Nutritionists versus dietitians

How are they different, which one do you need?

ANALYSIS | AGENCIES | A healthy diet can help you lower your risk of chronic disease. In fact, it can improve many areas of your health, including your mood, energy, and weight.

And while healthy eating may seem straightforward, it can be difficult to know which foods are right for you based on your medical history. That’s where getting personalised nutrition advice from providers like nutritionists or dietitians can help.

Let’s take a closer look at what exactly these professionals do, and how they can help you reach your goals. We’ll help you understand the difference between nutritionists and dietitians and how to know which type of expert you may need.

What do nutrition professionals do?

While there are different types of providers in the nutrition field, they all work toward helping people improve their health through diet. They may guide people in choosing and preparing healthy foods, help them build habits that promote better health, and more.

A nutritionist is anyone who is an expert on the subject of nutrition, or how people nourish themselves. They may provide educational programs or counseling in nutrition or meal planning services.

A dietitian is a type of nutritionist that has specialised training in food and nutrition. The field of dietetics is highly regulated, meaning there are strict guidelines that professionals have to meet. That’s why these professionals are referred to as “registered dietitians,” or RDs for short. A dietitian may also go by “registered dietitian nutritionist” or RDN.

In short, nutritionist refers to a broader category of professionals that help people eat healthy, whereas dietitians are nutritionists with specialised training. All dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.

Nutritionists may or may not be certified or licensed. So technically, anyone with a background in nutrition can call themselves a nutritionist. Because there is no universal requirement for nutritionists to be licensed or certified, they typically cannot legally diagnose or treat health conditions.

Dietitian training

Training to become a dietitian is usually a longer and more intensive process than that of a nutritionist. But again, if nutritionists are licensed or certified, their educational paths may be quite similar to dietitians.

Aside from helping people prevent disease through diet, RDs can also provide medical nutrition therapy (MNT), which other nutrition professionals cannot do. This type of treatment is individualised and may involve: Planning meals, prescribing supplements, providing specialised feeding (IV or tube feeding). In addition to nutrition, RDs often talk to people about lifestyle changes to prevent or treat disease.

Do you need a nutritionist or dietitian?

The short answer is, it depends. Here are some questions to help you choose:

What are your health goals? For goals like raising energy levels, sleeping better, or gaining or losing some weight in a safe way, you can consider working with a nutritionist. If you need specialised guidance around a health condition, working with a dietitian may be a better option.

What is your current health and medical history? If you’re generally healthy, you may work with a nutritionist. If you have several health issues, are taking multiple medications, or have a larger body or obesity, you may be better off working with a dietitian.

What other professions are there in the nutrition field?

While dietitians and nutritionists are among the most common nutrition professionals, there are many other types of providers in the nutrition field. Some examples include: Holistic nutritionist, Health coach, Corporate wellness consultant, and Functional nutritionist.


Source: Internet

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