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Dietitian Vs. Nutritionist, What's The Difference?

Dietitian Vs. Nutritionist

Curious or Confused about the difference?

You want or need help with your nutrition but you aren’t sure where to look for help? Do you ask your Doctor or Health Club? What kind of professional person has the skill, knowledge, and experience to best serve you and your body’s needs?

Both Dietitians and Nutritionists work with you to address your health and help you make changes to increase your wellness. There are several differences that you should know so that you can select a professional that can help you best.

Here are some differences:

Dietitians are health care providers. They treat medical conditions with Medical Nutrition Therapy. They have a bachelors or master’s degree in Nutrition and have passed board exams to be certified at state and or National levels. Often called: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN), Registered Dietitian (RN), Dietetic Counselor, or a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS). They work at hospitals, clinics, community health facilities, and research institutions. They have been board certified and have gone through advanced and extensive education in the science of Nutrition to be licensed. The above titles are legally regulated in many states.

Work with a Dietitian if you are addressing or want help with:

  • Food allergies
  • Nutrition assistance for disease management or medical conditions
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy An Eating Disorder
  • Weight Problems
  • Prescribed Meal Plans
  • Lab tests ordered
  • Sports Performance
  • Insurance assistance

Dietitians can work with your medical team to provide individual patient care. If you are needing attention with any of the above or other medically sensitive issues, a Dietitian can help to work to help you heal and develop eating habits, eat specific foods, and with addressing your specific body struggles and needs. If you think you need: treated, prescribed, or diagnosed for-- you might want to work with a Dietitian.

Nutritionists are professionals that work with you to address and increase your overall wellness. Often called Health or Nutrition Coaches, they assist individuals or groups in creating health strategies and work with you to establish habits and behaviors to meet your goals. They work in commercial settings such as Health Clubs or Fitness Centers.

Nutritionists are not health care providers so they can not prescribe medications, diagnose disease, order lab tests or give specific meal plans, and/or suggest supplements to address specific medical conditions or issues. While not licensed health care providers, Nutritionists can still provide attentive care for many people’s health needs. If you think you need: accountability, motivation for eating better, habit management-- you might want to work with a Nutritionist.

Work with a Nutritionist if you are addressing or want help with:

  • Behavior, Habit, or Goal Coaching
  • Knowledge about overall health and wellness
  • Integration of diet and exercise
  • Cooking and Meal ideas
  • Establishing and keeping habits
  • Attention and Care
  • Lifestyle Coaching
  • Weight loss or Weight Gain Suggestions
  • Dietary Assessment and Adjustment RecommendationsFood/Meal logging
  • Accountability with Eating Goals and Overall Wellness Habits

Nutritionists are professional allies that typically want to help you work on improving your lifestyle. Through conversational, attentive coaching--these professionals can give you advice and hold you accountable for your health habits. The titles of Nutritionist, Nutrition Coach, or Health Coach are not regulated by the state. If you think your health needs can be met by meeting with a Nutritionist, check on their background, education, and or experience.

Your health is important and taking time, money, and attention to care for yourself and advocated for is a loving act. Take our quiz and get paired with a nutrition coach personalized to you.

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