While the terms dietitian, coach, weight loss influencer, and a nutritionist may sometimes be used interchangeably, these roles are not one and the same. Dietitians are trained to treat specific health conditions, such as diabetes or kidney failure, by providing food recommendations. Similarly, nutritionists tend to focus on a particular specialty, sports nutrition or digestive disorders. However, nutritionists are certified to offer more general health guidance on eating, weight loss, and reducing tiredness.
It’s essential to remember that nutritionists’ quality varies across the board. While some nutritionists have pursued advanced CNS (certified nutrition specialist) degrees, others have only completed the most basic level of coursework. You also need to be aware that registered dietitian nutritionists, or registered dietitians, are different from registered nutritionists.
To help you find the best nutritionist out there for you, we have compiled a simple checklist to guide you through your search for a nutritionist in New York City.
The Bottom Line:
- What Can a Nutritionist Help You Achieve? – a nutritionist will collaborate with you to design a personalized meal plan based on your health conditions, personal goals, and overall lifestyle.
- What are the Qualities to Look for in a Nutritionist? – choosing the right nutritionist for you is going to come down to their specialty, credentials, customer service, working style, and cost
- How Does a Nutritionist Work With You? – if you are vegan, lactose intolerant, or simply have foods that you don’t like, a nutritionist will want to collaborate with you to factor that information into your meal plan
What Can a Nutritionist Help You Achieve?
Whether dealing with a food allergy or simply trying to lose weight, a nutritionist can help solve your food and fluid woes. A nutritionist’s primary goal is to keep your digestive system running smoothly while also ensuring that you are consuming the proper nutrients you need to fuel your body. To help you meet your health goals, a nutritionist will collaborate with you and your medical provider if you have one to design a personalized meal plan based on your health conditions, personal goals, and overall lifestyle.
Regarding healthy eating, one size certainly does not fit all. Someone who is lactose intolerant will have very different nutritional needs compared to someone who has just been diagnosed with high cholesterol. While almost anyone can benefit from consulting with a nutritionist, some individuals will benefit from these services more than others.
What are the Qualities to Look for in a Nutritionist?
A nutritionist is more than a nutrition coach. When it comes to finding the best nutritionist for you, patience will be your best friend.
Rather than rushing into a decision, take the time to ask a nutritionist some follow-up questions to ensure they are a good fit.
Before you do anything else, sit down and contemplate your nutrition goals. Most nutritionists have a specific area of expertise or specialty on which they focus their services.
For instance, some specialties include sports nutrition, cardiovascular health, and pediatric nutrition. Thinking about nutrition goals ahead of time will help you talk through these objectives with potential nutritionists, which will ultimately help you get the most out of each session.
Credentials and Education
Always research a nutritionist’s educational background and credentials before committing to their services. A few telltale signs indicate a nutritionist is an expert in their field. Look for titles such as CDN, certified dietician nutritionist, CNS, certified nutrition specialist, and RDN, registered dietician nutritionist.
One of the biggest perks of working with a nutritionist is having an educational resource that is readily available. Whether you are struggling with renal failure or diabetes or looking to consult an expert about managing diabetes or a sports diet, a nutritionist will be able to answer any food or fluid questions you may have. For instance, if you are wondering whether or not you should eliminate a specific food from your diet, it’s handy to have a nutritionist who will get back to you promptly. Make sure to ask about a nutritionist’s customer service hours and how quickly they can typically get back to you about essential questions on any given day.
Every nutritionist is going to have their working style and philosophy. While some nutritionists may have a more rigorous and aggressive approach, others will have more laid-back and gradual methods. Before committing to a nutritionist, request to do a quick phone call beforehand. Ask about what a typical session might look like, and ensure that their working style aligns well with yours. This will guarantee your overall satisfaction down the line.
Before signing up for your first session, figure out how much a nutritionist will set you back financially. Ideally, your insurance will cover a nutritionist’s services. However, if that is not the case, you will want to ensure that the nutritionist you are working with is a financially sustainable option. Consider how much you can afford to spend on a nutritionist every month and how frequently you plan on meeting with a nutritionist. More importantly, remember that working with a nutritionist is an investment in your health.
How does a nutritionist work with you?
