The Difference between a Nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian
In Ontario, anyone can legally provide nutrition information and call themselves a nutritionist. “Nutritionist” is not a protected title in Ontario. The title “Dietitian” is protected by law; that means only Registered Dietitians can call themselves "dietitians".
What sets Registered Dietitians apart is that they are the only regulated nutrition profession in the province. And, they are accountable to the College of Dietitians of Ontario for safe, competent and ethical nutrition services. To use “Registered Dietitian”, “Dietitian” or RD in Ontario, you must be a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario.
As registered health professionals, dietitians must meet rigourous practice standards, including an accredited 4-year or equivalent degree with appropriate courses in sciences and nutrition, administration and humanities; an accredited dietetic internship or equivalent supervised practical training; and, successful completion of the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination. Public Health Nutritionists are Registered Dietitians with a masters degree.
To practice in Ontario, Registered Dietitians must meet the College standards for academic and practical training, ethics and professional conduct. All dietitians must participate in our Quality Assurance Program for professional development and continued competence. You can expect that dietitians in Ontario bring a high degree of skills, judgment and knowledge to their nutrition practice.
Dietitians are skilled in translating medical and nutrition information into practical healthy eating plans for you and your family. They provide individualized nutrition advice to help people make healthy food choices. Dietitians can help you with many nutrition concerns including food sensitivities and allergies, disease-specific nutrition care plans and creating healthy meal plans.
Registered Dietitians are also trained to consider how culture, traditions, values, beliefs, family and personal lifestyles all affect nutrition health. When you receive services from a dietitian, you can expect respectful and collaborative care.