What does a dietician do?
Updated: Mar 17
Good nutrition is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet can provide our bodies with the essential nutrients we need to function properly, prevent chronic diseases, and maintain overall wellbeing. However, with so much conflicting information available online, it can be difficult to know what to eat to achieve optimal health. This is where a dietician comes in.
A dietician is a healthcare professional who specializes in food and nutrition. Dietitians use their knowledge of nutrition to help people make healthy food choices and manage medical conditions related to diet. In this article, we will explore what a dietician does, the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist, and how to find a registered dietitian near you. Whether you are managing a health condition or simply want to improve your diet, a dietician can help you achieve your goals by providing you with personalized, evidence-based dietary advice.
What is a dietitian?
When it comes to managing our health, we often focus on exercise and medical treatments. However, what we eat is just as important. Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition who can help us optimize our diets to promote overall health and wellbeing.
What is the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist? While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two professions. A dietitian is a registered healthcare professional who has completed a bachelor's degree in dietetics, completed a supervised practice program, and passed a national exam. In contrast, a nutritionist is a more general term that can refer to anyone who provides nutrition advice. Nutritionists may not have completed the same rigorous training and certification process as dietitians.
So, what does a dietician do? Dietitians work in a range of settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and food service companies. They can help people with a wide range of health conditions, from diabetes and heart disease to digestive disorders and food allergies. Dietitians use their knowledge of food and nutrition to develop personalized dietary plans that meet the unique needs of each patient.
In addition to working with individuals, dietitians also play an important role in promoting community health. They work with schools, food banks, and other organizations to educate the public on healthy food choices and improve access to nutritious food. Dietitians may also collaborate with other health professionals to develop public health policies and initiatives that promote healthy eating habits.
What will a dietitian do to help me?
Dieticians are professionals who provide personalised health advice. They apply food and nutrition science to promote well-being and prevent and treat disease. By doing this, they can help to optimise your overall health through a range of proven strategies and techniques.
These specialists will assess your needs, develop personalised eating plans, and provide nutrition counselling and support to individuals and groups. They also translate scientific information into practical advice that you can implement as part of your everyday life.
You will have heard the term ‘nutritionist’ used as well and maybe wondering about the difference between the two. We’re here to break down the key differences for you.
What does a dietitian do?
Dietitians work with patients in a variety of settings to manage health conditions related to diet. Here are some specific ways in which a dietitian can help:
Working with Patients
Dietitians can work with patients to develop personalized dietary plans to help manage a variety of health conditions. For example, a dietitian may work with a patient who has diabetes to develop a meal plan that helps regulate blood sugar levels. They may also work with patients who have heart disease to develop a diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
In addition to developing dietary plans, dietitians also work with patients to set goals and monitor progress. They may provide ongoing education and support to help patients make healthy food choices and stick to their dietary plans. By working closely with patients, dietitians can help them achieve their health goals and improve their overall wellbeing.
Working in the Community
Dietitians also play an important role in promoting community health. They may work with schools, food banks, and other organizations to educate the public on healthy food choices and improve access to nutritious food. By promoting healthy eating habits in the community, dietitians can help prevent chronic diseases and promote overall wellbeing.
Working in Food Service
Dietitians may also work in the food industry to provide nutritious meals in hospitals, schools, and other care facilities. They play a key role in creating menus that meet dietary requirements and ensuring food safety and quality. By working in food service, dietitians can help improve the health and wellbeing of individuals who may not have access to nutritious food otherwise.
Dietetics and nutrition
The fields of dietetics and nutrition are closely related, but there are some key differences between the two. Dietetics is the study of how food and nutrition impact health, while nutrition is the study of the nutrients in food, how the body uses them, and the relationship between diet and health.
The Science of Nutrition
Dietitians use their knowledge of the science of nutrition to develop evidence-based dietary plans for patients. They stay up-to-date on the latest research in nutrition and use this information to develop personalized dietary plans that meet the unique needs of each patient. By staying on top of the latest research, dietitians can provide the most up-to-date advice and recommendations to patients.
Dietitians and Nutritionists
While the terms "dietitian" and "nutritionist" are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two professions. Dietitians are registered healthcare professionals who have completed a rigorous training and certification process, while nutritionists may not have the same level of training or certification.
It is important to see a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice. Registered dietitians have the knowledge and skills to develop evidence-based dietary plans that meet the unique needs of each patient. They also have a thorough understanding of how food and nutrition impact health, and can provide education and support to help patients achieve their health goals.
What does a sports nutritionist do?
It is important to note that the term ‘nutritionist’ is not regulated – therefore, this title can be used by people with varying levels of education (including dieticians), who provide a range of services related to nutrition.
So, what does a nutritionist do? Well, nutritionists provide more general advice. They are not qualified to provide individualised advice or prescribe diet plans to their clients.
Unlike a nutritionist, a qualified APD will consider all factors which influence your food choices and provide the support that is personally tailored to you and your situation. They’ll also help empower you to improve your health and meet your goals.
The importance of a balanced diet
Food plays a key role in our mental and physical state, and the choices we make have an impact on the human body.
It’s all about keeping a healthy balance and having everything in moderation. It’s important to eat a variety of different fruits, vegetables, and proteins – ensuring you get all the right nutrients to properly fuel your body. It’s also important to limit the number of sugars, salts, and saturated fats you consume day-to-day.
By eating the right foods, not only will you maintain a healthy weight, but you’ll also improve your heart and gut health, improve your memory, keep your skin, bones, and teeth in peak condition, and generally enjoy an improved lifestyle. You’ll also reduce your risk of developing conditions like cancer or diabetes. Striking the right balance can also be a critical factor in improving your mental health.
With so much conflicting information available out there, it can be difficult to navigate and identify what information is correct and what isn’t. That is where it’s good to have a professional on hand to properly advise you.
How we can help you achieve optimal wellbeing
There is a common misconception that a dietitian’s only job is to put their clients on restrictive meal plans and tell people to lose weight. While weight management is one of the services these specialists offer, it is only a very small part of what they do.
They will use evidence-based research and science to deliver accurate advice and provide tailored interventions to their clients. This aims to improve overall wellbeing and optimise health outcomes for an array of conditions.
Which factors need to be considered?
There isn’t a ‘one size fits all approach. Your dietitian will consider multiple individual factors when tailoring a treatment plan – including your:
● Medical history
● Personal goals
● Personal needs
These specialists commonly work with patients with a variety of medical conditions, including:
● Gastrointestinal disorders
● Diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease
● Food allergies and intolerances
● Disordered eating
● Overweight and obesity
● Depression and anxiety
They’ll also work with patients who want to improve their health in other ways – for example, with individuals wanting to use nutrition to increase the chance of conception, or during pregnancy to promote wellness. They can also work with athletes to help make food choices which can help with improving athletic performance.
In recent times, there have also been studies into the benefits of safe intermittent fasting.
Let us help you reach your goals
Many patients may benefit from including nutrition therapy in their treatment plans to improve their outcomes. The best answer you’ll get to the question ‘how can a dietitian help?’, will come from meeting with and speaking to a dietitian.
Here at MSPPC, we are the experts when it comes to improving your optimal health. Not only do we have a trained dietician on staff, but we’re also passionate about promoting practices that boost your overall wellbeing – whether it’s through podiatry, physiotherapy, or clinical pilates.
If you have any further queries, reach out to our professional team of experts for further insights, advice, and information today. We can help you on your journey to a renewed sense of vitality and balance.