Working with a nutritionist is a very collaborative experience. While nutritionists can lend you their knowledge and expertise, they also want to hear from you, the client. For example, a nutritionist who specializes in helping patients lose weight will know how to build a comprehensive meal plan for a general patient.
However, every individual has food preferences and food aversions. If you are vegan, don’t like fried foods, or simply have foods you don’t like; a nutritionist will want to factor that information into their meal plan. This allows a nutritionist to build a meal plan for you that is not only healthy but also enjoyable.
Depending on your nutritionist’s level of education and certification, they may be able to use different strategies and approaches to working with you like medical nutrition therapy.
How does working with a nutritionist compare to alternatives?
If you aren’t sure whether working with a nutritionist is the right fit for you, there are also alternative experts that you consult. Here is how some common alternatives compare to nutritionists.
Like nutritionists, registered dietitians consult individuals about nutrition, food, and health and can help clients develop meal plans that cater to their lifestyle and goals. One of the main differences between the two roles is that a registered dietitian can diagnose and treat severe illnesses such as eating disorders, substance abuse, or medical conditions that can be improved with specific diets. If you or a family member suffers from a severe illness or eating disorder, then seeing a registered dietician may be the best path for you.
Weight Loss Coach or Influencer
A weight loss coach or influencer helps people who want to lose weight achieve their goals through healthy eating and regular exercise. A weight loss coach is typically someone who has also gone through the experience of shedding lots of weight and wants to lend their knowledge to other people in similar situations. Looking out for red flags when selecting a weight loss coach is essential. If the coach or influencer lacks credentials or is “board-certified” by an unfamiliar board or by the company they represent, it is most likely not worth paying for their services. If a weight-loss coach or influencer puts you on an extreme diet or doesn’t factor in your medical conditions, they will also not be a healthy fit. While working with a weight loss coach may seem appealing, a nutritionist will be more qualified to help you reach your goals.
Watch Out for These Red Flags When Considering a Nutritionist in New York City
When it comes to finding the right nutritionist for you, there are certain red flags that you can look out for that should steer you in another direction. If a nutritionist meets any of the descriptors below, they will not be the right fit for you.
Watch Out for Extreme Diets
Beware of nutritionists who put their clients on an extreme diet. When designing your meal plan, a nutritionist should not be cutting out entire food groups. For instance, if you eliminate carbs from your diet, you are missing out on nutrients such as fiber, which is essential in aiding digestion and helping your body feel full. A big part of maintaining a healthy diet is maintaining a balanced diet that includes all food groups.
Someone Who Discounts Your Medical Needs
If you are pregnant or suffering from a chronic illness, you want to have a nutritionist who heavily considers your medical needs. Individuals with underlying medical conditions should seek an expert or specialist. For example, if an individual with diabetes is trying to lose weight, they should seek a nutritionist who specializes in helping individuals with diabetes.
Encouraging Juice Cleanses
Oftentimes, “juice cleanses” are simply starvation diets that are disguised as trends or fads.
According to Megan Byrd, RD, only drinking juice for a few days will not cleanse your liver and body. Removing food from your diet, even if it’s just for a few days, will do more harm to your metabolism than good.
Over the Top Food Swaps
When meeting your health and nutrition goals, you should not need to go too far out of your way to gain access to foods in your meal plan. For instance, if a nutritionist asks you to purchase particular protein shakes or bars from a supplement company, that is a red flag. Whole foods should not need to be entirely replaced by processed powders and packaged snack bars. Making these extreme food swaps also comes with an expensive price tag.
Pay attention to credentials
If a nutritionist does not have any credentials, or they have received their credentials from the company they work for or a company that is not showing up online, this is a red flag. Remember, any registered dietitian nutritionist or a registered nutritionist who works in the state of new york is required to be registered with the state.
It would be best to look for specific credentials when selecting a nutritionist, including RD, RND, CNS, and CDN. Nutritionists also have to maintain continuing education credits throughout their career, so make sure their credentials are up to date.
Do background research on a nutritionist’s credentials before listening to their advice about your eating habits.
What is The Cost Breakdown of Working with a Nutritionist in New York City?
According to NYC Nutritionist, the approximate price of working with a top nutritionist in New York City will vary from nutritionist to nutritionist. While no one should have to put a price on health, consulting with a nutritionist in New York City can be expensive if the services are not covered by insurance.