Total Therapy Blog
What Can a Registered Dietitian Do For Me?
First Things First….What is a Registered Dietitian?
In Canada, the title of “Dietitian” or “Registered Dietitian” (RD) is regulated and protected. This means that unless you have completed the requirements outlined by the profession’s provincial regulatory body (The College of Dietitians of BC for example), you cannot by law call yourself a dietitian.
Dietitians have a university degree in foods and nutrition from an accredited university program, and a one year internship that includes at least 1250 hours of supervised, hands-on training. They are provincially regulated professionals and are required to practice ethically and to complete annual professional development to be sure their skills are up to date.
How is That Different From a Nutritionist?
In most provinces, the title “nutritionist” is not protected, which means anyone can use it, even someone with no formal education.
The titles Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), or Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) are used by those who have completed a 1-2 year training program at a privately owned school. Although these titles indicate that the individual is formally educated, they do not indicate the person is a provincially regulated health professional like a Registered Dietitian.
Here’s the tricky thing – depending on where a Registered Dietitian works, he or she may have a different job title. Dietitians working in community settings often have a job title that uses “nutritionist”. To know if that person is a Registered Dietitian, look for the initials “RD” or “Registered Dietitian” after their name. Not sure? Ask about their education and if they are a provincially regulated health professional.
So What Can a Registered Dietitian Do For Me?
Registered Dietitians work with you to help you optimize your health and feel your best. Think of a Registered Dietitian as your personal nutrition coach. They translate scientific research about food and nutrition into practical solutions tailored specifically to you and your individual needs. They work with you to help build your nutrition knowledge, and provide the guidance and encouragement that will keep you inspired and moving forward in your efforts to live a healthy lifestyle.
Here are just a few things a Registered Dietitian can help you with:
- Give you tips and healthy recipes to help you plan, shop and cook for your family
- Teach you how to balance healthy eating with a busy lifestyle by mastering the art of the “quick and easy” meal and the dining out “do’s and don’ts”
- Teach you how to shop efficiently and read nutrition labels like a pro
- Help you explore the benefits of vegetarian eating and, more importantly, learn to do it the right way
- Teach you which foods may be triggering your digestive issues and whether supplements may be helpful for you
- Allow you to lose weight and keep it off by learning about proven approaches, along with nutrition “coaching” to help you troubleshoot challenges and stay motivated
- Teach you how to best control your appetite and food cravings
- Allow you to get the most out of your workouts and build more lean muscle by making smart choices about what, when and how much you eat
Did You Know?
Many Extended Health Plans provide coverage for Registered Dietitian services. Although a physician referral is generally not required, some plans may require one. Check with your Group Benefit provider to find out if you are covered and if you require a physician referral.
Even if you do not have extended health eligibility, your receipts may be put towards your yearly medical expenses tax credit. Official receipts will be provided.