Let’s face it…when you watch the evening news or listen to a news report on the radio, so much conflicting information about nutrition is broadcast to the public. The bottom line in most of what you watch, read or hear in the news about what’s good or bad when it comes to nutrition states, “more research is needed.” How can you know if you should follow a certain recommendation or leave it alone? Well, a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) can help you navigate your way through all the misinformation and hype to find what will work for you.

What can a Registered Dietitian or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist do for you? Here are some of the ways:

– Extensive training: A Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) holds at least a bachelors’ degree and goes through a comprehensive supervised nutrition training program in the various areas of practice, including food service, clinical nutrition and community nutrition. RDs and RDNs have to pass a registration exam and acquire at least 75 hours of continuing education credits every five years in order to maintain registration. Many states also require RDs and RDNs to be licensed in the state to practice in their field. At least half of RDs and RDNs also have advanced or graduate degrees, with specialized certifications in cancer, renal, weight management, pediatric and sports nutrition.

– Current with latest recommendations: Working with an RD or RDN will ensure you receive the most up-to-date nutrition counseling advice and recommendations as well as the highest level of quality. Many out there claim to be nutritionists and are giving out nutrition advice without the proper credentials. If you need nutrition advice, make sure the person you are working with is an RD or RDN and is licensed by your state, if your state has licensing required for them.

– Information tailored to your needs: An RD or RDN can provide individualized nutrition to meet your specific needs, whether it’s to lose weight, manage chronic diseases such as diabetes or high cholesterol, food sensitivities and allergies or simply to eat healthy. The RD or RDN will review your medical history, lab results, lifestyle, eating habits and work with you on your nutrition goals. Your RD or RDN will guide you in determining appropriate weight loss goals and assist you in creating meal patterns that will meet your individual needs. RDs and RDNs can help you with sorting out nutrition research and information that you may hear, see or read about.

Finding a Registered Dietitian or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is easy. Go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website at www.eatright.org and click on the Find an Expert button on the top right corner of their home page.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day was celebrated March 14 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to recognize the work of Registered Dietitians and Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists as food and nutrition experts. Celebrate the day and National Nutrition Month by enjoying spring weather and the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season during spring.

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