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Nutritionist vs Dietitian - which one is right for me?

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Alex, Staff Writer

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

When you’re looking for someone to advise you on your diet, you may be confused by the different titles used by professionals. Many people claim to be experts in nutrition and diet, but how do you know that they are suitably qualified to help you?

Read on to discover the differences between dietitians and nutritionists so that you can decide which is right for you.

What is a Dietitian?

A dietitian is a highly qualified professional who applies their scientific knowledge about food and nutrition to advise clients who are seeking advice about their diet or health conditions.

The title of ‘dietitian’ is protected by law so that only those registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) can use the term. To qualify for this status, a practitioner must be qualified to degree level in dietetics.

As dietitians are regulated healthcare professionals, they are qualified to treat certain medical conditions. For this reason, most dietitians work within the NHS, although many also work privately. Dietitians typically advise people who have special dietary needs, for example, those with diabetes, IBS, kidney failure or allergies.

What is a Nutritionist?

Although nutritionists are not statutorily regulated in the same way as dietitians, there are various voluntary registers that nutritionists can join if they achieve certain qualifications. For example, the Association for Nutrition (AfN) only awards the title of Registered Nutritionist to their members who have an appropriate degree in nutrition or a related discipline.

Nutritionists are qualified to give general information about food and healthy eating. However, they are not qualified to give medical advice or information about therapeutic diets.

Many nutritionists work in non-clinical settings such as research, teaching, sports, government and animal nutrition, where they apply their scientific knowledge to food. Some nutritionists are employed within the NHS and work alongside dietitians.

Should you hire a Dietitian or a Nutritionist?

The key difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is that dietitians are qualified to advise those with medical conditions, whereas nutritionists are only able to advise those who are healthy. If you have a medical condition, a nutritionist may be unable to advise you.

There is often a price difference between dietitians and nutritionists, with dietitians typically costing more due to the additional training that they have undertaken.

The type of professional that you hire will depend on the type of advice that you require, any underlying medical conditions that you may be suffering from and ultimately, personal preference.

Do Dieticians and Nutritionists work remotely? 

Many dieticians and nutritionists are happy to see clients virtually. This can be done using video calling applications such as Zoom, Skype or Facetime. Hiring a dietician or nutritionist online means that you can receive advice from the comfort of your own home, even if you have a busy schedule. 

How do you hire a Dietitian or Nutritionist?

When you choose to hire a dietitian and nutritionist, you need to be sure that they are the right professional for you. Be sure to check their qualifications, ask about their insurance and check that they are registered with a relevant body. It’s also important to check reviews from former customers to make sure that they have a good reputation.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards improving your diet and your health, find a Dietitian or Nutritionist on Bark.

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