrition and dietetics and has continued to a supervised nutrition practical experience allowing extensive hours of study under a nutrition expert (RDN). Once these hours of supervised practice have been completed, it is a requirement for the individual to take an exam, pass the exam, and maintain continuing education credits yearly. Interestingly enough, a Registered Dietitian can call themselves a nutritionist, but a nutritionist cannot call themselves a registered dietitian because of the requirements and education involved.

So the next time you are surfing the internet looking for information regarding nutrition and dietetics, be sure to research where the information has originated from, and you can feel reassured that if you see the letters RD or RDN behind the author’s name, they are a trusted, valid source for nutrition information.

Rebecca Herrmann, RDN, LDN

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