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6 Things You May Not Know About Registered Dietitians

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RDs aren’t the food police, and they are also different than Nutritionists. Discover 6 little known facts about dietitians.

It’s official—I’m a Registered Dietitian (RD)! I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but I was waiting until I passed my RD exam. During this long career change process, I’ve been lucky enough to come in contact with many RDs and I’ve learned a ton about the profession.

There are many myths about Nutrition professionals and many things that people don’t know. For example, RDs aren’t the food police and they eat more than just kale. So I wanted to dedicate this post to the six things I’ve learned about Dietitians that I think you might find surprising!

Natalie RD


*These are generalizations about Registered Dietitians. These are my observations, but I understand that not each fact is true for all RDs.


1. RDs and Nutritionists are different

Up until this point, I had to call myself a Nutritionist because I technically wasn’t a Registered Dietitian, and I hated it the whole time! Anyone can call themselves a Nutritionist. To hold the Registered Dietitian title you must study nutrition at a university, complete a year long dietetic internship, and take an RD exam.

It’s a long process so you can rest assured that every RD worked hard for that title–don’t call them a Nutritionist! If you’re thinking of changing careers, find out everything you need to know in this ebook.

2. We study medical nutrition therapy

A large part of learning to become an RD is studying medical nutrition therapy, and a big chunk of the Dietetic Internship is spent in a hospital setting. Consequently, there are many Dietitians working in hospitals.

They are well versed in a variety of disease states and can help you manage your condition with food. RDs also speak and write in medical abbreviations. Sayings like NPO (nothing by mouth) and using shorthand (dx for diagnosis) became second nature to me during my time spent in the hospital.

3. We aren’t judging your food choices

Whenever I eat with someone that I don’t know that well, they usually say something like “Don’t judge what I’m eating.” I promise that I’m not. Do you know how much effort it would take for me to judge everyone’s food choices?

I don’t form an opinion about people’s food choices without knowing much more about their health goals and lifestyle. I don’t offer my opinion unless asked for it, but I’m more than happy to answer food and nutrition questions when asked!

4. We eat unhealthy food too

Seriously, I love pizza. I love the bread and the salty sauce and the melted cheese. I know it’s not the healthiest food, but I love it. But I also know the importance of moderation and I also love fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

5. We struggle with food too

Not every Dietitian runs 5 miles and many RDs struggle with their own food issues. Just like everyone else, RDs eat mindlessly or when they are emotional. Sometimes life gets in the way and RDs struggle with making healthy food choices all of the time.

6. Not all Dietitians cook

I obviously love to cook and create healthy simple dishes. It’s the premise for my blog! But not all Dietitians cook or want to cook. The field of Dietetics is much larger than just healthy food. There are clinical Dietitians that work with patients with Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, bariatric surgery, and much more. Public health Dietitians work to change nutrition and food public policy.

Community RDs provide nutrition to underserved populations. Sports Dietitians teach athletes how to make the right food choices to boost their athletic performance. There are many different types of RDs and not all of them love to come home after work and cook a meal.

What other little known facts do you know about RDs that I missed?

15 Comments

  1. Abbey

    Love this!! Thanks for busting these myths for the profession 😉

    Reply
  2. Chelsey

    Love these! I just started my DI so I can’t wait to post a similar blog in a year! I wrote a whole post on how I’m not the food police (http://citnutritionally.com/food-police/) because it irks me so when people make comments like that!! Congrats on passing your RD exam! woo!

    Reply
    • Nutrition a la Natalie

      Thank you! I tell people I only care what they eat if they pay me to, haha! Enjoy the DI and use every chance you can to network.

      Reply
  3. Deanna Segrave-Daly (@tspbasil)

    Great list esp. all RD not loving to cook – I became a dieititan for that reason so that was a reality check for me once I got into the field 🙂 Congrats again on become a dieittian

    Reply
    • Nutrition a la Natalie

      Agreed! But it’s great to see RDs like you making your own path in the nutrition world.

      Reply
  4. Aprylle

    Congratulations on your RD! I can’t wait to have a similar post in two years 🙂 But I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve got on here for sure!

    Reply
  5. Strength and Sunshine

    Huge congrats!! Just as you complete yours, I’m starting mine with a major in nutrition at college!

    Reply
    • Nutrition a la Natalie

      Thank you! I love hearing that. It’s a long road, but it’s totally worth it.

      Reply
  6. Yah

    Love this! Not a RD yet but we’re definitely not perfect eaters or love to cook. If that was the case I would have done culinary/chef school instead!

    Reply

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I’m Natalie Rizzo, an NYC-based Registered Dietitian.

My mission is to help everyday athletes fuel their fitness with plants.

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