Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are food experts. At a minimum, they must have a degree from an accredited university, complete a supervised clinical internship and pass a national credentialing exam. In addition, RDNs are required to pursue continuing education to keep their credential up to date, which means they have to keep up with emerging nutrition practices, science, and evidence.
By contrast, nutritionists are people that advise you on your eating habits but typically lack the expertise and training that an RDN has. The term nutritionist can be used by anyone who has an interest in nutrition or who has taken a nutrition course in the past. It is an unregulated term that makes it easy for anyone to potentially call themselves a nutritionist without the proper training and certification.
RDNs learn to interpret the science, current guidelines and disseminate information that are based on fact, not the latest nutrition related fad. A RDN will spend a lot of time learning about you, your health, your family history, your needs, preferences, and goals. Armed with this information, your RDN can help you create an individualized plan, tailor it to your personal nutritional needs, set goals and work toward achieving them through monitoring and follow up.
In addition to seeing your PCP and other specialists to assess and care for health markers like blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes, RDNs work as an important part of your care team. An RDN can help you to fully understand how the foods you eat may be affecting your health. They can help you assess nutrition-related lab results and create an individualized plan to improve your health.
Additionally, ACPNY has a team of Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (CDCES) that can help you manage your diabetes. Our team of CDCES’s are not only RDN’s but they have amassed thousands of hours of experience working with patients who have diabetes to manage their condition. A RDN/CDCES can not only talk to you about food, but they can help you better understand how to take your medications. They can also show you how to use your glucometer or continuous glucose monitor, monitor blood sugar trends, help you set and achieve glucose targets, help you create a sick day management plan, and solve challenges that may arise throughout the process. They provide an enormous amount of expertise and support to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Overall, working with an RDN can provide:
Practical, individualized nutrition guidance
Optimization of your health through nutrition, movement, medication adherence, and stress reduction
Guidance to prevent or manage a chronic disease like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes
Guidance and accountability to help you stay on track
Need help with figuring out the right balance of food for you? Schedule an appointment with one of ACPNY’s Registered Dietitian-Nutritionists and/or Certified Diabetes Care Education Specialist to learn how to optimize your nutrition and blood glucose control.