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  • Writer's pictureAmbrazia Sublett

Registered Dietitian vs. Nutritionist and My Thoughts on Washington Post Article

I am sure many of you reading this have heard of a nutritionist and some of you may or may not have ever heard of a Registered Dietitian. There is a difference and the correct labels need to be given to the appropriate people.


A Nutritionist is someone who knows a lot about nutrition. This has nothing to do with formal education or training. Can obtain a CNS (Certified Nutritionist Specialist) certification in a short time online, not governed by a larger entity.


A Registered Dietitian is someone who has a Bachelor's Degree through an accredited program. Complete an internship (usually unpaid) that is at least 1,200 supervised hours. Additionally, RDs must pass a national board exam. (Now the requirements are to also possess a Master's Degree to sit for the exam.) Additionally, the RD must complete continuing education hours for the entirety of their career to maintain their credentials. All credentialing requirements, national state testing, internship monitoring, and all things to do with being an RD are under ACEND and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


All this to say, if you need help with nutrition you should seek out an RD. This also applies to claims made online about nutrients, products, etc. Do your own research and ask an RD their opinion. If they do not know a lot about that area they can put you in touch with someone who does. So many times I see people sharing a post online saying "Don't eat *insert ingredient*." There are numerous RDs that focus on different things I've listed a few (I have many more) of my favorites below. If you aren't already follow me on Instagram.




Now my thoughts on the Washington Post article. If you do not know what I am talking about, the Washington Post came out with an article making radical claims about Registered Dietitians. I will try to sum it up and then tell you what I think about it. First I want to say I do not read the Washington Post but was able to dig around and find the article (FYI it does cost to read the article). It was titled, The food Industry pays 'influencer' Dietitians to shape your eating habits. In my thoughts below Washington Post will be abbreviated with WP, Registered Dietitian RD, and Instagram IG.


The article focused on the recent hashtag #safetyofaspartame. The article talks about how some RDs on IG were not honest in their opinions. The hashtag meaning was really not what the article touched on. But if you were wondering, there is no fear in consuming artificial sweeteners if that is what you would like to do. Within the first few paragraphs, the WP is already stating that the RDs using the hashtag in posts didn't make clear that they were paid to post the videos. The WP stated they found that 35 posts were all paid for by a campaign for American Beverage. They continued on to state that RDs on IG and other social media platforms are encouraging the consumption of sugar and candy. The references for this concern were RDs who posted about not cutting out sugar, desserts, etc. from their lives and consuming them how they choose. To me, this part of the article really shows how much diet culture and fear tactics rule news outlets. The RDs referenced weren't stating to eat desserts for every snack and meal of the day. They simply were stating to not withhold foods you enjoy because that's what the media tells you you need to do.


The piece continued on about the close tie there is between RDs and the food industry. Additionally, they expressed disinterest in RDs having paid partnerships with food brands. After reading this I still do not understand how partnerships are a bad thing and how they effect consumers badly. I believe that having RDs who do partnerships that they believe in and will not endorse products that they do not recommend. As I talked about earlier RDs have a host of knowledge and also uphold a code of ethics so they should not and will not compromise their career by making claims that aren't true.


So in the end RDs supporting companies and foods they know can nourish your body is a good thing. Limit what you believe from 'influencers' with no formal nutrition information. Frankly limit what you believe from the WP. I hope that the people who wrote the article improve their relationship with food. Additionally, I hope they also remember because RDs are educated they are thinking about more than just the food for consumers they are thinking about cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, budgets, overall health, etc. I wonder if when they were writing they asked themselves why is it so bad for an RD to recommend processed foods. I can't think of one reason. Remember media is media do your research and consult educated individuals for health and nutrition advice.


Blissfully,

Ambrazia


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