Lori Sullivan Nutrition

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Why you should choose a Registered Dietitian

What is an RD/RDN?

A Registered Dietitian (RD) or a Registered DietitianNutritionist (RDN) is a certified expert in food and nutrition. RDs need to meet certain academic and professional requirements.


Qualifications to become an RD/RDN:

  • Bachelors Degree including coursework approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)
  • Complete an accredited, supervised dietetic practice program of at least 900 hours
  • ​Pass a comprehensive, national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
  • Continued professional education and professional group membership


Many RD/RDNs also hold advanced degrees and specialize in particular areas. You should select an RD/RDN whose specialties and services match your nutritional needs. 

Why choose an RD over a Nutritionist?

While both are health professionals, Dietitians have advanced degrees in science and nutrition and maintain their credentials through continuing education. Dieticians are uniquely experts in prescribing therapeutic nutrition and help diagnose and treat many diseases. They are able to work in both hospital and general public settings. “Dietitian” is an accredited and legally protected job title in many countries, including the United States. 

​Only registered Dietitians can call themselves such or list “RD” or “RDN” after their names. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), formerly known as the American Dietetic Association, must grant all RD/RDN credentials.

A Nutritionist can be a person who has either completed courses in nutrition or selected the title for themselves. Many have also completed degrees in food science or nutrition. Nutritionists are not qualified to diagnose or treat dietary diseases.

​Before selecting any healthcare professional, be sure you feel confident in her qualifications and comfortable with her treatment philosophy.