I want to make it very clear that "nutritionists" are not medical professionals.
Anyone could legally claim they're a "nutritionist" because that term is not regulated or monitored by the state or federal government. Morgan Freeman could claim he's a nutritionist. A homeless person could claim they're a nutritionist. "Nutritionists" aren't a real thing. Why would you trust someone with your diet which insanely impacts your overall health if they don't have the education behind it? That's like going to a surgeon who's never went to medical school. I know that sounds absurd and obviously no one in their right mind would do that, but for people studying nutrition and dietetics or professional Registered Dietitians, that's what it feels like.
I know a lot of people out there don't know what a registered dietitian is. I get that. There's a lot of misinformation out there about diet and overall nutrition. I mean, think about how many Weight Watchers commercials there are on TV. (Cue Oprah's "I love bread!") A registered dietitian for those of you who don't know, is a medical food science professional who is regulated and held to state and federal regulations. To become a registered dietitian, a person needs to get a college degree in nutrition and dietetics as well as complete a nine to twelve month full-time internship and pass the state board exam. After a person passes the state board exam (comparable to the Bar exam) then they can legally claim they are a registered dietitian and have the credentials "R.D." after their name. R.D.s also have to complete approved courses for continuing education as new research in health and wellness is constantly updating.
Here's the thing- why would you trust someone with your health and your body if they have no education behind it? Anyone could post nutrition information online and claim to be a nutritionist and people would believe them because the general public doesn't know the difference between a nutritionist and a registered dietitian. By legally letting individuals claim they are "nutritionists," we are confusing the general population and giving them a false sense of hope and trust in this individual who has the power to actually endanger your health and well being. No one can legally claim to be a surgeon if they don't have the credentials and the education but "nutritionists" can? That's just insulting to professionals in the nutrition field.
"Nutritionists" are not medical professionals and the term should be illegal without the proper education as they are giving medical advice that impacts a client's whole life.