Yes! Many people who call themselves “nutritionists” have not met the same rigorous standards as those who have completed a Registered Dietitian program.
Registered Dietitians (RD, RDN) are trained in the nutritional sciences (chemistry, biochemistry, biology, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, nutrition pathophysiology, medical nutrition therapy, and nutrition counseling.
The title “RD” is a credential protected legally and therefore can only be used by practitioners who have met the academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential “Registered Dietitian”. These requirements include receiving a bachelor’s degrees from an accredited United States university or college and course work approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetic Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association; completing a 6-12 month CADE-accredited supervised practice program at a healthcare facility, hospital, community agency or food service corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies; and passing a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Registered Dietitians must complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain their “Registered Dietitian” status.
The title “Registered Dietitian”, “Dietitian”, and “RD” are protected by law through provincial legislation, so that only qualified practitioners who have met education requirements can use these titles.
Registered Dietitians can call themselves “nutritionists” but nutritionists cannot call themselves “Registered Dietitians”. The term “nutritionist” is unregulated, so essentially anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.