The term “nutritionist” represents a wide range of individuals who provide guidance regarding how food and nutrition impacts their clients’ health. In the United Kingdom, Australia, parts of Canada and most US states, the term nutritionist is not legally protected, whereas the title of dietitian is regulated. Different professional terms are used in different countries, employment settings and contexts to classify this profession. Some examples include: nutrition scientist, behavioral nutritionist, public health nutritionist, dietitian nutritionist, clinical nutritionist, and sports nutritionist.
What is required to be a Nutritionist?
Nutritionists do not go through the dietitian training and licensure, and typically work in more holistic types of nutrition settings. There are now many nutritionist bachelor’s degree programs and training schools that offer degrees in nutrition. There are a variety of specialized certifications in nutrition as well in many different countries, including the US.
What does a Nutritionist do?
Being a nutritionist requires more than just talking about food or telling people what to eat. Nutritionists look at a person as a whole; they look at their lifestyles, habits, diet, and more. After getting to know a client’s lifestyle, nutritionists create a “treatment” plan with them, based on realistic needs and goals. Nutritionists are responsible for supporting and motivating clients as they adjust to their new diets and lifestyles.
They will often work with clients looking to: adopt healthier lifestyles, plan meals/meal planning, address weight concerns or health conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, allergies) and food sensitivities. Nutritionists often work within healthcare teams providing a wide range of services related to diet, nutrition and health in order to help their clients achieve overall wellness.
If interested in any of the wellness services a nutritionist can provide, contact Meridian Behavioral Health’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.