Dietitian or nutritionist: What’s the difference?

Accreditation, education, experience and accountability:

  • Registered Dietitians use their knowledge and skills in food and nutrition to promote good health
  • They are health care professionals who have earned a Bachelor’s degree at an accredited university specializing in food and nutrition and have completed supervised practical training through a university program or an approved hospital
  • Dietitians must be registered with Provincial Regulatory Bodies and are the only professionals who can use the titles “Registered Dietitian”, “Professional Dietitian” and “Dietitian”, which are protected by law. Look for the letters R.D., P.Dt. or D.Pt. after the name, indicating that the person is a registered member of the profession
  • Dietitians are accountable to provincial regulatory bodies for their professional conduct and the care they provide. For more information, contact the regulatory body in your province
  • Dietitians are committed to public protection. In most provinces there are not regulatory standards to protect the title “Nutritionist.” In provinces where “Nutritionist” is a protected title it usually is “Dietitian-Nutritionist” that is protected by law

Source: Dietitians Of Canada

What’s the difference between a Registered Dietitian and other nutrition or weight-loss programs?

A Dietitian is the only nutrition or weight-loss specialist registered with the provincial government to provide safe and effective nutrition counselling services. A dietitian’s knowledge is based on a university education, current evidence-based research and clinical experience. Click Here to learn more about why Dietitians are The smart choice for advice on healthy eating.

Source: Dietitians Of Canada

What allows someone to qualify as a Registered Dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian is certified by the provincial regulatory body (e.g. The College of Dietitians of Ontario). To obtain this certification requires a 4 year university degree in Food, Nutrition and Health with a major in Dietetics, including a 1 year internship with a provincial health authority that involves hands-on experience in hospital, community and foodservice settings. Finally, one must successfully complete the nationwide Dietetics Examination (CDRE ~ Canadian Dietetic Registration Exam).

Why should I seek advice from a dietitian?

A dietitian can individualize your nutrition counseling experience, taking into account your medical and family history, your lifestyle and preferences and help you achieve realistic goals to improve your health.

Does OHIP cover the costs of dietitian services?

Not yet, however dietitians are lobbying to have this service covered with referral from a family doctor. But don’t worry, many group benefits extended health care plans cover the fees of a registered dietitian/nutritionist, without a referral.

Do 3rd party Insurance or Group Benefits extended health care/medical plans cover the costs of dietitian services?

  • Yes!, Many group benefit plans and insurance providers cover a portion or all of the services provided by a Registered Dietitian (RD). Please confirm with your plan provider your maximum yearly and visit allowance. MyDiet Clinic will provide every client with an insurance receipt which may be used to submit a claim to your provider, if eligible.
  • The following insurance companies/programs are known to offer coverage of up to $500 for Registered Dietitian services:
    – Blue Cross
    – Chambers of Commerce Group
    – Clarica
    – Great West Life
    – Liberty Health
    – ManuLife Financial
    – Sun Life
    – Warren Shepell Employee Assistance Program

What if I don’t have the time or the ability to see your dietitian in person?

  • If you are either too busy, too far, or just not comfortable meeting with our dietitian in person, that is Not a problem! We offer virtual services, when possible (Please Inquire).
  • If you would like to do the Nutrigenomix Test remotely, we can send you a saliva collection kit (Free Shipping) and once we have the results, we will provide a virtual consultation by phone, Skype or FaceTime. All documents, including your Personalized Nutrition Report, receipts, invoices, claim forms and nutrition information and a resources package can be sent electronically or mailed to you at No cost!

What is Body Mass Index or BMI

Body mass index (BMI) is a quick screening tool for assessing health risk based on your height and weight. Your goal is to be in the normal weight range with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9. Maintaining a healthy weight may reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases that are related to being overweight.

Source: Dietitians Of Canada

What’s the difference between a serving size and a portion size?

A serving size is a reference amount of food as defined by Health Canada. The Food Guide lists amounts of foods that are equal to one serving.

Food manufacturers also decide what makes up one serving for their products, and it’s not always the same as the Food Guide. You will see this amount listed on the Nutrition Facts Table on the package label.

A portion size is the amount of food that you actually put on your plate, that you plan to eat in one sitting.   Depending on the food, your portion size may be one or more servings according to the Food Guide. For instance, if you eat a whole apple as one portion, that equals one serving of vegetables and fruit. However, if you eat a sandwich with two pieces of bread (one portion), you’re eating two servings of grain products since each slice of bread is one serving according to the Food Guide.

How well do you know the difference between a serving size and a portion size? Take this quiz to find out.

Source:  Eat Right Ontario