For a lot of people visiting a dietitian or nutritionist might sound like pretty much the same thing. But the reality is that there are some major differences between the two and if you’re thinking about getting help with your nutritional needs, that’s something you should be aware of.
Sure, the titles and areas of expertise are related, but there are some differences that are important to understand before you set out to hire a professional. Read the article below to learn more about these particulars!
What is a Dietitian?
The title of ‘dietitian’ is protected by law in the UK. You can only call yourself a dietitian if you are registered with the Health Care Professions Council. You also need an RDN qualification if you are in the US. Due to these legal requirements, dietitians are regulated by a large body of health care professionals. This helps to ensure that there are the same requirements across the board for all dietitians. This, in turn, solidifies the credibility in the qualifications of all dietitians. When looking for nutrition advice, this can help you rest assured that you are hiring someone who has been diligently trained to offer you the best insight for your health.
What is a Nutritionist?
As the name states, a nutritionist is focused on offering nutrition ideas and guidelines. They can offer you nutritional advice.
However, they aren’t regulated by the same legal requirements as dietitians. So while a dietitian can and often do call themselves nutritionists for the sake of simplicity, nutrition coaches can’t call themselves dieticians as they don’t have the same qualifications.
Nutritionists can offer helpful and professional advice as well, it’s simply important to recognize that they are different than dietitians.
Which is Better?
This primarily depends on what you’re looking for from your professional and why you plan to hire them (as well as your budget).
Working with a nutritionist can be beneficial if you want generalized advice on how you can improve your dietary habits. For instance, if you are looking for healthy living advice, they could provide you on guidance for the best meals to eat for optimal energy during a workout routine.
On the other hand, you might hire a dietitian if you want to guarantee that your professional has formal nutrition training and qualifications. These qualifications also enable them to provide you with more specific advice in regards to potential health issues and how your diet can influence these. So if you have a medical condition that requires professional opinion, your best bet will be hiring a dietician.
If cost is a consideration, make sure you do some research on the internet about the cost difference between the two categories. But it really depends generally on the price individual dieticians and nutritionist charge. You can also ask your general practitioner doctor if you are unsure whether a nutritionist or a dietitian is the best option for your nutrition needs.
They can help you to ascertain who will be able to provide you with the best nutrition expertise in your specific case. However, general practitioners aren’t dieticians themselves so it’s best not to ask them specific nutritionist advice.
How Do You Hire The Right Nutrition Advisor?
Start off your search by looking into the qualifications behind their title as a dietitian must register with the Health Care Professions Council if they are in the U.K. If you find someone who calls themselves a dietitian and is also registered appropriately you know you’re on the right track to finding a trustworthy healthcare advisor.
If you are looking to find a nutritionist, keep in mind that there is no legal requirement that they need to abide by. Still, you can look into their qualifications. Where did they study? What areas of nutrition does their expertise cover? Then evaluate if this is a good fit for the nutritional advice you are seeking.
In addition to these, you can also visit a professional’s website to view reviews from former clients. This can help to further assure that the professional you are hiring is the right fit for the job.