RD or MD – Who Should I See?


What is a registered dietitian?

Recently, I’ve noticed that many of my patients wait a long time to make an appointment with me, an RD (Registered Dietitian). After doing their nutritional assessments, quite often I find out that a patient has gone to their doctor for years regarding a health issue when they seemingly could have benefited from seeing an RD. Also, I find people are confused and befuddled as to what an RD does. For one to become a registered dietitian, there are certain criteria that must be met. Individuals must earn a bachelor’s degree, complete close to 1,000 hours of internship experience, and have to pass an intense national registration exam. Many states also require dietitians to have a license. They must also maintain their registration status by meeting continuing education requirements with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics by obtaining several credits every 5 years.  

Why should you seek the services of a registered dietitian?

If you are interested in learning to eat to promote good health and disease prevention, meet with a dietitian. Did you know that 80% of disease can be prevented through lifestyle changes?  A dietitian will spend a good deal of time on your medical/family history, blood work, weight history, etc. to help you determine goals to make changes in your health. This preventative approach can be the first step in fighting off conditions. These conditions could include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more.

First and foremost, RD’s are experts on diets and disease. Many medical conditions require individuals to follow specific guidelines with regard to nutrient and/or mineral intake. A doctor can prescribe a specific diet, such as for a diabetic who needs to monitor their carbohydrate intake. A dietitian is the one who can provide the education on this diet. Along with that, RDs take into account someone’s lifestyle, economic status, assess their motivation, etc. An RD is the expert on food and nutrition. This expertise shows as they keep up with the latest products, nutrition trends, and the latest evidenced-based nutritional information on the market today. They use this information as well as prior experience to make recommendations to their patients. On the other hand, physicians just do not have this knowledge base.

How can Anderson’s Nutrition help?

At Anderson’s Nutrition, we provide individualized nutrition counseling and education. We do this while equipping patients with knowledge, coaching, tools, and behavior modification techniques to guide them on their journey to improved health. We offer 4, 8, or 12 week packages providing a behavioral journal to help keep you accountable with your short and long term goals. Many people are unaware that most insurance companies cover nutrition services as well! Click here if you’d like to get your insurance benefits checked.

What is the takeaway?

The takeaway here is to schedule an appointment with a nutrition expert when struggling with any health condition/disease prevention needs that are potentially affected by nutritional habits. Basically, that is just about any health condition! Contact an RD today and schedule a virtual or in-person appointment at one of our offices today. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Written by Jamie MacGibbon RDN, LDN, our dietitian in both locations in Pennsylvania. Jamie has a passion to counsel and educate patients of all ages.


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