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A nutritionist is a person who advises people on matters of nutrition. In jurisdictions such as the UK and most US states the term "nutritionist" is not legally protected. As a result, people who refer to themselves as "nutritionists" may have no officially recognized credentials.

Regulation of the title "nutritionist"


The title "nutritionist" is protected in Quebecmarker, Albertamarker and Nova Scotiamarker. It is not protected in British Columbiamarker. There were discussions about this when the dietitian designation was protected in British Columbia, but as of March 2008 "nutritionist" is not currently protected there.

United Kingdom

Nutritionist, unlike dietitian, is not currently a protected term. Although there are a considerable number of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in nutrition in the UK, anyone can refer to himself or herself as a nutritionist without any formal qualifications. Different organizations use their own criteria to define a nutritionist. According to one of these, the Nutrition Society of the UK , the function of a nutritionist is to elicit, integrate, disseminate and apply scientific knowledge drawn from the relevant sciences, to promote an understanding of the effects of nutrition, and to enhance the impact of food on health and well-being of animals and/or people. They accredit nutritionists, conferring the titles Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) and Associate Public Health Nutritionist (APHNutr). For these they consider an undergraduate training sufficient for associate membership. Full registration as a , Registered Nutritionist, (R Nutr.), or Registered Public Health Nutritionist (RPHNutr) requires at least three years work experience and the fulfilment of key competencies required to operate safely and effectively. They must also agree to abide by a code of ethics and maintain their standards for working with the public .

United States

Although some may confuse the terms "nutritionist" and "dietitian", there is a difference in training and expertise. The term "registered dietitian" is legally protected. A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential “RD.” In addition to RD credentialing through the American Dietetic Association, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. State requirements frequently are met through the same education and training required to become an RD.

The title "nutritionist" is protected and designated by only some states in the United States. It is important that a person seeking the counsel of a nutritionist check with their local state's licensing agency to find out if prospective practitioners are duly licensed.

The majority of registered dietitians work in the treatment and prevention of disease (administering medical nutrition therapy, often part of medical teams), in hospitals, HMOs, private practice or other health-care facilities. In addition, a large number of dietitians work in community and public health settings and academia and research. A growing number of registered dietitians work in the food and nutrition industry, in business, journalism, sports nutrition, corporate wellness programs and other non-traditional work settings. Dietitians also frequently work in private practice providing one-on-one nutrition counseling.

See also


  • Goldacre, Ben (2009). Bad Science. HarperPerennial. ISBN 000728487X


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