When it comes to getting expert advice on nutrition and diet, there are a lot of choices out there. So how do you know who is going to be able to provide you with the advice that you need? And more importantly, how do you know if they have the expertise and qualifications to really help you achieve your health goals? In this blog post, we’ll explore the difference between dietitians and other experts such as naturopaths, personal trainers, and nutritionists.
Naturopaths are not regulated by any specific body in Australia, which means that anyone can call themselves a naturopath without any formal qualifications. In contrast, dietitians must have completed at least four years of accredited university training specifically around nutrition science. Dietitians are also required to be members of the Dietitians Australia (DA). A Naturopath can assist to manage many different health conditions, usually by prescribing naturopathic medications. A dietician will assist you by manipulation of your current diet using real food and will also provide behavioral change counselling to assist you to make changes sustainable.
Personal trainers focus on helping their clients exercise safely and effectively to reach their fitness goals. While they may have some knowledge about nutrition, their expertise is primarily in exercise science. In contrast, dietitians are experts in nutrition and have extensive knowledge about the role of food in maintaining overall health. A good personal trainer will know the limitations of their role around nutrition and simply encourage healthy eating or recommend a dietitian; a red flag would be if they tell you to start cutting out healthy foods e.g., carbohydrates from your diet.
In Australia, the term “nutritionist” is not regulated, which means that anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even if they have only done a 6 week course, or no training at all. Dieticians must have completed at least four years of accredited university training specifically around nutrition science, and are considered medical nutrition scientists. Dietitians can also call themselves Nutritionists and Dietitians Australia recognises the term Accredited Nutritionist or Accredited Practising Dietitian. An Accredited Practising Dietitian or Accredited Nutritionist commits to 30 hours of professional development per year which is overseen by Dietitians Australia so you can be sure their knowledge is up to date.
When it comes to getting expert advice on nutrition and diet, it’s important to choose someone who is qualified and experienced. Accredited Practising Dietitians fit this bill perfectly – they have extensive knowledge about nutrition science and are regulated by Dietitians Australia. If you’re looking for help achieving your health goals, we recommend seeing a dietitian for tailored advice that is based on research rather than the latest trends.
For a more in-depth, custom approach to your circumstance, book a call with me now so we can explore this further.
Lisa is a Dietitian, behaviour change coach, mentor, speaker and author. She has been practicing over 23 years and specializes in holistically customizing diet and lifestyle plans to each individual for weight loss and a healthy relationship with food. Her clientele often report they feel the best they have ever felt and wish they had started sooner, as they have no guilt around eating and have successfully changed the way they look at eating well and losing weight.