3 Common Misconceptions About Registered Dietitians

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Registered Dietitians. From believing that they just advise on weight loss, to believing that they don’t work with personal dietary needs, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction when it comes to these professionals if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to work with one.

Today, we’re going to debunk three of the most common misconceptions about Registered Dietitians—and explain why you should consider seeing one for your own dietary needs.

Misconception #1: Dietitians Only Work with People Who Want to Lose Weight

This is a common misconception about Registered Dietitians, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. While some people certainly do see an RD for help with weight loss, there are a variety of other services that these professionals specialize in.

For example:

  • Some Registered Dietitians are knowledgeable about sports nutrition and helping athletes reach their peak physical performance.
  • They can also provide advice on how to eat to manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease.
  • Registered dietitians can also provide nutrition counseling for people that are looking to improve their overall health and wellness, as well as advice on meal planning and grocery shopping.
  • Therapeutic diets are also a specialty of some Registered Dietitians, which can help people manage food allergies or intolerances. Some RDs even focus on plant-based diets and vegetarianism.

The reality is that Registered Dietitians are much more than just weight loss coaches. There are a wide variety of services that Registered Dietitians provide, so don’t let this misconception keep you from making an appointment. In Greater Victoria, Continuum’s Registered Dietitians can provide you with the individualized advice and support that you need to reach your dietary goals and improve your overall health.

Misconception #2: Dietitians are Just Nutritionists with Degrees and Credentials

Dietetics and nutrition science are complex fields of study. While some nutritionists may have degrees in food science or nutrition, a Registered Dietitian is not the same thing.

To become an RD in Canada, the education and training requirements include:

  1. An accredited degree in Human Nutrition & Dietetics from a university program that has been accredited by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP). This degree includes study in sciences such as chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, as well as social sciences and communication.
  2. After that, they must complete a period of supervised practice. This requirement may be satisfied during a post-graduate program (i.e. Master’s or Diploma practicum program) or via a practical training program that takes about 5 years to complete.
  3. Registered Dietitians in Canada must pass a national competency exam, the CDRE (Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination).
  4. Finally, they must also be officially registered with the provincial dietetic regulatory body. Here in British Columbia, that regulatory body is the College of Dietitians of British Columbia.

The additional credentials that come with being an RD allow them to provide more specialized services than a nutritionist, so it is important to make sure you are seeing a Registered Dietitian when you need proper nutrition advice.

Nutritionists may be able to provide general, basic advice on healthy eating—but if you require more personalized service, it is important to find a Registered Dietitian.

A nutritionist may prepare a meal plan based on books or internet articles they’ve read—but a Registered Dietitian will do an individualized assessment, analyze your needs and develop an evidence-based nutrition plan tailored to you.

Misconception #3: Dietitians Won’t Accommodate Dietary Restrictions

Many people assume that because Registered Dietitians specialize in healthy eating habits, they don’t understand dietary restrictions—but this is simply not true. The truth is, most registered dieticians are very knowledgeable about different dietary restrictions and can help you find ways to stick to your specific needs while still eating healthy meals.

For example, if you have an allergy or intolerance to certain foods, a registered dietician can help you find alternative ingredients and meal options so you still get all the nutrients you need without having to worry about any potential reactions from eating something off-limits.

For active clients and those who want to live a healthier lifestyle—including those with gastrointestinal issues, food allergies and intolerances, cancer or other chronic illnesses that modify their diet—a Registered Dietitian can provide the necessary guidance to help achieve their health goals.

Registered Dietitian in Victoria, BC

Compared to a nutritionist, a dietitian can provide more specialized services in terms of meal planning, individualized nutrition advice, and helping people understand their dietary restrictions. In Canada, Registered Dietitians are required to have an accredited degree in Food and Nutrition, complete a period of supervised practice, pass a national competency exam, and be registered with the provincial dietetic regulatory body.

Registered Dietitians are extremely knowledgeable professionals who specialize in helping people achieve optimal health through proper nutrition and balanced diets. Contrary to popular belief, these professionals do much more than just assist with weight loss—they also understand different dietary restrictions and special nutritional needs for athletes or those with chronic illnesses.

If you feel like your current dietary habits aren’t working for you, or if you’re looking for advice on how best to manage your specific health concerns through proper nutrition, consider consulting a Registered Dietitian.

Continuum Health Centre – Vancouver Island

Continuum Dietitians are on the cutting edge of nutrition care and provide individualized perspectives for clients. Our holistic model assists individuals, groups, and organizations in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, providing a transformative new approach to long-term client care.

Our Registered Dietitians in Victoria understand the complexities of each individual client and are an essential component of our Integrated Support Team (IST) to ensure that each health plan is tailored to meet their needs; providing a transformative approach that focuses on long-term lifestyle changes—not just short-term results.

Contact Continuum Health Centre to learn more about our integrated performance, health, and rehabilitation services in Victoria, BC. Give us a call at 1-778-433-7737, or click here to book an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians.