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Dietitians and Nutritionists

What is the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist?

In the province of Ontario, registered dietitians are regulated health care professionals. That means that dietitians have successfully completed a four year university degree in an accredited foods and nutrition program, a one year internship, and a national registration exam. Dietitians must also report to a regulated professional body. In Ontario, that is the College of Dietitians of Ontario.

Nutritionist or registered nutritionist is not a regulated title or health profession in Ontario, meaning that anyone can use the title. Some dietitians may call themselves a nutritionist, but not all nutritionists are dietitians. Nutritionists may be an unreliable source of nutrition information. If your healthcare provider describes them self as a nutritionist, ask for their credentials.

Why would I need to see a dietitian?

  • Prevention or management of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, osteoporosis and kidney disease
  • What to eat when you are pregnant or planning to have a baby
  • Menu planning for busy families, physically active lifestyles, vegetarian diets and budget conscious individuals
  • Feeding your baby or toddler
  • Sports nutrition
  • Food allergies
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • How to interpret a new research study or media article
  • And more!

How do I get help from a registered dietitian?

Ask your healthcare provider to refer you to a registered dietitian in your area (OHIP covered) or check out Dietitians of Canada’s Find a Dietitian for pay-for-service options (although often covered through third party insurance providers).

You can also contact Eat Right Ontario for telephone access to a FREE registered dietitian at 1-877-510-5102.

You can speak to a Public Health Dietitian at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit by calling 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623.

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