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Nutritionist vs. Dietitian - Differences in Professions

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. February 10, 2022
Nutritionist vs. Dietitian - Differences in Professions

You may have heard the terms dietician and nutritionist and assumed they were interchangeable. They both refer to professionals who help us to eat correctly. However, the scope of their work is not the same, nor does it inform how we eat in the same way. Although both experts in nutrition who analyze the way we eat food, this doesn't mean they simply establish a diet to lose weight. What we eat and what we eat are much more complicated and these professions explore so many disparate factors.

In this oneHOWTO article we look at the differences between a nutritionist vs. dietician. If you think you need to speak to one about what you eat and how you eat, this can help ensure you recieve the right care.


  1. What is a nutritionist?
  2. What is a dietitian?
  3. Nutritionists vs. dieticians: similarities and differences

What is a nutritionist?

A nutritionist is a professional who has a bachelor's or graduate degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. This is usually a 4-year course, although this may differ according to the educational standards of certain countries. It is possible to also have a doctorate in medicine which specializes in this area of health. In fact, part of the confusion with a nutritionist vs. dietician is related to degrees and the expertise required to practice in these fields.

It can be said that the scope of a nutritionist's work is broader than that of a dietician. While they may incorporate helping to understand healthy diets, they are not limited to dietary regimens.

A nutritionist focuses their activity on the various aspects that affect the food and nutrition of human beings. Their role can involve:

  • Understanding the nutritional composition, characteristics and possible impact on our health of a foodstuff.
  • Determining the ideal diet for people who enjoy a good general state of health, but also for those who may present certain diseases or pathologies. This is achieved through clinical nutrition studies and can be used to complement a previous medical diagnosis.
  • Indicating food conditions that guarantee public health, exercising their functions in different organisms.
  • Establishing recommendations for a dietary requirements in boarder populations.
  • Working within education organizations to promote healthy eating habits.
  • Acting in the industrial field as a food safety advisor or as a person in charge when advising on the suitability of new products in the different segments of the population (children, the elderly, pregnant women, lactating women, etc.).
Nutritionist vs. Dietitian - Differences in Professions - What is a nutritionist?

What is a dietitian?

A dietician is a senior dietetic technician (SDT) who has completed a higher level training cycle (usually 2 years) to qualifies them for this profession profession. In this case, the job description of this profession generally focuses on:

  • Identifying specific nutritional needs of people or groups in order to determine the most appropriate diet in each case. This will take into account many aspects, including age, weight or daily physical activity levels, as well as the presence of diseases or dysfunctions.
  • Controlling and supervising the nutritional value of the different menus, for example, in schools or residences.
  • Promoting good eating habits are also functions carried out by these professionals.

Nutritionists vs. dieticians: similarities and differences

Nutritionists and dieticians share the same goal, i.e. to provide health and well-being through a balanced diet. This diet needs to be assessed to suit the needs of each individual person. For this reason, they are two professions with many points in common, although they are not exactly the same. Both are experts in food and nutrition and the differences are mainly focused on their field of activity.

The main function of a dietitian is to establish the ideal diet for a person who is in good health, but who wants to improve some aspect through diet. The most common example is the desire or need to lose weight, but a dietitian can also take care of developing the most appropriate diet for an athlete or for a person who wants to gain vitality and energy in their daily life. If you have been wanting to lose weight, whether for health reasons, fitness goals or for whatever reason, check out our articles on tips to lose weight and how to lose weight without being hungry.

A nutritionist can also carry out this work. However, their advice can be extended to people with diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia or problems absorbing and metabolizing certain nutrients. These will always correspond to their medical diagnosis. Learn more about one of these medical issues with our guide on how to avoid type-2 diabetes naturally.

Nutritionists are also the professionals who indicate and establish diets when people have problems with allergies and intolerances. In these cases, the dietary guidelines (inclusion and exclusion of foods in adequate amounts) indicated by the nutritionist will be part of the medical treatment itself.

After discovering the similarity and the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian, we want to recommend that you understand the consequences of a poor diet. While diet is only one factor in our health, it is an essential one. If we eat poorly, it will be reflected in our organism. For this reason it is important to eat well. We help you do so with our article on how to organize a healthy diet.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Nutritionist vs. Dietitian - Differences in Professions, we recommend you visit our Healthy living category.

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Nutritionist vs. Dietitian - Differences in Professions