Ask a Dietitian: What is the difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?


Dietitians and nutritionists have similar career paths which study diet, food, and nutrition. However, while they are similar, they are not quite the same or interchangeable. Generally speaking, the role of a dietitian is more regulated than that of a nutritionist and the difference lies in the type of education and professional training.

The biggest difference between dietitians and nutritionists lies in the legal restrictions that each title has. There are certain licensures and certifications a dietitian has to earn to be able to practice. Only nutritionists that become registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration ( CDR) may legally declare themselves as dietitians or more precisely, registered dietitian nutritionists, ( RDNs). The term “nutritionist” is not as regulated as a “dietitian” and tends to have more general meaning. In some cases, the title “nutritionist” can be used by anyone, even if they do not have to have any professional training.

Have a question about food or nutrition? Ask our CHEF experts for advice. Our team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, are available to provide their knowledge of common sense nutrition and practical cooking skills.

It is important to discuss these dietary suggestions and information with your own doctor to confirm that it will present no risk to you personally. Your doctor’s medical advice is particularly important if you’re currently taking medications for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or any other metabolic disorders.

The nutritional information on this site is intended to be educational information for the general public. It is not medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment with respect to any individual. As individual circumstances vary, you should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site