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Big R(D)N-ergy

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

What does being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) mean to ME?!

Well, to start.......

  1. I am not the Food Police. I don't walk around with a clipboard and a food badge writing citations to people for eating chips, cookies, or ice cream. Though I have a serious and "intimidating" demeanor, I am pretty friendly. When it comes to food, I ultimately believe that a wide variety of food fits on the table of life but variations are needed for personalized goals.

  2. There are many health professions that end in "cian." For example Pediatricians, obstetricians, physicians, geriatricians, and more. MY PROFESSION IS NOT ONE OF THESE. As a matter of fact, it's spelled one way and one way only: Dietitian. Heavy on the the T. Others may not correct you, but I will.

  3. My full credential is titled Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Registered Dietitian (RD). This title is fully protected and backed by our credentialing agency, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The Difference Between a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)/ Registered Dietitian (RD) vs a (Certified) Nutritionist

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN or

Registered Dietitian (RD)

Certified Nutritionist or


CAN provide general nutrition counseling to healthy-population

CAN provide general nutrition counseling to healthy-population

CAN provide Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT). According to an article by the CDC, MNT is a nutrition-based treatment provided by a registered dietitian nutritionist.

CANNOT provide Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT).

BACKED by the law and protected by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (The Academy). In some states, MUST abide by state licensing laws & requirements.

NOT protected by any certification/credential laws

MUST go through an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) undegraduate degree program.

NO specific degree requirement

MUST obtain graduate degree to become an RDN/RD starting in year 2024

NO specific degree requirement

MUST complete an Internship of at least 1200 supervised practice hours completed in various nutrition sectors (clinical, food service, community, school nutrition, etc.)

NO internship of any supervised practice hours required

MUST pass CDR national credentialing exam after internship to officially earn the title RDN/RD.

NO national credentialing exam required

MUST complete 75 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain registration.

NO CEUs required

Able to work in VARIOUS settings like health care, business/industries, sports organizations, private practices/entrepreneurship, government agencies, education, research, & more.

Able to work in LIMITED settings like wellness practices, fitness industries/gyms, & entrepreneurship

The Academy says it like this: "Every Registered Dietitian Is a Nutritionist, but Not Every Nutritionist Is a Registered Dietitian."


  • I heard you loud and clear, GREG!

  • Say it louder for those in the back, man!


A lot of Dietitians feel that our profession should be the ONLY nutrition profession that exists in order to avoid confusion and misinformation spread about nutrition. Unfortunately, there are a lot of “fitness gurus” and self-proclaimed nutrition experts spreading BS nutrition content.

  • I personally feel that nutrition certifications allow for a wider reach of people receiving nutrition advice and allow people who work alongside nutrition (fitness professionals, etc.) to deepen their personal nutrition knowledge and answer basic nutrition questions clients may have. So I don’t have a problem with it…. BUT I DO BELIEVE that more men need to become Registered Dietitians.

  • If you want the most credible and evidence-based nutrition advice and ways to prevent/manage chronic disease through Food / Nutrition. Here’s a Question to ask your nutritionist: Are you Registered? Nothing against certified nutritionists at all. My Biggest thing is I just want you to know the difference, man.


Most Dietitians have specialties. These emphasize the categories of chronic disease and health management we choose to focus on. We're human, we can't do/know EVERYTHING. This is important because most people think that a dietitian's only job is to help people lose weight through diet. This is not true. In fact, some dietitians may do the opposite and help people with eating disorders and chronic diseases (like cancer) gain weight to promote health. Some may focus on losing weight. Others may focus on diabetes, women's/men's health, heart disease, kidney disease, and more. It all depends! The needs of people with chronic diseases are so vast that dietitians are needed to help bridge these gaps.

This is why I carry Big RDN-ergy. Not to brag or boast, but because I've worked tremendously hard to earn that title. Even with that said, IT ISN'T ABOUT ME. Our work is so meaningful and needed. As a black male RDN with Caribbean roots, I am needed to help bridge gaps between people & food. With chronic disease rates in men continuing to soar, I am dedicated to providing specialized nutrition services & counsel to make men healthier. When we as men take control of our health, we are able to give so much more in this life than we ever imagined. Drop a comment below & let me know how I can help you today! Simply put: THIS WORLD NEED US, MAN!

Gregory Lafortune, MS, RDN, LD


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