Dietitian vs Nutritionist

The title "Registered Dietitian", "Professional Dietitian", and "Dietitian" (RD, RDN, PDt or RDt) are protected by law -- through provincial legislation -- so that only qualified practitioners who have met education qualifications can use that title.

A dietitian is a health professional who has a Bachelor's degree, specializing in foods and nutrition, as well as a period of practical training in a hospital or community setting. Many dietitians further their knowledge by pursuing a Master's or Doctoral degree.

Dietitians are members of a provincially regulated profession that has Public Protection as their mandate. Dietitians are held accountable for their conduct and the care they provide.

The term Nutritionist is not protected by law in all provinces so people with different levels of training and knowledge can call themselves a "Nutritionist". The title "Nutritionist" is protected for dietitians in some provinces and dietitians do use the title "Nutritionist". As the term "Nutritionist" is not a protected title in some provinces, you should contact your provincial regulatory body to ensure that you are receiving services from a dietitian. "Nutritionist" is not a protected title in Newfoundland and Labrador.

A variety of titles have been used by unqualified people to describe their involvement in nutrition related practice. Many use the term "registered" with a variation of "nutrition" as a title. You should be careful to ensure that the person is a qualified nutrition professional. You can contact Dietitians of Canada or the Provincial regulatory body to obtain a list of Dietitians in your area.