I have been asked this question a lot since starting my nutritional therapy course so I thought it would be worth clarifying just so you can get a better idea of who you may need to see.
A registered nutritional therapist (NT) will use a wide range of tools to recognise possible nutritional imbalances and identify how these may be causing an individual’s symptoms. They work on the premise that each individual is unique and tailor personalised nutrition and lifestyle programmes rather than implementing a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Nutritional therapy is known as a complementary medicine and is appropriate for individuals with chronic conditions, as well as those who would like support to improve their health and well-being. The therapy is not a replacement for medical advice and the therapist will always refer a client to a medical practitioner when deemed appropriate. NT’s will work closely with the relevant health care professional to provide information on recommended programmes. A NT is trained in clinical practice to provide one on one health care advice.
A dietician is regulated by law and is usually affiliated with the National Health Service. General Practitioners refer patients to a dietitian where there is any sign of harmful health effects from diet. Dieticians use nutritional science to create eating plans for patients to treat medical conditions. They also actively work towards promoting good health. Like a NT, a dietician is trained in clinical practice to provide one on one health care advice.
Nutritionists are typically affiliated with the food industry to provide evidence-based information to individuals on the benefits of healthy eating. Nutritionists are not trained in a clinical setting.