Why You Should Ask A Dietitian

"Unbiased" advice about who to seek for nutrition guidance. In Canada they have 5+ years of specialized training and are regulated by a professional association, much like doctors.

I say 'biased' because I am a dietitian, but there is a reason I decided to become one! Well, more than one:

1) The title dietitian (RD) is protected by law. Anyone can call themselves a wellness coach. But just like it's illegal to falsely call yourself a doctor, not just anyone can call themselves a dietitian in Canada. You know they have the training to back it up. Speaking of which...

2) They have 5+ years of specialized education. Being a dietitian is an intensive honours degree and the grades matter. After crying themselves to sleep for 4 years, they get to apply for a 1 year unpaid internship, to which they have a 50% chance of getting accepted. In fact they often pay a fee to do this unpaid work, so you know these people are PASSIONATE AF about what they do. Many dietitians also go on to complete a masters program (because at this point they've developed a taste for tears and student debt).

3) They are not allowed to sell you products without full disclosure. You should always question the motives of a salesperson. While dietitians can sell or endorse a certain product, they have to disclose their relationship with the product's supplier. They also cannot receive commission or promote one brand over another (They may mention one brand name, but should also make it clear if there are other options on the market you are free to pressure).

4) They are regulated by a professional association. This association holds dietitians accountable. If they say or do something that isn't evidence-based or ethical, anyone can report it to the college of dietitians to be dealt with. You can look up any dietitian to see their standing with the college in your province (Ontario site here). RD's also need to keep up their education by completing learning goals which are monitored every year.

5) They are way nicer than you'd expect? For some reason, many people seem to dread dietitian appointments. I'm not sure if it's a fear of being nagged, shamed, or pushed out the door with generic guidelines they already know. In reality RD's are generally compassionate, nurturing people. They personalize nutrition advice to you and your circumstances. Some may have a 'tough love' approach that certain clients need, but guilting clients is not part of the job. We aren't scary I promise!

There are lots of professions out there helping people get their health on track. If you want to be sure you're getting evidence based nutrition advice tailored to you, a dietitian is always a safe bet.

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