Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) is right around the corner and I’m so excited to be presenting this year with talented chef and dietitians Sara Haas and Ellie Krieger! This is the world’s largest conference that gathers thousands of food and nutrition experts in one spot to “address key issues affecting the health of all Americans.” FNCE is an extraordinary opportunity to meet colleagues to network and share information on how we’re actively problem solving with clients from across all areas of nutrition.
Don’t miss out on our presentation – we’d love to see you there!
I’m excited to head to Chicago to celebrate our career’s 100th birthday at FNCE. As we move into the next century of dietetics, a lot of dietitians are sharing their thoughts on how they hope we learn and grow into the next century. I wanted to share a few of my own thoughts on how I think we can work together to progress our profession as registered dietitians.
In the modern world where social media reigns supreme, it can be hard to tune out the noise and focus in on credible nutrition information. Shockumentaries, Insta-famous “nutritionists” and celebrities all want to weigh in on what they think is the best way to eat. You know what’s the most shocking part? Some of these people have thousands, if not millions, of followers who are hanging on to every word they have to share. That is both a powerful and terrifying realization.
Countless people claim to be “nutritionists.” Technically, anyone can be a nutritionist. There are no qualifications or credentials required to call yourself one. However, being an RD (Registered Dietitian) or RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) is a protected credential. In order to become an RD, you must have a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related science field, apply and hope to be matched to an accredited internship consisting of at least 1200 hours of supervised practice (the national match rate for dietetic internships is less than 50%) and then pass a registration exam. Our learning never ends, as we must complete 75 hours of continuing education credits every 5 years to prove we are still keeping abreast to the latest nutrition science in the field of dietetics.
One small way I think (along with many other RDs I’ve talked to and separately highlighted by Leah McGrath, the dietitian and founder of Build Up RDNs) we can boost our “followers” is by making sure we represent ourselves as dietitians when being interviewed, writing pieces and working with clients. Most RDs have worked through at least 6 years of school and internships to become a registered dietitian, so why discredit all that effort to be called a nutritionist? This only muddies the water in confusing the public in what the difference between an RD and nutritionist is.
Whenever you’re curious about if the latest trendy diet really is all it claims to be, instead of searching the depths of the internet, reach out to a registered dietitian in your area. They are the nutrition experts who have the background to provide credible nutrition information for you to sift through the noise.