What is the difference between a Nutritionist and a Dietitian?

What we eat has a huge impact on our overall health. The trouble is, it’s not always easy to know what foods are good for us, especially if you have any preexisting health conditions. After all, food is a science and it’s so easy to eat the wrong foods, even when we think we are being healthy! That’s why it’s always worth seeking professional advice in the form of a nutritionist or a dietitian. 

If you are wondering what is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian, here is everything you need to know. 

Nutritionists

A nutritionist is someone who is qualified to give advice about your dietary choices. They look at the science of food to help promote health and prevent disease. However, a nutritionist can’t give you a diet plan in relation to any specific medical conditions. Instead, they give you an overall diet plan or suggestions in accordance with your lifestyle. 

Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist meaning you should take care to select the right professional. Though, it is possible to find individuals who are AfN registered, who use the title of ‘Registered Nutritionist’. Often, nutritionists will work alongside other healthcare professionals within a clinical setting. Though it’s also possible to hire a freelance nutritionist too. 

Dietitians

The role of a dietitian is to provide nutritional guidance in relation to any health conditions you are experiencing. For example, eating disorders, malnutrition, diabetes and similar diet related disorders of the body. Dietitians can also work with healthy individuals to enhance their diet to help prevent disease in the future too. 

Unlike nutritionists, dietitians are governed and regulated by law. While this differs around the world, in the UK dietitians must be registered with the HCPC. Also, only qualified professionals can call themselves a dietitian. The practice as a whole looks at biochemistry, physiology and research methods that relate to the science of nutrition. 

Which one is right for me?

If you are looking to improve your health, it could be argued that either a nutritionist or a dietitian is worth consulting. However, it’s good to remember that only a dietitian can give specific medical related advice. If you are trying to manage a particular condition, then a dietitian is the best person to consult and receive a tailored plan from. 

For general nutritional help and guidance, a nutritionist can be of assistance. Many nutritionists have their own books or diet plans in relation to certain food trends which can be interesting to explore. So, they are ideal to consult when you don’t have a particular health worry but are simply looking to learn more about food and how to improve your diet. 

To sum up 

If you are looking to improve your health then it makes sense to address your eating habits. Both nutritions and dietitians can offer valuable advice, but only a dietitian can give specific medical related advice. Both are also great to plug any knowledge gaps you have about food in terms of the nutritional value and portion sizes. 

It couldn’t be easier to find a nutritionist or dietitian with Bark. Whether you just want to learn more about your eating habits or if you’re ready to make a serious change to enhance your health, we’ll connect you with the best local professionals to help you on your journey.

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