Nutritionist vs Dietitian: What is the difference?

28 Nov, 2022

It’s not uncommon to hear people use the terms “nutritionist” and “dietitian” interchangeably. After all, both professions are focused on helping people make educated, healthy lifestyle changes.

Although these two roles may seem similar on the surface, there is quite a big difference between them. In this blog, we investigate the differences between the two and uncover the benefits each service provides.   


Professional qualifications 

Firstly, it’s important to look at the education behind each profession. A Nutritionist typically has a certification in nutrition or holistic health, while a Dietitian is required to earn a degree in nutrition, dietetics, or public health along with certification from reputable organisations such as the Dietitians Association of Australia. The level of education required for each profession proves vital for the quality and range of services they can provide. 

Regulations for practice   

Another difference between Dietitians and Nutritionists is the regulations that apply to their professions. To become a registered Dietitian, individuals must complete strict education and training requirements, pass a national exam, and fulfil ongoing professional education credits. A Dietitian also must adhere to a code of ethics in their practice. Nutritionists, on the other hand, are not subject to any legal requirements or regulations which in turn can mean they may not be as up-to-date with the latest industry knowledge and standards. 

Nutritionist vs Dietitian

Client differentiation   

While both professions are centred around providing health benefits from proper nutrition, a Dietitian specialises in working with individuals dealing with various medical conditions. These individuals might be recovering from an illness or injury, for example, they may suffer from a chronic disease that requires tailored dietary plans. In contrast, a Nutritionist typically works with healthy people to promote positive lifestyle choices that support overall well-being. 

Final summary   

To summarise, if you’re suffering from a chronic condition or recovering from an illness or injury, a Dietitian can assist by providing nutrition advice, education and personally tailored meal plans to achieve your health goals. If you’re simply looking for general advice about your diet, a Nutritionist can also help. 

Deciding which service to utilise depends on your specific goals and requirements. Understanding the key differences between these two professions will help you find the right health professional for your individual needs.

Contact our team today 

Gen Physio is a leading national Allied Health provider, and our Dietetics team specialises in helping individuals improve their well-being through personalised nutrition strategies. To book an appointment, get in touch with our friendly Client Experience team today at 1300 122 884. 

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