Monday, August 31, 2009

Nutritionist and Dietitian: What is the Difference?

If you are like most people you’ve noticed how sometimes nutrition advice comes from a nutritionist and sometimes it comes from a dietitian or a registered dietitian (RD). And if you are like most people you’ve wondered – What is the difference?

The difference is that the term dietitian, and more significantly the RD, has a clear definition that includes an education based on the science of food and how the body uses that food. The Commission on Accreditation of Dietetic Education clearly outlines the coursework required for someone to call themselves a dietitian. In addition, the Commission of Dietetic Registration outlines the experience needed to take the credentialing exam and the continuing education needed to maintain the RD credential.

On the flip side, the term nutritionist does not have a nationally defined definition so the background of a nutritionist in California could be very different from one in Florida. Some state licensure boards have regulated the use of the title but regulations vary from state to state. All Registered Dietitians are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are Registered Dietitians.

If you want to find a nutrition professional who will provide information based on the science of food and nutrition turn to the RD. When you contact the RD make sure you discuss your personal goals for healthier eating because just as physicians have areas of specialty so to do RD’s. You want to make sure you work with someone who can assess your needs and help you develop an eating plan that is enjoyable, maintainable and based on the science of food and nutrition. You can locate an RD in your area by visiting and clicking on “Find a Nutrition Professional”

Monday, August 3, 2009

Organic versus Conventional - Any Nutritional Difference?

The issue of organic foods versus conventional has been a hot topic of discussion for several years but a new study indicates when it comes to nutrition there is no difference.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reported on a systematic, scientific review of the literature on the issue of nutrition and photochemically content of organic and conventional foods. A systematic, scientific review of the literature is a methodical review of the literature looking for quality studies in an area and then reporting on the overall conclusions.

This study found that the nutritional content of organic and conventional foods was comparable. The report indicated that for 10 of the 13 nutrients analyzed, there were no significant differences between the organic and conventional. The study goes on to say that the differences that were detected were so small that they were likely due to soil, time of year or other continuous variable. The important message from this study is that you can meet your nutritional needs whether you choose convention or organic foods.

While the study was not designed to assess environmental impacts or pesticide usage the authors did state - "Certified organic regimens specify the production of foodstuffs with the strictly controlled use of chemicals and medicines. The potential for any benefits to public and environmental health of these actions would certainly warrant further systematic review..."

“Nutritional quality of organic foods: a systematic review." Dangour AD, Dodhia SK, Hayter A, Allen E, Lock K, Uauy R. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul 29.