4 Major Difference Between Dietitian & Nutritionist

If you are a fitness enthusiast who is concerned about their diet, you have probably come across the terms nutritionist and dietician. You could have thought both words describe the same kind of job of guiding people what to eat and what not to eat. While, on the surface, that is true, there are major differences between a nutritionist and a dietician. 

Let’s take a look at how a dietician is different from a nutritionist and vice versa:

Dieticians work with both healthy and sick people, nutritionists only work with healthy people

Dieticians are trained and have been taught how to treat medical conditions and promote well-being through medical nutrition therapy. More often than not, dieticians work with people with chronic illnesses and guide them towards effective dietary changes. If someone is suffering from diabetes, a dietician is their best option to have a comprehensive meal plan around their condition.

Nutritionists are focused on promoting healthy eating habits among individuals and offering them a balanced diet plan. They don’t work around people suffering from chronic diseases or help them alleviate their condition. They work exclusively with healthy people and help them improve their nutrition by having them make better choices about their diet.

Dieticians are regulated, nutritionists are not

Many countries in the world have specific professional requirements for people wanting to become a dietician. In order to become a dietician, one has to register with a government body, pass an exam, and hold a license that allows dietician practices. 

Nutritionists, on the other hand, don’t have a regulatory body above them. Anyone can become a nutritionist if they are passionate about eating healthy and guiding others to healthy eating. 

Both study similar course but deviate towards different topics as the course continues

In some countries, both dieticians and nutritionists study the same course at the beginning. At the beginning of the course, both dieticians and nutritionists (Online Nutritionists in India) study the basics of biology, food, anatomy, physiology, genetics, microbiology, food science, and food preparation.

It is only later in the course that nutritionists will dive deeper into nutrition modules, nutrition program planning and assessment, nutrition education, and promotion.

Dieticians, in the later years of the course, study more medical-related subjects including clinical biochemistry, medical nutrition therapy, and therapeutic diet preparation. Dietician students are also supposed to take on 3 types of placements–one clinical placement, one community dietetics, and one foodservice related placement.

Dieticians and nutritionists work in different workplaces

Dieticians, since they are more inclined towards medical therapy, work in medical settings such as hospitals and clinics. They are supposed to conduct a nutritional assessment of patients and prescribe them dietary changes to help them get rid of the sickness. 

Nutritionists are not bound by such limitations and are often found in commercial spaces. You can find a nutritionist in a fitness center, nutrition supplement companies, gyms, and other fitness areas. They can also be found working in governmental agencies to spread the word about healthy eating and the importance of well-being through a balanced diet.