Nutritional Therapist, Nutritionist, Dietician – What’s The Difference?
Nutritionists, Nutritional Therapist, Dieticians, Sports Dieticians, Health Coaches… The list goes on! It can be incredibly overwhelming with so many different titles used by professionals, and what really is the difference between them all?
Read on below to find out the difference between a Dietician, Nutritionist and Nutritional Therapist so you can really understand what different approaches they all take and can choose the best option for you.
Dieticians use the science of nutrition to help clients who are seeking advice about disease and their general health. Dieticians work in a variety of different settings, but usually, dieticians work as part of the NHS.
Dieticians mostly work with individuals diagnosed with medical conditions, however, some do work on nutrition projects in the media and government too.
A dietician always applies knowledge that is supported by evidence and they are legally allowed to supply and prescribe medication that is prescription only. In addition to this, they are also permitted to manage dosages and adjust quantities on a patient’s drug chart.
Dieticians will often work on the patients presenting symptoms at the time of their consultation. This can result in “managing” your symptoms or condition, however more often than not this will not get to the underlying cause of the problem.
When prescribing medication, this can further hide symptoms but not actually get to the cause, as these symptoms are kept at bay whilst the medication is being used. Further down the line, symptoms will often return as soon as the medication is stopped.
Treating symptoms with medication can push the root problem further into the body, resulting in worse symptoms over time. In addition to this, further side effects and nutritional deficiencies can be caused, as medications often have an effect on normal metabolic or digestive processes, sometimes resulting in a nutritional deficiency.
A Nutritionist’s training is different to a dietician and slightly different to a Nutritional Therapist, however, some do still adopt a holistic approach in their work.
Although nutritionists are not permitted to issue medical prescriptions, they can recommend nutritional supplements. Nutritionists are able to make informed recommendations about food and healthy eating/ lifestyle choices to help prevent or alleviate certain diseases.
Nutritionists advise individuals and industry on evidence-based nutrition, using the most up to date research to help shape individual dietary patterns.
There is still some confusion between the differentiation of a Nutritionist versus a Nutritional Therapist, with an ongoing debate between regulatory boards on this!
Nutritional therapists usually work in private practice seeing clients on a one to one basis, using their knowledge of holistic and nutrition science. Nutritional Therapists work with both healthy individuals to prevent disease, or sick individuals to minimize symptoms of a developed disease and uncover contributing factors. They can help to improve longevity and prevent illness through using functional foods, diet, supplements, testing and lifestyle. A Nutritional Therapist will view the body as one, whole, interconnected system where everything is linked.
Nutritional Therapists can advise on a whole range of health conditions such as minor issues like dry skin, insomnia and fatigue to more serious health complaints such as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis or depression.
Nutritional therapy is seen as complementary medicine, used for both those with chronic conditions and those looking to prevent future illness, to really target the root cause of the problem and not just manage the symptoms.
Nutritional therapy can help individuals with a real variety of concerns such as:
- Digestive issues
- Hormone imbalances
- Weight loss
- Poor sleep
- Skin conditions
- Aches and pains
- Energy levels
- Autoimmune diseases
- General wellbeing
A Nutritional Therapist will treat each client as unique and therefore every client will have an individual plan to suit them. This will include dietary suggestions, lifestyle strategies, supplement recommendations and testing referrals if required. This plan will give you sustainable lifestyle changes with evidence-based recommendations to create a personalized programme tailored to your needs.
A nutritional therapist will help their clients achieve the following:
- Educate how diet and lifestyle choices can impact physical and mental wellbeing
- Nourish the brain and body for personal needs
- Create long term, sustainable eating habits, free off all fad-diets
- Get their clients to enjoy the food they eat and gain confidence in food choices
- Benefit from the short and long term enjoyment of living a healthier lifestyle
Ensure you are working with a BANT registered nutritionist, by checking their website.
NT’s use specific laboratory testing to help evaluate the health status of a client, by measuring how the physiology of the body is functioning, rather than just looking at symptoms of a disease, which many health practitioners focus on. There are many different types of tests that may be considered depending on the individual’s needs.
Supporting and nourishing the mind and body with nutrients can have an impact on the way an individual feels, thinks and looks.
Overall, working with a Nutritional Therapist will place whole-body wellness of utmost importance, focusing on restoring health by digging deeper to discover underlying causes of the imbalance, rather than just looking at the presenting symptoms. A Nutritional therapist will look at a whole-body approach to nutrition and lifestyle, working with stress, hormonal imbalances, low energy and autoimmune conditions but ensuring to realign the nutritional balance of the body to leave you feeling your best.