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Why the titles: registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), holistic nutritionist (HN), health coach...

Published: 08/20/17 | Revised: 03/28/20

Did you know…a registered dietitian (RD) can be a health coach…? It's important to go beyond the title.

Consider a persons background!

Consider the following: 1. Education (edu)

2. Politics (food / health is just that…politics)

3. Business (a financial narrative) Any business-minded-person has a fiduciary responsibility.

4. Control (industry based to drive profits) Monopolizing….limits choice by obtaining exclusive possession or control of (a trade, commodity, or service).

Our safety? Example: some RDNs feel….an (unqualified) nutritionist can cause harm. 

Nutritionist...isn’t a registered (regulated / protected) term or title. 

So, technically, anyone can use the title, nutritionist.

However, there’s another side…. Example: some RDNs do not want to compete w/ other qualified nutritionist (non-RDs).

See how complex this can get?

There’s a financial narrative (it’s about protecting profits).

So, dietitians may push an RDN act: to strictly allow & only permit RDNs to practice / provide (nutrition advice / services) – which controls and limits the free-flow-of-info; therefore, monopolizing an industry (including the internet) and restricting non-RDs.

Common accusations worth noting: 

The term / title, nutritionist / health coach (HC) is NOT regulated....

– However, almost everyone has a title — how can someone market w/ out one?

HCs spread misinformation, right?

– Actually, anyone can be misinformed…

– that includes: RDNs and MDs.

Some RDs feel (HCs are trying to sell stuff) that true?

– RDs are no different – they push industry-based-protocols (a profit system).

– For many years, the Dietetic industry was funded by junk-food sponsors.

If you don’t understand..there was a conflict of interest and unethical acts.

Example: Coronary Heart Disease Policy.

Example: Edible Oil Industry.

Example: Craft cheese.

Example: Coca-Cola Company.

Due to public scrutiny: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) parted ways w/ some junk food sponsors. Some Dietitians were outraged.

Which one is better?!

I don’t know…you tell me…who benefits?

– HC / RD or the patient / client?

It’s the same act perpetrated by both subjects (in a similar industry).

Again, there’s a financial narrative, which has nothing to do w/ ethical standards.

Both are doing so to make a living – payoff debt or buy shoes…whatever.

Some RDs claim to be more qualified?

– Not always true – it’s important to consider one’s BG.

– Some non-RDs complete specific course-work (natural sciences) and have a better understanding of human-metabolism and the medical aspect of nutrition.

– Also, completing a minimum of a B.A or higher in nutrition science.

2020/24: a person will be required to complete a M.A to become a RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist).

I plan to become a nutritionist...what should I consider when seeking an education?

1. W/ any form of edu - it’s important to research and consider…

– Your plans: where and what do you see yourself doing?

– How are you going to get there and what will it take?

– Is it legit? Keep in mind, the public can easily research one's BG.

2. What are the rules / state laws regarding a specific title (HC or nutritionist)?

3. Does a basic certification allow continuing education?

Does a certification allow progression?

Nutrition is an evolving science and continuing to educate one's self should be #1.

Why certificates and various titles?

Note: most importantly, not all certificates are created equal.

Personally, in the past, I was not supportive of certificates (until I completed my edu at an accredited university); I opened my mind to re-educate myself.

1. Education is evolving - paradigm shifter.

2. Some people are tired of the typical (failing) system.

3. Some certificates are specific, as oppose to a… degree – – w/ a degree, one is required to complete unnecessary courses…under the guise: (we want you to be well rounded). Especially in health regulated majors: some of the course-work / protocols are outdated or does not apply.

Reality: colleges are designed to make money - it's about the money!

4. Some certificates require less time (money-is-time and time-is-money).

Less time…a bad thing?

– Again, it depends on the person (scope and ability).

– I made this clear – it’s important to consider one’s BG:

✓ curriculum vitae (CV) ✓ academic transcripts ✓ previous certifications and what it all entails.

Anyway, some people graduate early but don’t seem to understand the science aspect.

Are certificates and etc a way of the future?

2019/2025: I see the following on the rise... – different titles – specialties along w/ – other nutrition & fitness groups and the list goes on. Currently, some of us hear about: health coaches and etc (some will be more qualified than others).

Why are we doing this?

Simply, quality education and health is important – some of us are not getting it.

Based on the public’s perception: a typical medical doctor (MD) and (RD) may not be a fit (the primary healthcare professional). 

The public may take the initiative by paying-out-of-pocket, and also, demanding coverage (that is open..allowing for complementary methods of treatment (CAM)).

Example: an RDN may be covered but not a holistic nutritionist (HN). Some individuals may want to consult an HN and not a RDN (and will pay out of pocket to-do-so).


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