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Nutritionist vs. RDN

By February 24, 2017November 13th, 2018Dr. Samantha Winton, Nutrition Counseling

What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Nutritionist?

With the flood of communication via the internet, phone, and electronic devices, many individuals and groups are claiming that they are nutrition experts. Similar to any profession, there are those that have gone through extensive education and training to receive an accredited certification. Then there is the fast-track version of schooling.

nutritionist vs rdn

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is a community of credentialed dietitians. They support the advancement of nutrition-related education, research, and advocacy. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist or RDN is accredited by the AND (formerly the American Dietetic Association). They have completed an undergraduate degree in nutrition or a related field. Thereafter, they are required to fulfill a one-year supervised dietetic internship program (DIP) working under other RDNs in both clinical and community settings. Upon completion of the DIP, RDNs are then qualified to take a national exam for final certification that is administered by the AND. Once they have successfully passed the exam, RDNs are then required to uphold their registration status by completing continuing education credits. RDNs may advance their level of expertise by specializing in certain fields of nutrition with advanced degrees and certifications (i.e. Eating Disorders, Sports Nutrition, Pediatric Nutrition, Enteral Nutrition, etc.)


Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Unfortunately, this means that anyone can sell nutrition advice, supplements, or products to the general consumer. Nutritionists that work in the healthcare industry have usually completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in nutrition. There are also online schooling options that provide a general certification but is not accredited by a national organization. Nutritionists can work in research, health and wellness education, and as a university professor. In the state of Florida, nutritionists must be certified. They must work under a medical doctor in order to provide nutrition services.

Protect Yourself with the Power of Choice

Just because someone is not a registered dietician doesn’t mean they are not a qualified nutritionist. In order to protect your health and well-being, you must become informed of every provider’s qualifications. A licensed professional has been given the blessing from the state or nation to treat and care for every individual pertaining to their field of expertise. Our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist will provide you with the highest quality nutrition counseling services.

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Dr. Winton is the owner and clinical director at Integrated Care Clinic. She is a licensed psychologist that specializes in eating disorders, body dysmorphia, food anxiety, body image, intuitive eating, and perfectionism.

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