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March 27th, 2014 |

Who are you getting your nutrition information from?

Load Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any web site. Search for the nutrition topic of your choice. What will you find? Pages upon pages of information, meaning your simple nutrition question just became a million times more confusing.

So, how do you know what information to trust? One way is to look at the credentials of the writer.

Here is what some of the credentials of nutrition writers mean:

Registered Dietitian (also referred to as RD)

  • Registered Dietitians go through extensive schooling in nutrition and dietetics. They complete an internship (in the hospital, outpatient, and community setting) focusing on ways to counsel a wide variety of people on their diets.
  • Registered Dietitians must continue their education yearly. That helps them stay up-to-date on the current nutrition information and research.

Nutritionist

  • No education or training is required to list this credential. Some nutritionists receive extensive schooling in nutrition. Other nutritionists are simply passionate about healthy eating. Check out a nutritionist’s resume and training to determine if she or he has received an education in nutrition.

Health Coach

  • Health coaches train to council clients on healthy behaviors. They take broad courses on nutrition, fitness, and health.

Yoga Instructor

  • Yoga instructors get credentialed to teach yoga. The technique focuses on the mind, body, and spirit. This training does not include nutrition education.

Fitness Enthusiast

  • You see them at the gym or posting about it every day. They clearly enjoy staying active. But they have zero nutrition education.

Barista

  • Baristas remember your “nonfat latte with sugar free vanilla syrup” order each morning. They make all milk and milk alternatives (nonfat, 1%, 2%, whole, or soy) available for you. As part of their job, they do not need to know anything about nutrition.

If you are seeking nutrition advice online, search for the credentials of your source. Be wary of information posted by those without an education in nutrition.

By Stephanie Snell, Guest Blogger, Master’s Candidate at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy