Home » What do Dieticians do?
As two dieticians, we often get met with confusion and puzzled faces regarding what we do and how it is we got here. Countless times we have been directly messaged from new high school graduates seeking advice and looking for career guidance or we are asked what the difference is between nutritionists and dietitians.
In honour of Dietitians Week 2020, we hope this blog will help demystify the confusion.
Let us begin by expressing how much we love what we do and how proud we are to be a part of this professional group of Registered Dietitians.
Funny enough, there are some places in the world where both titles are used interchangeably – notably the US where instead of Registered Dietitians (RD), they are called Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN), and in Quebec, Canada where one of our founder’s – Ariana did her training in Montreal at McGill University.
Most commonly, however, there is a distinction between the two.
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, a dietitian is “a qualified health professional that has been specially trained up to university degree level, particularly to work in hospital and clinical settings but is also able to advise you on all aspects of your diet” …if we may add [AND more than just diet!].
We are governed by a regulatory body that ensures we comply to an ethical code and standard of practice, where they may audit our practice at any time to ensure we always provide the highest standard of care. The title ‘dietitian’ is protected by law and can only be used by individuals who have met a rigorous criterion of training, registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).
On a general level, we are weary of the term ‘nutritionist’ as it may not indicate a regulated profession. In many parts of the world, one can call themselves a “nutritionist” without having done any formal training. So yes, your neighbour Karen who is into all things fad diets and believes she knows all there is about detoxes and vitality can technically call herself a nutritionist, nutrition expert, guru… you name it.
In the UK, however, ‘Nutritionists’ accredited by Association for Nutrition are in fact regulated! Their voluntary governing body’s aim is “to distinguish nutrition practitioners who meet rigorously applied training, competence and professional practice criteria. Its purpose is to protect the public and assure the credibility of nutrition as a responsible profession.” This means researchers and academics in the field of nutrition may be accredited. Usually these individuals will be found working in public health, health promotion, policy development, research and development or they may work in private clinics where they provide general nutrition and lifestyle support.
Well, dietitians can be found in so many different speciality areas:
As some of you know, we divide our time between hospital settings in Eating Disorder Units and our beloved private practice at Embody.
A typical day will look like this:
Our private practice looks slightly different as we do a lot more administrative tasks around creating new and FABULOUS resources for our clients founded on evidence-based approaches, we create social media content (find us on IG, TikTok, FB, LinkedIn and Twitter), writing e-books, liaising with GP’s regarding patient management, running our individual programmes and group programmes!
We are ALL about diversity in our profession.
We hope this answer’s many of your questions and you find it helpful!
P.S. Is it dieti[c]ian or [dieti[t]ian? We get asked. Well, it depends where you are in the world!
In North America (US/Canada) and Australia where we are from, we spell it with a T – hence why we roll with it! In the United Kingdom, however, they are the odd ones who decided to chuck the T and uniquely use a C, ha! No hard feelings.
To learn more about our programmes and how we can support your goals, book in for a FREE 15-minute consultation with us.
Embody Health London champions food freedom, positive body image, mental health and emotional wellbeing through a uniquely blended scientific and holistic approach. The EHL team specialises in treating chronic dieting and eating disorders by coaching clients to build confidence and reduce anxiety around their eating habits and food choices.
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