The Role of the RD: Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorders are psychological issues, so you may be wondering why having a dietitian as part of a treatment team is even necessary. In fact, if food is an issue for you, the idea may seem downright frightening! Here are a few ways a dietitian can be immensely helpful in treating eating disorders:

• Reduce food and body fears by reframing distorted beliefs that the eating disorder has created. This includes a better understanding of physiology, digestion, and metabolism.
• Teach and model what and how much nutrition is appropriate
• Provide a safe place for talk about food and body fears
• Create opportunities to practice eating foods that feel scary
• Teach the difference between emotional and physical hunger
• Establish and teach “normal” eating- eating that is based on physical cuing and free from guilt, anxiety, shame, and compensatory or obsessive responses

Below are two excellent links to articles on this very topic:
1. Eating Disorders: Nutrition Education And Therapy
2. Nutrition Intervention in the Treatment of Eating Disorders


Whether you are new to the field or looking to deepen your counseling skills, my new online eating disorder training for dietitians will improve your clinical practice. Learn more about the course here.


Marci RD provides a few ways a dietitian can be helpful in treating eating disorders. Dietitians play a critical role in eating disorder treatment.