What is the Difference Between a Dietitian and Nutritionist?
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All Dietitians are Nutritionists but not all Nutritionists are Dietitians

what is the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist?

March is nutrition month and on March 16th, we celebrate Registered Dietitian (RD) Day in Alberta. It is a day where we can shine a light on the profession and celebrate all the amazing work RD’s do to help our clients make informed and reliable life-changing decisions around food and nutrition. 

Often people use Dietitians and Nutritionists interchangeably, but did you know that there is a distinct difference between the two? 

All Dietitians are Nutritionists, but not all Nutritionists are Dietitians. So let’s get down to it: What is the difference between dietitians and nutritionists?

What does RD mean?

Registered Dietitians (RDs) are the only university trained, regulated and licensed health professionals in the field of nutrition in Canada.  Dietitians are held to strict ethical standards of practice.  In some provinces including Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia, the word Nutritionist is also a protected title. To make sure you are accessing advice from the most qualified nutrition professional look for the initials RD or PDt (DtP in French) after a nutritionist’s name. 

Seeing a Registered Dietitian is one way you can be ensure the nutrition advice you are receiving is credible. You wouldn’t ask a celebrity interested in home construction how to wire your basement, you’d ask an electrician. You wouldn’t ask your child’s soccer coach who has an interest in health to provide you with medical treatment.  Apply this same thinking when it comes to nutritional services. 

Just like electricians, engineers and medical doctors, Dietitians are accountable to provincial regulatory bodies for the highest standards of education and ethical practice. Provincial regulatory bodies protect the public and serve as a point of contact for consumer complaints and malpractice. 

Titles such as Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutritional Practitioner, RONP, RNCP, ROHP, RHN, CNP are not the same as a Registered Dietitian and do not indicate the person is a provincially regulated health professional. These are often used by those who have completed much less intensive privately owned training programs that vary in length and rigor. 

Are Registered Dietitians covered by Insurance?

One of the things that I’d also encourage you to do is to take a look at your insurance and see if you’re covered for registered dietitian services. It’s quite common on your health spending accounts or under health insurance plans with your employer to have some coverage to be able to access this care.

If not, ask if they would consider adding it to your plan and share the following fact sheet with your employer. Are you optimizing support for nutrition in your benefits plan? Healthy employees benefit everyone!

As a profession, Dietitians have a lot to be proud of. Find out more about nutrition month, Dietitians Day and the diverse areas of specialty and a range of healthy eating tips provided by our Dietitian team on our website!

Learn more about our dietitians below!

Looking for the right Registered Dietitian for you? We’ve got your back!

Our diverse team of registered dietitians specialize in a range of specialities to support you such as: emotional eating, eating disorders, sports nutrition, family meal planning, health concerns like diabetes, digestive issues, and more!

We offer both in person (in Calgary) services as well as online nutrition counseling. Our team empower people just like you to live healthFULLY + soulFULLY.

Discover which RD is right for you, today!

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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