Sandy Davidson, Senior Lecturer with Endeavour College of Natural Health explains the difference between the work of nutritionists and dieticians.
I am often asked to explain the difference between the work of nutritionists and dieticians.
Both nutritionists and dieticians practice evidence-based medicine and hold the same overarching vision – better food, better health and wellbeing for all. However, the two practices draw on substantially different philosophies.
Nutritional medicine draws on a holistic approach to healing which takes into account the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Nutritionists recognise that disease is complex and is caused by a combination of factors. This constitutes individualised care which is the cornerstone of holistic practice.
Dieticians on the other hand are primarily trained to give evidence-based dietary advice to treat a range of conditions and translate scientific nutrition information into a tailored diet plan for each client to address their health goals.
Nutritionists tend to work in holistic medical centers or private practice with other practitioners that share a similar ideology. Dieticians largely work with population health, frequently in settings where clients have specialised dietary needs such as hospitals and nursing homes.
The need for improved nutrition in our community is increasing with an ageing population and the increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes that are largely preventable.
There is a role for both disciplines to provide choice and be responsive to community needs.
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