What does a registered dietitian (RD) do?

A registered dietitian (RD) is a graduate of an accredited undergraduate dietetics program, has completed an industry-related internship, and has successfully passed the national registration exam. A registered dietitian also maintains his or her credentials with continuing education. Registered dietitians are specially trained in a variety of topics pertaining nutrition including, menu planning, eating habits, and disorders. This type of a professional can help identify your specific needs and seek solutions that will help motivate you.
 Julie Wallace
Nutrition & Dietetics
Registered Dietitians work in a variety of settings. For example, in a clinical setting, an RD may calculate estimated energy and protein needs and BMI based on height and weight as well as gender, age, and medical history, check for high-risk factors (involuntary weight loss, inability or difficulty with chewing or swallowing, a pregnant woman who is having multiple babies, failure to thrive, abnormal nutrition-related lab values, etc) and plan interventions accordingly. These can include recommending nutritional supplements/vitamins/minerals, recommending and calculating nutrition support formulas, or providing nutritional counseling to patients with certain conditions such as renal failure, diabetes, celiac disease, and so on. However, depending on their work environment and skill sets, an RD can have many different tasks.
Lyn Turton
Nutrition & Dietetics

Registered Dietitians work in a variety of settings including hospitals, doctor's offices, food industry, private practice and fitness centers. Dietitians provide nutrition information and support to people who:

  • would like to eat a healthier diet to prevent disease
  • require a modified diet due to a medical condition such as diabetes or celiac
  • are unable to tolerate oral diet & rely on tube feeding
Nadine Pazder
Nutrition & Dietetics
RDs provide vital food and nutrition services, while promoting health and well-being to the public. They work throughout the community in hospitals, private practice, physician offices, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, worksite wellness programs, schools and other locations. They are the go-to professional for nutrition education and medical nutrition therapy for disease management.
Your healthcare providers may refer you to a registered dietitian (RD) to help you make changes to your diet.
An RD can teach you about nutrition, help you choose foods and plan menus, monitor your progress, and encourage you to stick with your eating plan.

Continue Learning about Nutrition

Is Junk Food Causing Food Allergies in Kids?
Is Junk Food Causing Food Allergies in Kids?
One of America’s first junk foods was a confection of popcorn and peanuts smothered in molasses called Cracker Jacks. The company marketed their produ...
Read More
Which foods are the top dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin?
Lona SandonLona Sandon
Lutein is part of the carotenoid family, a cousin of vitamin A, and gives a yellow or orange color t...
More Answers
Why is it important to eat foods that are good for the brain?
Int'l Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)Int'l Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)
We pay a lot of attention to diet and training programs, but they sometimes fail because our brains ...
More Answers
Which Fruits Can Help Lower Cholesterol Levels?
Which Fruits Can Help Lower Cholesterol Levels?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.