When you need nutritional information, do you seek the guidance of a nutritionist or a dietitian? While some define these two professions as the same, as they both study about food and health, they actually have differing qualifying criteria and approaches.
Nutritional consultants (nutritionists) are like wellness coaches that specialize in educating individuals and families about healthy food options and dietary supplements that support a healthy lifestyle. Licensing is not required, as they are not advising sick people.
Dietitians primarily manage dietary choices for people in institutions, like a hospital. Working under the direction of a physician, they pick foods to meet the nutritional requirements appropriate for the patientÕs condition. Licensing is required for dietitians, because they are dealing with sick people.
The professional organization for registered dieticians and dietetic technicians is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetics Association). It is noted that this organization is not supportive of dietary supplementation and is supportive of continuing education that teaches dietitians that sugar has a “bad rap” and that it being bad for children is an “urban myth” Ð sponsored by a soft drink company. These positions may be a result of significantly funding of the dietitians’ professional organization by junk food and pharmaceutical companies.
Why is it so important to understand the difference between nutritionists and dieticians? Legislation is being introduced in many states that would lead to dieticians being the sole providers of nutritional counseling Ð a growing segment of the prevention marketplace. Nutritionists would no longer be allowed to advise people. They (the nutritionists) are fighting this legislation.
There is a second important matter in this legislation that we don’t find being talking about. It is that this legislature would give dietitians the right to use nutritional therapy as treatment. This would grant them the authority to diagnose and treat serious diseases or health conditions. This is currently limited to physician-level trained professionals like medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, chiropractic doctors, naturopathic physicians, etc.
Again, this legislation would give dieticians the right to diagnose and treat ill people with nutritional therapy (treating with food choices) and would prohibit nutritionists from being allowed to practice nutritional counseling.
Issue: When you understand the source and level of a dietitian’s education, are you comfortable that only dietitians should have the right to provide nutritional counseling to individuals and families, and that these dietitians should be allowed to treat sick people?
The following Internet sites are offered to get you started in your research on this matter.
PRO Issue Link #1: Market Place Relevance: Regulatory and Competitive Environment of Dietetic Services (February 2011)
American Dietetic Association
PRO Issue Link #2: Children’s Dietary Recommendations: When Urban Myths, Opinions, Parental Perceptions & Evidence Collide
Beverage Institute For Health & Wellness: The Coca-Cola Company
PRO Issue Link #3: American Dietetic Association
CON Issue Link #1: American Dietetic Association Wants to be Sole Authority on Nutrition (2/9/12)
Health Impact News Daily
CON Issue Link #2: American Dietetic Association Speeds up its Race for Monopoly – Updated (2/2/12)
Alliance for Natural Health USA
CON Issue Link #3: ADA Says Sugar, and Artificial Colors are Safe for Children! (2/7/12)
Really eat right!
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