When speaking about a dietitian, it is important to compare and contrast them with a nutritionist. While many see these two positions as being interchangeable, they are actually quite different. The fields of food science and nutrition are very distinct and the duties of the nutritionist and dietician are greatly varied.
One of the main differences between the two is their level of qualification when it comes to dealing with matters involving the nutrition of humans. A dietitian has gone to school in order to study nutrition and is also well versed in substantial theory, whereas a nutritionist is not.
A dietitian has also typically done work in a number of areas, including the management of food services, therapeutic treatment in medical nutrition, and clinical nutrition. In many countries, a dietitian can perform the same duties and fill the same role as a nutritionist does, while a nutritionist could never step in and complete the same tasks as a dietitian.
As a result, the profession of a dietitian is granted additional protections under the law. Once a person calls themselves a dietitian, they are subject to far greater scrutiny from law enforcement officials. On the flip side of the equation, a nutritionist does not have to deal with the same level of attention and can simply practice without having to obtain licensing in many countries and states.
The educational background of a dietitian is usually much different than that of a nutritionist. Unlike a nutritionist, the dietitian will have to obtain some sort of formal education before being allowed to proceed in their career. They are required to have experience in a wide range of different areas before they allowed to treat people who are in need.
Nutritionists are often people with no educational background or even experience to speak of. Depending on your location, a person can claim to be a nutritionist and not be required to provide proof of their education or experience. This is why it is important to remember that these two professions are the furthest thing from interchangeable.
A nutritionist does have to complete a small amount of secondary education in some locations, but their workload pales in comparison to a dietitian’s. While their coursework is usually centered on matters related to nutrition, a dietitian needs to be educated in those courses, as well as economics and business.
The next time you hear someone speak as if these two professions are one and the same, be sure to correct them. Nutritionists have a valuable place in modern society, but a dietitian is just as important, if not more so. Their credentials are much easier to look into and you always know what you are getting, whereas a nutritionist may not have the same level of education or knowledge.