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Question : I am diabetic and want to eat better. Should I see a dietician or nutritionist?
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The Trusted Source
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Kathy McManus, M.S., R.D., is the director of the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Simmons College, completed her Dietetic Internship at Brigham and Women Hospital, and received a Master of Science degree in nutrition from Framingham State College.

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April 17, 2014
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You should see a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).

The "RD" credential is a title protected by law. It can only be used by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Some RDNs may call themselves "nutritionists." But not all nutritionists are registered dietitian nutritionists.

The definition of the term "nutritionist" varies. As do the requirements.

Some states have license laws that define the range of practice for someone using the designation "nutritionist." But in other states, virtually anyone can call him or herself a "nutritionist."

People with the RDN credential have met specific requirements. They have:

  • Earned at least a bachelor's degree (about half of RDNs hold advanced degrees).
  • Completed a supervised practice program.
  • Passed a registration exam.

They also maintain continuing education requirements for recertification.

The RDN is trained to help you develop a customized eating plan for your diabetes.

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