Eating food is a requisite to life. Humans have been doing so since the beginning of time. For most of that time it was simple, we got our food from the land: from plants and from animals. There was little need to question the foods that were eaten. That is no longer the truth. Food science, processing, biotechnology, and our global food system have complicated the picture. Today we live in a very obesity-inducing world, where processed, calorie-rich, tasty food is highly marketed and easily available and where physical activity is not required in most of our daily routines. Obesity and nutrition related diseases are at an all time high. Ironically, alongside this weight and disease epidemic, interest in health and wellness through nutrition has also skyrocketed. In our fast paced, technologically advanced world, it’s easy to find nutrition related information and the number of individuals both seeking as well as providing nutrition advice is ever increasing. A web search of any nutrition related topic is sure to provide various, contradictory answers to the same question. The challenging aspect is wading through this plethora of information and finding the truth. Food and eating should be simple, yes, but nutrition is a science rooted in anatomy, biology, chemistry, and metabolism. And in order to deliver sound nutrition and diet related advice it is important that we understand that very complicated science.
When seeking nutrition education, be sure you’re receiving it from someone with a well-versed knowledge of and experiential background in nutrition science. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a food and nutrition expert who has completed specific requirements to become and remain credentialed as such. A RDN must 1) have earned at least a bachelor’s degree entailing specific coursework in sociology, nutritional sciences/metabolism, bio and organic chemistries, physiology, and microbiology (among others) 2) have completed an intensive accredited supervised practice internship, 3) have passed a comprehensive national credentialing exam, and 4) maintain their credential through yearly relevant continuing education. The terms Registered Dietitian (RD) and RDN may be used interchangeably. Remember, all dietitians are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are dietitians. The RDN credential is in comparison to the numerous other nutrition certification types that are available; many of these certifications provide online or book based self-study courses which are followed by a singular multiple choice exam. This is an important distinction to make because it is crucial that nutrition be presented by an individual with a comprehensive understanding of the nutrition related sciences. The vigorous standard requirments for RDN credentialing should encourage consumers that individuals with this credential are the experts in food and nutrition. Afterall, nutrition is a science, not an opinion. Allow the RDN of Nutrition and Wellness Elevated to disect the science of nutrition topics into an easily understood language that can that be applied to your daily routines. Let’s make eating simple again.