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Dietitian vs Nutritionist: what’s the difference?

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Your health is important. If you are looking for help with what to eat you’ll want it to be advice you can trust. Knowing that there is a difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is required knowledge. This is a short blog to introduce the main difference.

Dietitians and nutritionists have training to provide information about food and healthy eating. Yet there is a key distinction.

Dietitian’s are the only regulated health professionals related to food and nutrition. The Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) keeps the register of Registered Dietitians, regulated by law.

In contrast, there is no legal requirement for nutritionists to be registered in order to work in the UK. There is a voluntary professional register, coordinated by the Association for Nutrition (AfN). Only registrants with the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) can call themselves a Registered Nutritionist (RNutrs).

There are many other titles that you might see used such as

  • Nutrition Expert
  • Nutritional Specialist
  • Nutritional Therapist
  • Clinical Nutritionist
  • Wellness Coach

You may also find it helpful to know that at medical school doctors get very little training in nutrition (follow link to see pdf). Unless your GP or doctor has done further training their knowledge about nutrition might be very limited.  

If you are seeking to get advice on your diet, healthy eating and nutrition it’s best to do your research. Be sure to check what qualifications and experience somebody has before choosing who to work with.

Where do I check if a nutritionist is registered?

By using search the register on the Association for Nutrition website. 

Where do I check if a dietitian is registered?

By checking the Health & Care Professions Council online register


If you are looking for support I hope it helps you to enjoy food and improve your health. Good luck!

1 comment

  • Hi Ange

    There is not much clarity on what is good nutrition these days, kids don’t learn to cook anymore, food poverty means that people eat the cheapest ready meals and then when they get ill or overweight they lock into unhealthy diets. It’s outrageous that the NHS do not put good nutrition at the top of hospital and GP priorities. Eating cheaply is false economy. The body needs proper fuel in order to keep gut and brain functions in a state of wellbeing. You’ve only got to look at the soaring levels of anxiety and depression to realise this. We should be and could be a much healthier nation 🍐🥦🍳🥩🧀🐟🍎🥬🥕🥑🥚


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