Nutritionist vs dietician – what’s the difference?
Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals governed by law and must be registered with the Health and Care Professional Council. In order to register, individuals must be qualified to a degree level minimum and must have undertaken supervised practice highly competently, including in the NHS. Dietetics is grounded in evidence-based nutritional science, which is published in peer reviewed scientific journals. A dietitian must apply knowledge supported by evidence, research and trials, as opposed to advice based upon personal opinion, beliefs or for financial gain.
Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist as this title is not protected by UK law so adequate training should be checked. Nutritionists can be registered (e.g. UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists). In order to register, usually an accredited course is studied or evidence of strong knowledge is provided. Qualifications, insurance and experience are often checked and a code of ethics may be complied with. While nutritionists are unable to offer dietary advice to those with medical conditions, they can make recommendations about food and healthy eating to help prevent or alleviate certain ailments. Ultimately, the nutritionist vs dietician debate comes down to what you need from a nutrition professional.
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