Dietitian or nutritionist – which one is best for you

Dietitian or nutritionist – which one is best for you
It’s one of those topics where consumers can be easily confused and professionals easily offended, which is why it’s important to understand the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist.

A dietitian is someone who studies nutrition and then goes on to do a substantial amount of theory and practical work where they are supervised and assessed in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and service management. People who complete these studies are often known as APDs – Accredited Practising Dietitians.

A dietitian can work in a hospital, private clinical practice or the medical nutrition industry. They can provide expert advice for people of all ages and prescribe dietary treatments for conditions including diabetes, food allergies, cancers, gastro-intestinal diseases and create meal plans to aid weight loss for the overweight and obese.

You may search the CanadianFitnessandHealth directory for a dietitian.


A nutritionist, on the other hand, is someone who has studied nutrition, but they did not proceed to get the qualifications of a dietitian. Nutritionists can work in public health, community nutrition, research and teaching, and marketing and communications associated with nutrition and the food industry.

The title nutritionist is not protected, meaning that anyone can use this title without scientific training. The NZ Nutrition Foundation recommends that a qualified nutritionist should hold a minimum qualification of an undergraduate science degree with a major in Human Nutrition. A ‘registered nutritionist’ has post-graduate qualifications needed for membership of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand.

You may search the CanadianFitnessandHealth directory for a nutritionist.

Visit the Health4You directory to find dietitians or nutritionists to assist with your health.