All About Nutritionist: Who Are They, What Do They Do, And Do You Need One?

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Life is a race and to ace it, you need to give your 100%. Doing so is not an easy task. You can only give your best if you stay fit. Therefore, taking care of your health and nutrition is very important.

Talking about nutrition, you might know those self-taught nutritionists in your family. They try to monitor and alter your food habits or may advise some unwanted remedies.

They might try to help you from their side, but that’s not what you’re seeking. They might be unaware or miss out on details about you and your food.

If they have some basic knowledge of internet, they might help you with the names of some of the high protein foods or high fiber foods.

But this is not what a nutritionist might stop at, you need a person who has at least some knowledge in this field to guide you correctly. So you know it is better to look for an expert.

Yes, a nutritionist is the one for serving the purpose. People generally are unaware of their work and value. So let’s have a closer look at this profession and its necessity.

The term “nutritionist” refers to a person who gives advice or shares information regarding food and nutrition. These can be generic which affects health. They can deal with individuals and the masses. 

The term nutritionist is a wide spectrum term. It might or might not be protected by the law i.e. depending on the place, this term can be used for a person with some qualifications in the field of nutrition or no qualifications at all. 

This title can be used by self-taught individuals and professionals. It is now a full-fledged career blooming as people are becoming more conscious about their health and nutrition.

As people monitor their daily intake of carbs, vitamins, and minerals and keep an account of the foods they consume, this career is becoming more and more prominent these days.

These nutritionists can be found in schools, hospitals, and clinics. They work in both private and public spheres.

More governmental info here.

What Does A Nutritionist Do?

As a nutritionist deals with food and nutrition it is obvious they monitor and recommend a proper diet according to what is good for the client. 

They follow a series of steps for finding out the problem and suggesting a solution for it. At first, they communicate with their client, either an individual or a group, and try to figure out what their body and physique goals are.

These sessions are not only about what they eat but also about what they do daily. This helps the nutritionist to understand better the needs of that client.

After this, they try to make them aware and teach them what is right and what is wrong for them. This includes telling them what their body needs more and what they are missing.

The nutritionist might also conduct research based on the situation his or her client is facing. This is done to yield better results and get a more filtered and sorted diet plan. 

After this, a nutritionist prepares a diet plan according to the person. This means taking into consideration whether a person loves to cook or not.

They also keep in mind the budget and eating habits of the client. For example, if a person is picky when it comes to food or cannot afford expensive food items a nutritionist will recommend a nutrition plan based on what fulfills the basic needs of that person.

This is done because a person will only follow something which is easier to cope with and serves the purpose. The nutritionist stays in constant touch with a person thereafter, so that they can make the required changes from time to time.

How To Choose A Nutritionist For Weight Loss?

This could be a tricky question. As you never know what may suit you the best. But here are certain tips to follow which can help you to find the perfect nutritionist for your weight loss journey.

  • See What You Acquire To Be

    The first thing to do is to decide yourself first where you wish to see yourself. This means deciding on a particular goal for your weight loss.
    You can set your limits in terms of weight, time, or body shape. You might want to know some weight to fight in a particular weight category in wrestling or just want to set some pounds for body positivity.
    The goal you set and your needs will decide the nutritionist you need.

  • Ask Your Doctor

    As your doctor knows about your medical conditions, meditations and needs, there is a fair chance that he will recommend the right nutritionist for you.
    The plus point is he will also have contacts which will be beneficial as he will want the best for you.

  • Just Google It

    The era of technology offers the advantage of choosing the best. There is almost no area untouched by Google.
    You can see all the nutritionists around you and their reviews for selecting the best one. You can select the one nearby and with the best customer service.
    You can also see their accuracy rate and the number of happy clients all around.

  • Make Sure To Check Their Experience And Field Of Expertise

    Since the title of nutritionist varies from place to place and can be used by a self-taught person with no qualifications it is mandatory to check if your nutritionist is up to the mark.
    You can always go for a qualified nutritionist ora registered dietition
    (who is of course a nutritionist).
    Since a dietitian always has to clear some exams and have qualifications related to nutrition it can be a better choice.

    The effectiveness of a dietitian has been discussed here.

  • Choose The One That Offers Options And Flexibility

    Sometimes a nutritionist can just focus on one technique that might not suit your body and hence give no results.
    Therefore it is important to look for a nutritionist who has a variety of methods and techniques to solve your issues.

Is Nutritionist A Doctor?

The simple answer is no. Since we know that nutritionist is a wide spectrum term, they cannot be called a doctor.

To be a doctor one needs a medical degree it can be a bachelor’s degree in medicine or even a higher specialization like MD. On the other hand, nutritionists may or may not have qualifications.

They can be self-taught, from a private institute or a well-known university. They may or may not clear any exam to call themselves a nutritionist.

Dietician Vs Nutritionist

This can be confusing as they are often used interchangeably. They are indeed correlated but not synonymous. The very basic difference between both is in terms of qualification.

A dietician has a specific level of education with the bare minimum of a bachelor’s degree from accredited programs. They also need 12000 hours of supervised practice.

They also need to undergo re-accreditation every few years to keep up with the changing standards. Whereas a nutritionist may or may not refer to a person with qualifications. The actual qualifications needed, may vary from place to place. 

The second difference is that a dietitian could help someone with an illness or specific medical condition. But, a nutritionist just works on the overall wellness of the person. 

The thing to keep in mind is every dietician is a nutritionist but every nutritionist is not a dietician.

Other informational aspects are discussed in detail here.

Who Is A Veterinary Nutritionist?

A veterinary nutritionist is one who specializes in the field of animal nutrition. They have a bachelor’s degree in science for entry-level and then specializations are done in various fields like biology or biochemistry.

They are trained for a period of 2 to 3 years. They may also undergo an internship for a year. They work on the nutritional values of feeds, grasses, and nutrition for pets or stray animals even those in zoos.

They also conduct research and study animals in the laboratory. They could also be employed with companies for creating healthy products for animals.

Who Is A Pregnancy Nutritionist?

A pregnancy nutritionist is a person who has a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition along with a specialisation in pregnancy care and nutrition.

This involves certification and training. It is divided into two subcategories for instance prenatal nutritionist and postnatal nutritionist.

A prenatal nutritionist takes care of the nutrition of the mother and baby before and during pregnancy. On the contrary, postnatal nutritionists take care of the nutrition and body needs of women after delivery.

Who Is A Prenatal Nutritionist?

As stated above, prenatal nutritionist belongs to the category of pregnancy nutritionist. They monitor the needs of the female body before conceiving and while she’s pregnant.

They have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition with proper training backed up with research. They have a specialization in prenatal nutrition and care.

Final Words On Nutritionists

It is a broad term that accommodates both self-taught and well-qualified people in the field of nutrition. Every dietitian is a nutritionist.

They can be very helpful for a person as they can help maintain a healthy diet and see what’s going wrong. Your well-being needs to consult a nutritionist from time to time.

Also, choosing a nutritionist wisely is the key factor as one wrong decision can impact your overall health. It is important to not confuse the technical terms dietitian, nutritionist, and doctor.

All of them are different and equally vital. So the next time when you come across the term nutritionist you know what’s being talked about.

More info here on why the education in terms of professional courses matters for dietitians or a nutritionist.

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