What is the difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?
Updated: Sep 9, 2018
This is a question I am asked all the time. And in an era where nutrition messages are sprouted by everyone from celebrity chefs, food bloggers, a plethora of health professionals and even our nearest and dearest friends and family, it is no wonder that confusion surrounds who you can trust and what information is credible.
Unfortunately, before you can begin to sort fiction from food facts, you need to check who you are listening to. Do they have the credentials to offer information that is based on robust scientific research?
Unfortunately, even the job titles and terminology for nutrition processionals can be misleading and difficult to decipher.
In Australia, Accredited Nutritionists can elect to maintain their membership with the Dietitian’s Association of Australia (DAA) (Australian Dietitians are also Nutritionists) or the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA).
Accredited Nutritionists (AN) are qualified to work in public health, policy and research. They are skilled to provide nutrition advice for healthy communities of people across the lifecycle.
Sadly, the industry is unregulated so you do not need to maintain your membership or, even complete a tertiary level qualification to call yourself a Nutritionist.
A Dietitian has completed a tertiary qualification and has undertaken assessed professional practice in medical nutrition therapy, foodservice management and public health nutrition. They are qualified to offer scientific, evidenced-based dietary counselling for individuals or groups. So, a Dietitian can take your unique situation into consideration and work with you to find a way of eating to best support your health goals, what ever these may be, including the promotion of optimal health, disease prevention or the management of illness.
In Australia, only Dietitians who have the Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)credential as supervised by the Dietitian’s Association of Australia are recognised as eligible to provide services and/or rebates under the Medicare or Private Health Insurance systems.
So, if you are looking for credible, evidenced-based nutrition advice for your individual needs – look for someone with the Accredited Practicing Dietitian or APD credential!
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