A Registered Dietitian is a health professional who has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from a University, completed a year-long dietetic internship, and written a registration exam. Dietitians are also required to be a member of their provincial College of Dietitians and complete yearly competencies.
The titles “Dietitian, Registered Dietitian and Registered Nutritionist” are protected in Alberta. Be sure to check for these titles when you are looking for reliable nutrition information. However, the term “Nutritionist” is not protected. Nutritionists may have varying levels of training and formal nutrition education, or none at all. For example, the title “Holistic Nutritionist” is becoming popular. Most holistic nutritionists have a 1 year diploma. I have been asked if my practice is “holistic”. While I do take into account other areas of your life that affect your health and nutrition, I also make sure that my recommendations are evidence-based.
Despite common myths, dietitians are not forced to teach Canada’s Food Guide, many follow other philosophies. I am not ‘government-regulated.’ In my practice I will not ask that you count calories or choose ‘fat-free’ foods. Dietitians do not offer a one-size-fits-all approach, and consider other aspects beyond calories and nutrients such as taste and enjoyment of food, cooking skills and how and why you eat. Not just what you eat. In short, dietitians take a holistic approach to find solutions that fit for you.
Here’s a great article that explains it more.