Close your eyes and imagine a Dietician. What words, associations, and thoughts come to mind? No fun diet. Weight-loss. Food police. Dietitians are often shed in a negative light and not fully understood as a profession. Let’s bust these myths to unveil the truth and see how these specialists can help us all!
Myth #1: All Dietitians are the same.
Like all medical professions, the diversity among Dietitians is vast. They work in a range of settings and industries from private practices and care facilities to public policy and agriculture and play many different roles based on their area of expertise. They may carry out nutrition-related research, collaborate with athletes to enhance performance, or work as sales representatives for food or pharmaceutical companies. Others give nutritional counseling for purposes spanning from weight-loss counseling to diabetic and other chronic disease management. As you can see, the profession is far from homogenous.
Myth #2: Dietitians and Nutritionists are interchangeable.
While both work in the health and diet space, Dietitians and Nutritionists are two distinct career paths, mainly due to differences in education and licensing. Registered Dietitians must undergo extensive education and training by earning a bachelor’s degree with rigorous nutritional and scientific coursework (think biochemistry, human physiology, organic chemistry, etc.), gain 1200+ hours of supervised experience in various health-related settings, pass a national exam, and complete 75 hours of continuing education credits every five years to stay up to date on the latest scientific knowledge regarding the human body and nutrition. Conversely, with variation from state to state, Nutritionists are not required to obtain previous education, training, or work experience.
Myth #3: You will be forced to go on a boring and strict diet if you work with a Dietician.
Dietitians love food just like the rest of us and understand the joy that comes with indulging in foods considered “unhealthy”. From personal experience, these professionals know that cutting out favorite dishes and eating a boring, strict diet is nearly unattainable and impossible to sustain so they wouldn’t impose one on someone else. Instead, Dietitians strive to set their clients up for success with whatever approach best fits their client’s goals. They work to help their clients make healthier choices and practice indulging in moderation, resulting in a more balanced, but still fun and exciting diet.