by ADMIN on SEPTEMBER 23, 2011
There are three responses I get when I tell people that I’m a Registered Dietitian:
Ohhh… I shouldn’t eat this in front of you…
Hm. You’re eating THAT?
So I have a questions for you…
I love every one of these responses. I love telling people that I’m not the food police, that I will never judge someone based on what they eat, and that I only provide advice if asked. I love hearing people’s thoughts on health and nutrition. I love talking about nutrition to help people make nourishing decisions. And I love dispelling the many food myths that swirl around and affect our eating habits.
And I’ve had 7 years of training to allow me to provide guidance and recommendations.
Plus I’m required to maintain my license with continuing education for both the American Dietetic Association AND the Massachusetts Dietetic Association. I have to take a test every 5 years to maintain my certification as a board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.
All of this makes me – and all other Registered Dietitians – the most qualified people to go to with specific questions on:
Knowing which foods interfere or interact with the medications or supplements you’re taking
What to eat to help prevent and reverse disease
Managing your medical symptoms through diet
Interpreting blood work in the context of treating disease through diet
Specific macronutrient (protein, carbs, fat) recommendations to achieve your weight and health goals
In Massachusetts and many other states, ANYONE can call themselves a Nutritionist.
Even someone who has only taken a weekend course in nutrition. Yes, a ‘nutritionist’ may be able to give some good general advice on what to eat – but for anything more in depth, you may want to seek out a Registered Dietitian.
I’ve had many clients, friends, and family who have come to me saying: “Have you heard of such-and-such a diet or supplement? My trainer told me to take it!”
And every time, this upsets me.
I worry that one day someone may provide advice that – even with the best intentions – may lead to health or medical complications; or lead to contraindications to medications taken; or may give someone a false sense of security about their health or well-being.
In some states it’s actually illegal for anyone other than a Registered Dietitian to provide nutrition advice. Such actions could lead to legal repercussions.
I have an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, and we learned about Exercise Prescription (developing exercise plans). But I would never create a training plan for someone because I know that I’m not certified by NASM or ACSM or any other professional sports association.
I know I’m not qualified to provide personal training. So I refer my clients to someone who is.
Because that’s the right thing to do.
Ultimately, it’s not about territorialism. It’s about working together and respecting each other’s scope of practice so that we can provide top-notch services, which is in the best interest of our clients.
Because our clients are the most imporant part of the equation. We work for YOU and want to help you achieve your best physical, mental, and emotional wellness.
So if you’re serious about your health – be sure to ask for all credentials when you seek out a health professional — whether it’s a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, or any other person who may be helping you become your Best Self.