What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist?
The titles “Registered Dietitian”, “Professional Dietitian”, and “Dietitian” are all protected by law. These titles can only be used by people who have met national standards in nutrition education and practice.
The letters RD are the legal designation for qualified Registered Dietitians in Ontario. The law does not protect the term “Nutritionist” in Ontario, so people with different levels of training and knowledge can call themselves a “Nutritionist”. Some qualified Dietitians may call themselves a “Nutritionist” or “Nutrition Consultant”—look for their designations to be sure that you are talking to an expert!
All Dietitians have a four-year Bachelor’s degree specializing in food and nutrition, and have completed further training with an accredited internship or a graduate degree. They must complete quality assurance programs each year to ensure that they keep up to date in their particular nutrition specialities.
In Ontario, Dietitians are regulated by the College of Dietitians of Ontario so you can be sure you are getting safe and ethical advice.