Dietician And Nutritionist: What’s The Difference?

3 min read

Dietician and nutritionist

In several countries, the terms Dietician and Nutritionist are used alternatively and are often used to refer to the same kind of work, that is, promoting good health with the help of the study of dietetics and proper nutrition. 

However, both terms do not mean the same and have stark differences concerning all the aspects of the two professions. The terms might be related but can never act as synonyms for one another. 

The difference between dietician and nutritionist are mentioned below: 

Educational qualifications

The educational qualifications required for being a Dietician (RD) are very different from that of a Nutritionist. Dieticians need to have an undergraduate degree as well as training in dietetics. This can be in the form of a job or internship as well. 

Thereafter, they’re required to appear for a national examination that is conducted for aspiring dieticians such as the one by the IDA or the Indian Dietetic Examination. Passing the exam is not the end and one needs to specialize and acquire further knowledge based on their workplace and the demands of the job. 

Registered Dieticians can be RD or RDN, that is, Registered Dietician Nutritionist. Dieticians can opt for any one of these designations, RDN being the comparatively newer one since Dieticians are nutrition professionals, having a fair knowledge about everything related to nutrition and good nutritional values. 

Nutritionists, more often than not, do not have a scientific or physiological background, unlike Dieticians and in certain cases, they don’t even have educational qualifications, or even if they do, it’s got to do with one or two courses on food technology and nutrition. They like to call themselves Nutritionists since they enjoy dealing with health and nutrition and advising people about the same. 

License

Dietician and Nutritionist do not require the same kind of recognition. The license to practice is given to Dieticians after they go through all the steps mentioned above and pass the national examination. 

Nutritionists do not need a license to begin their job and can work without seeking any kind of recognition from anyone. Their recognition is based on their personal qualities and achievements. Moreover, however qualified one is, they cannot be termed a Dietician unless they hold a license. Thus, all Dieticians can be termed as Nutritionists but all Nutritionists cannot be referred to as Dieticians.  

Workplace demands
Dietician and nutritionist

Dieticians can be employed in diverse sectors and their jobs entail different responsibilities in different sectors. They can work in hospitals, hold administrative posts, work for NGOs and other welfare institutions, practice privately, etc. 

However, the scope of Nutritionists is limited and they cannot work for sectors that require an intense understanding and knowledge of dietetics unless they develop proper and consistent experience. They can work as assistants to Dieticians. 

Also, read: Does the food you eat affect the gender of the baby?

Dietician vs Nutritionist: Whom should you trust? 

Dietician and Nutritionist are similar in the sense that both professions deal with health and nutrition. However, it is always advisable to consult Dieticians over Nutritionists. The only reason is, in case of incorrect or inappropriate advice, one can question the Dietician, who’s a license holder but certainly cannot question a Nutritionist who’s not recognized. Nutritionists can be consulted for minor issues such as weight loss but not for medical purposes. 

Dietician vs Nutritionist – Types of Dietician and Nutritionist and 5 of their places of work

Difference between dietician and nutritionist

Healthcare – 

Dieticians can work for hospitals or nursing homes and are responsible for the healthy diet of patients, considering their respective diseases and illnesses. 

Nutritionists are not employed in such places since most of them do not have the ability to diagnose diseases and suggest respective diet plans and lifestyle changes. 

Also, read: The connection between diet and lung cancer 

Administrative work – 

Dieticians who’re associated with community-based work and welfare institutions, work for their organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, on the basis of their target people and formulate guidelines for the general public to follow in order to stay fit and healthy. 

 Nutritionists do not usually participate in such activities since they do not possess a license and are not recognized by many institutions across several countries. 

Research – 

Dieticians research the various possibilities of maintaining a healthy diet and find out healthier alternatives for certain foods. 

Nutritionists can be employed for research purposes with respect to their individual achievements and experiences. They’re, however, more educated on their field of study than several others.  

Personal consultation – 

Dieticians can practice privately and have their chambers or healthcare centers. People visit them regularly and ask for solutions to their food and nutrition-related issues. They, in turn, prescribe them the best possible remedies, catering to their needs.

Most Nutritionists are found to be associated with this type of work and make an investment in setting up their own space. Nutritionists who’ve assumed the title of one on their own are also found doing the same. 

dietician vs nutritionist

Recommended Read: Eating One Meal a Day: Does it Really Make You Lose Weight?

Entertainment – 

Dieticians have high prospects in the entertainment industry. They work with production houses or film schools and keep a check on the diet followed by actors and members of the crew who’re supposed to stay fit. The intense training schedules followed by actors as well as sports personnel require them to eat food that has nutritional values since people associated with the entertainment industry need to be in good shape at all times. 

Nutritionists are also employed, along with Dieticians or under their supervision for balancing out the workload. Instead of employing too many Dieticians, it’s always better to employ more subordinates or colleagues who are aware of the work that has to be done but isn’t licensed professionals either. 

The difference between Dietician and Nutritionist is a widely discussed concern and we’ve tried to provide you with the basic differences between the two terms so that you’re able to rectify your mistakes as well as the ones made by people around you. 

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