My diet’s a disaster. Who should I see, a dietitian or a nutritionist?

Dietitian V nutritionist - Women's Health & Fitness


What’s the difference?
According to dietitians’ accrediting body, the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), the key difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is that, in addition to or as part of their qualification in human nutrition, a dietitian has undertaken a course of study that includes substantial theory and supervised and assessed professional practice in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management.

In Australia, all dietitians are considered to be nutritionists, but nutritionists without a dietetics qualification cannot work as dietitians. Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) Melanie McGrice, a spokesperson for the DAA, says that dietitians are particularly helpful for people with a medical condition they hope to manage through diet – think diabetes, food intolerance or heart disease – as their training includes a significant health science element.

“If you’re looking to lose weight, increase your energy, or have general questions regarding your dietand what you should eat according to your weight, height, lifestyle and medical condition, then a visit to an APD is a must,” she says. Accredited nutritionists, on the other hand, may have expertise in a range of nutrition services including public health nutrition, community health and tertiary education related to nutrition, according to Nutrition Australia. They are not qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy.

Pro choice

Weight loss, increasing energy levels, balancing mood and hormone swings, and managing underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, food allergies and intolerances.

General advice and individual guidance, rather than clinical interventions. Nutritionists often work in advisory roles for organisations.

Want to lose weight? Find out your ideal weight, browse low-fat recipes and choose a healthy eating plan.