What Is the Difference Between a Dietitian and Nutritionist?

Are you looking for advice on how to improve your diet? Hiring a dietitian or nutritionist can be a huge help!

So if you are hiring a nutrition advisor, who should you pick? Is a dietitian better than a nutritionist? Is a nutritionist better than a dietitian? Trying to figure out who to talk to about your health needs can get confusing!

Even though it can be difficult to decide who can offer you the best advice, don’t panic. We have got you covered. Read this article to find out what you need to know!

Are They Educated Differently?

Both go to school to learn how to advise you on your health! Yet, the curriculum they study varies.

Dietitians study dietetic material. The dietetic material can cover everything from biochemistry to physiology. These courses also include a practical component under supervision. To complete the course a student must prove they can work professionally in a National Health Services (NHS) setting.

While at school they will also study social sciences, like psychology. This provides them with a deeper understanding of the motivations behind nutrition problems. That way they are prepared to diagnose and treat issues like eating disorders. It also allows them to improve their communication skills. These communication skills then allow them to advise patients in a professional manner.

When they have completed schooling they must have either a bachelor of science in dietetics or a bachelor of science in a similar field. If their degree is in a related field, they must finish an approved course or diploma in dietetics.

Most nutritionists take a three to four-year bachelor’s degree in nutrition science. During their education nutritionists can choose from five different specialisations, animal nutrition, food nutrition, nutrition science, public health nutrition or sports and exercise nutrition. Depending on which specialisation they choose a nutritionist might take many different courses.

What Is The Difference Between A Dietitian and Nutritionist? - Dietitian Cooking

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Is a Dietitian Registered Differently Than a Nutritionist?

First of all, what does registration mean? Registration refers to membership in an accredited organisation. This organisation ensures that its members have received the correct qualifications to operate.

This means that if you hire a registered professional they have proved that they have the proper training to look after you!

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the official body which regulates dietitians.

The HCPC also regulates many other healthcare professionals in the UK. Some of these other health care professionals include social workers, occupational therapists, paramedics and physiotherapists.

Once they have registered they receive the title of Registered Dietitian or RD.

Curious if your professional has registered? You can look them on the HCPC website.

Both dietitians and nutritionists can also become a member of the British Dietetic Association (BDA). The BDA is a trade union for professional workers. Its purpose is to unite anyone with a professional interest in nutrition from students to RDs.

Nutritionists may join the BDA as affiliate members while RDs can join as full members.

Outside of the BDA nutritionists may voluntarily register with the Association for Nutrition (AfN). Unlike RDs, nutritionists are not legally required to register. This means that the title ‘Registered Nutritionist’ is not protected by law.

Still, many nutritionists choose to register with the AfN. If they register with the AfN they must prove that they have taken the appropriate level of education. Once they have registered they may refer to themselves as Registered Nutritionists and use the letters RNutr after their name.

Where Do They Work?

There is a broad range of places that dietitians can work within the UK. Most RDs begin their careers working with the NHS for public health. Later in life, they branch off considerably. They may continue to work with the NHS or choose one of many different paths.

Some start their own private practice while others choose to work elsewhere.

Here is a list of some of the many places an RD can work:

  • In the media
  • With public relations
  • With a Non-Governmental Organisation
  • In sports
  • At an education institution
  • At a research facility.

The possible workplaces for RDs are endless!

Nutritionists also choose to work in many of these places. To read a more detailed list of where nutritionists work, take a peek at this article about nutritionists.

What Is The Difference Between A Dietitian and Nutritionist? - Healthy Diet

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Who Can They Treat?

Dietitians can treat a wide array of patients! They usually work within larger healthcare teams to provide patients with a comprehensive care.

Here is a list from the BDA of some of the many different types of illnesses that they can treat:

  • Eating disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Food allergies
  • Kidney failure

They are also able to administer some medications available through prescriptions. These include medications like insulin and pancreatic enzymes. RDs also can advise other health practitioners on the most beneficial plan for a patient’s nutrition.

Nutritionists focus on providing their patients with information on how to achieve balanced nutrition. They can help their patients optimise their meal plans. This will ensure that they receive the highest level of nutrition.

A nutritionist can help you create a meal plan that will fit your lifestyle. Even if you eat the most of your meals outside of your home they can help you find the solutions to achieve your goals!

Dietitian or Nutritionist: Which Is Right for You?

Deciding whether to choose a dietitian or nutritionist can be a tough decision.

Are you feeling overwhelmed?  Then your family doctor is a good place to start making your decision. Your family doctor will have access to your medical records. This will help them decide which nutrition advisor is best for you based on your health and any medical conditions.

Once you have discussed matters with your doctor there are a few extra factors to consider.

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What to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Nutrition Professional

What Are Your Nutrition Goals?

Do you want to get your weight back on track? Would you like to improve your performance in sports? No matter what your goals may be they are an important part of the process.

Before your appointment, make a list of your goals. That way during your meeting you can make sure that you have the knowledge you need to achieve success!

Are You Limited by Distance?

If you are not able to travel long distances then it is a good idea to look for a nutrition professional who works nearby. Some will even travel to you!

Where Do You Regularly Eat Your Meals?

Do you find that you are often out of the house at dinner time? Do you travel out of town for work on a regular basis? If so then a meal plan based on home cooking is not ideal. Be honest with yourself and your healthcare professional about your dietary lifestyle. It will help you both create a better plan.

Can You Easily Remember What You Have Eaten?

Do you have a hard time remembering what you ate for breakfast, lunch or dinner the day before? Consider making a food journal for yourself.

To provide you with an accurate meal plan that will improve your lifestyle, your professional needs to know your habits. If you show up to the appointment with a food journal it will make everything run more smoothly!

Now that you have made your decision about who you want to see, you might be wondering how to find them! Don’t worry, because Bidvine has you covered. Click the button below to get custom, detailed bids from nutritionists in your area.

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