I am going to try and keep this short and sweet as I could talk about this topic for hours!
As you may have seen on this website, my social media pages, email signature and in media articles I always state ‘Registered Nutritionist’ but what does this mean and why am I so proud to able to use this title?
To put it very simply a Registered Nutritionist must have:
- A University degree in nutrition accredited by the Association for Nutrition (AfN)
- At least three years’ experience post degree as an Associate Nutritionist
- Full commitment to the strict standards of ethics, conduct and performance with the AfN
- Actively seek and complete Continuous Professional Development
However, did you know there are only around 2000 Registered Nutritionist in the UK?! This figure may seem quite low since there are a lot of people claiming to be a nutritionist, especially on social media.
Why is it important to use a ‘Registered’ Nutritionist?
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing wellness and health bloggers out there with inspiring, creative recipes who stick purely to what they know and team up with subject matter experts when necessary. Nevertheless, others are using their blogs/social media profiles to give nutrition advice when they are not qualified to do so. One of many examples but this is one I see all the time is insta famous, self-styled health gurus encouraging us to cut core food groups out of our diets whether it be because it helped them overcome a personal issue, they are promoting a new book or they are selling an alternative product. However, it is so important to remember we are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another. Completely cutting a food group out of your diet without professional advice may do you more harm than good!
Something I personally find alarming and want to highlight is that a study by Sainsburys in January 2017 showed that 44% of young people think cutting out a food group can create a healthy lifestyle, with this increasing to 50% with social media users. You may not think this is an issue but with orthorexia and body dysmorphia increasing it is so important to be seeking professional, evidence based advice when it comes to changing dietary habits (click here to find out more about Orthorexia and Instagram) This is where using a Registered Nutritionists becomes vital so we can put right these nutrition myths or #nutribollocks!
Check out the Fight the Fads article where fellow Registered Nutritionists and I spoke out about why it is important to use qualified nutritionist in response to an article in the daily mail ‘How to become a clean eating guru in one month’.
How to ensure you are getting advice from a nutrition professional:
Credit to @LBNutr for the infographic
Firstly, Fight the Fads have recently started a petition to protect the Nutritionist title, there is a month left and we are only 700 signatures away from reaching 10k so please take a minute to sign. The Association for Nutrition have been working on protecting the title for several years and are in full support of this petition along with the Nutrition Society and the British Dietetic Association (BDA).
Secondly, you can search the Association for Nutrition register and look out for RNutr or ANutr on professional profiles – these titles are governed by the AfN. There are also Registered Dietitians (protected statue with BDA) who are trained to give evidence based, expert advice as well as Nutritional Therapist (another unprotected title, please check cnhc.ork.uk or grcct.org registers)
Finally, always ask for evidence (when I say evidence, I mean long term studies, systematic reviews and human studies) do not be afraid to question someone, if the Nutritionist is confident with their research and can back it up they will be glad you asked! Registered Nutritionists should work within their scope of practice and are usually happy to refer you to someone else if they do not feel competent in a particular area (as any RN will admit nutrition is a very complex subject, we are not all experts in everything!)
Here is a great infographic from The Rooted Project to conclude:
As I said at the beginning I have aimed for a ‘in a nutshell’ approach with this post so I am more than happy to answer any questions, offer support in finding or becoming a RN or go into more detail so please get in touch.
Assocation for Nutrition Website: http://www.associationfornutrition.org
Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well Report: https://www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/media/5407011/sainsbury_s_eat_well_move_well_live_well_report.pdf
Orthorexia and Instagram Study: http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1007/s40519-017-0364-2?author_access_token=eHgRLYzk01Wp5YtGIMxoHPe4RwlQNchNByi7wbcMAY5vZYo1uanXtpR54fhDHdjLrs49Z98kNBkUBZ709Z3A5IQp3IZyoPnRmgX1ZmHAizlw_M4nuWdfdvXWU2R6dAIVcSKJ6CugTJCgQQcmWHL9Hg%3D%3D
Fight the Fads Petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171211