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Nutritionist vs. Dietitian

There is often confusion about the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian. There are important differences between the two.

Nutritionists have varying levels of education. Some people with no professional training will refer to themselves as nutritionists while other nutritionists may have a PhD.

Dietitians, though, must complete specific nutrition-related coursework from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, or ACEND. They must also complete supervised practice through an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship.

Dietitians must also pass a national registration exam from the Commission on Dietetic Registration in order to practice as a registered dietitian nutritionist, or RDN.