nutrition label from wikicommons

Why anyone could call themself a nutritionist

Have you ever met someone who says they’re a nutritionist? If you have, did you ask if they went to school for it or if they are licensed? Does it even matter?

nutrition food labelHere’s the truth: Unlike some professions, there is no regulating body for those calling themselves “nutritionists.” The truth is, in some states, ANYONE can claim they’re a nutritionist. Do they know about food? They could be a nutritionist! Didn’t have any formal schooling? None needed!

Skeptical? You should be.

In some states, there are laws regulating who can call themselves a licensed nutritionist, dietician or dietetic tech. In general, these laws revolve around how much schooling a person has had and what services they can offer.

Unfortunately that doesn’t stop many personal trainers and group instructors to venture out of the scope of practice to give nutrition consults. The problem is that because they know a little bit about food, they think they can offer their clients nutrition advice.

Nutritionist vs. Trainer

Here’s the truth, though. Unless your trainer has gone to school and has a degree in nutrition, it is against the law for them to do any of the following:

  • Evaluate your nutritional needs. This means they can’t ask you what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner to see if you’re eating enough calories. They can not tell you how many calories you should be consuming each day. Or that you are or are not eating enough protein, fat or carbs based on your food diary. In fact, they should not be looking at your dietary intake at all.
  • Set goals, priorities or objectives to reach your nutritional needs. Only a nutrition professional is qualified to help you set nutrition goals.
  • Provide nutrition counseling. They can not advise you on what to eat and what not to eat. Nor can they assist you in adjusting your nutritional intake. Trainers can set goals for your fitness needs; not your nutritional ones.
  • Develop, implement or manage your nutrition care. They can not write meal plans. Or tell you what you’re allowed to eat. Nor can they use your medical diagnosis to recommend diet changes.

So what can they do? They can give you general nutrition information, or they can point you in the direction of government recommendations (like MyPlate). They can also give you a resource list of non-profit and research organizations that deal with nutrition (such as information coming from universities). And that’s about it.

Fitness trainers are qualified to give you personalized recommendations on physical activity. Nutrition professionals are qualified in providing individualized nutrition programs. Unless a person has certifications in both fields, neither should be offering tailored information about the other.

The Body and Mind by Muna Approach

Body and Mind by Muna is qualified to offer nutrition and fitness in one place. That means there is a certified trainer and a registered dietetic professional to help you along your journey. Score!

Do you want more information about our individual and group nutrition offerings? Contact us below!

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  1. Pingback: How many calories do I need each day? | Body and Mind By Muna

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