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Wondering about the key differences between nutritionists and dieticians? These are two terms for notable professions that most people are readily familiar with in India. However, you should keep in mind that there are some tangible differences between these two job roles and their scope along with the overall educational qualifications and some other aspects.
The first difference between a dietician and nutritionist pertains to the qualifications. For a dietician, there has to be a Bachelor’s degree in the subject along with a dietetic internship being completed. A national examination has to be successfully passed and on-going educational credentials have to be maintained thereafter. This is something that all aspiring dieticians should carefully keep in mind. While on the other hand, for a nutritionist, the title itself is not given by any body or association and there are no hard and fast educational qualifications required for the same. It does not require clearing of an examination. This is the first and the chief difference between a dietician and nutritionist.
The second difference between a dietician and nutritionist pertains to the specific definition in question. The definition of a dietician by all means is a certified and qualified health professional in India who will be helping and aiding in the promotion of proper and better health via suitable and good nutritional practices and habits. At the same time, the definition of a nutritionist is slightly different. It basically means a professional or an individual who works in the field of food and nutrition science in India. It means someone who works with a clear goal in mind, i.e. prevention of diseases and lifestyle ailments linked to deficiencies in nutrients. This is the key difference in definitions as far as dieticians and nutritionists are concerned.
The third and vital difference between a nutritionist and dietician pertains to the legal status of both these professions. The legal status of a dietician means that the dietician is a nutritional expert and the professional is registered with the CDR (Commission of Dietetics Registration). A dietician is also suitably licensed for practicing nutrition and diet consultation. At the same time, a nutritionist is not legally an expert. This is the third and the major difference that you should keep in mind when it comes to comparing dieticians and nutritionists.
A registered dietician should complete a nutrition bachelor’s degree and also specialize in dietetics. A bachelor’s degree will emphasize upon vital areas of food service and food service management along with chemistry, food science, medical nutrition therapy, biochemistry, physiology and anatomy. Post completion of the undergraduate course, students are required to finish their dietetic internship. These dietetic internships are usually done within the aegis of healthcare facilities, universities or other food service management companies. The internship will be an extensive internship program, needing 1200 hours of properly supervised practice in clinical, community and food service categories.
Post the completion of the dietetic internship, students will have to sit for a national examination via the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Post passing the examination, the professional will then be known as a dietician and should hold a license in their state of practice. A dietician will be required to finish continuing education in his/her field, suitable for his/her professional field and area of expertise. Registered nutritionists or dieticians may work in hospitals and healthcare facilities, insurance companies, corporate wellness entities, food and beverage industries, outpatient practices, sports teams, food service categories, public health sectors, gymnasiums and wellness centers, research and academics, universities and media. You should understand the differences carefully between dieticians and nutritionists.