As a ACE Certified Nutrition Coach and Certified Personal Trainer, one of the questions I get quite often is what kind of diet they should follow to get to their desired goals, whether it be fat loss, muscle gain, dealing with a chronic disease, or a general improvement in their health. This is a sensitive area and one where we need to tread carefully because nutrition requirement can be very individualized and something that only a registered dietitian is equipped to tackle.
Additionally, we must abide by state laws regulating the practice of dietitics, where each state has their own minimum requirement for nutritionists and dietitians in the following three manners:
Licensure (In 35 states you must have requisite training and possess a license)
Certification (In 11 states you have specific requirements to be certified, although non-certified individuals can still practice)
Registration (Only California limits who can call themselves a dietitian or registered dietitian but does not limit who can practice the profession).
No Requirement: Three states - Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey - do not have any laws regarding practice in the field of nutrition.
Needless to say, the laws are quite confusing and its best to define clear limits regardless of the state to ensure that I am not giving an advice that runs afoul of state laws and that could also be potentially harmful to the person receiving the advice.
As a certified nutrition coach I am best equipped to educate people on general health guidelines, point people to the right resources, explain the importance of different macro and micro nutrients, and yes also point people to local registered dietitians when needed.
I will try to list all the do's and don'ts here so that my readers and clients are fully educated on on what kind of help and guidance they can expect from me and when they should seek out a medical professional for further recommendations.
Principles of healthy nutrition and food preparation
Foods to be included in balanced daily diet
Essential nutrients needed by the body
Action of nutrients on the body
Effects of deficiencies or excesses of nutrients
Nutrient requirement changes with lifecycle
Nutrients contained in food and supplements
Meal planning available through government recommendations
Meal planning developed by a registered dietitian or physician
Outside the scope:
Individualized nutrition recommendations or meal planning
Nutritional assessment to determine nutritional needs or status to recommend nutritional intake
Specific nutritional intake, calorie intake, or specialty diets
Medical nutrition therapy or Nutritional counseling, education, advice to prevent, treat, cure a disease or condition
Development, administration, evaluation, and consultation regarding nutritional care standards or process
Recommending, prescribing, selling or supplying nutritional supplements to clients