Nutrition vs Dietician – What’s the Difference?

The terms nutritionist and dietician are big in the healthy-eating world. They are usually paired together and can be heard being used interchangeably. Even though you are probably used to hearing both professions used side-by-side, they do have their major differences, and we are here to explore them in more detail. 

They target very different health needs

One of the main differences to remember is that dietitians work with both healthy and sick people while nutritionists are limited to only working with healthy individuals. Dietitians are professionally trained to encourage well-being and treat medical conditions with medical nutrition therapy. Their main clientele is individuals that have been diagnosed with chronic diseases to who they recommend dietary changes. Examples include designing a comprehensive meal plan for someone with high cholesterol, diabetes or obesity to help manage their condition more effectively. 

On the other hand, nutritionists are more focused on promoting healthy eating routines and a more balanced lifestyle. People with illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure will not go to a nutritionist for help or advice. Nutritionists only work with healthy individuals who are looking for ways to improve their nutrition intake and have a better lifestyle through their food choices. 

One is regulated, the other is not

Dietitians are heavily regulated in a number of areas in the world. This is because they need to meet specific professional requirements and register with a relevant body in order to practice as a dietician. In some cases, they may even need to pass an exam and hold a license. This is all down to the fact that dieticians are required to diagnose illnesses and diseases so their field is very medical in nature. 

Nutritionists are very often not regulated by law and anyone can call themselves one. This can make it difficult to really distinguish between nutritionists that have proper qualifications compared to those that are self-taught without genuine qualifications. 

They have very different workplaces 

As you may have guessed by now, dietitians work in much more medical settings compared to nutritionists. Dietitians can be mainly found in hospitals and health clinics where they work with patients to conduct nutritional assessments and prescribe dietary changes to help them in treating their specific diseases. Dietitians may sometimes even be found in pharmacies and other sectors of the healthcare industry. 

Nutritionists can be found in more commercial settings, such as wellness and fitness centres where they will be on hand to provide dietary consultations and create appropriate meal plans for clients. Nutritionists may also be found in health food restaurants and large-scale corporations that have in-house cafeterias with nutritionists developing healthy food menus

So, those are the four main key differences between a nutritionist and a dietician. Although both work in very similar industries, their skills and duties target very different functions. If you would like to get in touch with a well-qualified and trusted nutritionist today to take those all-important steps to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle, then get in touch for a free consultation today! 

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