Article Image

What is the difference between a dietician and nutritionist?

  • Posted on- Apr 21, 2016
  • 2
Written by site author.

Eating the right foods and following a healthy diet is imperative to build and maintain excellent health conditions. There are certain types of food items that must be avoided, and other food items that must be consumed to stay healthy. There are some qualified professionals who perform the task of informing people about these foods. Dieticians and nutritionists are such professional but people are often confused between the two, thinking they perform the same task. But, the truth is that even though both deal with healthy food and nutritional information, there are many fundamental differences between the two professions.

Both these fields deal with informing and educating people about the relationship between eating a proper diet and living a healthy life, but the difference between them comes out in the way that they carry out their work. The main difference is the formality of training that they receive, and the credibility of their operations.


A dietician is a qualified professional who enables people to maintain good health by suggesting what food they should consume, and in what quantities. A dietician will chalk out an entire food chart for a person, and inform them about their various benefits. Information about the proportion of each item will also fall under the expertise of a dietician.

A nutritionist, on the other hand, is a health specialist in a way, and his job is to primarily study and advocate nutritional science to people. He will recommend the consumption of certain nutrients, and dish out advice and information regarding any diseases that may arise as a result of nutritional deficiencies.


Though their definition is quite similar, the difference between them becomes clearer when you consider the qualifications that they both require in order to practice their profession. A dietician requires a more formal mode of education as they are not permitted to practice without completing at least a bachelor's degree in food sciences or dietetics. A degree in a related field like food system management is also permissible.

On the other hand, a nutritionist does not necessarily require such a professional degree. It can simply be someone who has studied the field and advocates whatever they know to people who respect their opinion. It is more of an informal form of advice. However, there are professional degrees and licenses available for them as well, that enable them to practice and improve their credibility and standing.


The prominence and significance of both these professions is well-known in the health sector, as both of them stress on the importance of good eating habits on the overall health of a person. Since a dietician is a qualified health professional, you will most commonly find one at a hospital, a clinic, or any other long-term care facility.

The informality of a nutritionist means that they will be found in facilities where people focus more on short-term care, and the dishing out of advice is more of an informal kind. The most common place to find them is at a gymnasium, or at any local drug store or health store.


Another major difference between dietician and nutritionist is the types of each profession that exist. They are mainly of two types - those that work as consultants, either for a private practice of their own or for a health institution, and those that are hired by a company for carrying out research and marketing activities.

Dieticians can be classified as management dieticians, community dieticians, and clinical dieticians. The first category works for health agencies that educate people about healthy eating habits, second category treats patients that come to them for advice, and third category plans and supervises healthy meals for institutions like schools and colleges.

All in all, anyone can claim to be a nutritionist, so one must be wary before approaching them for advice. Since a license is not mandatory for them, anybody can portray himself/herself as one. Therefore, approaching a qualified and licensed dietician is a much better option. Both professions do not differ in many respects, apart from this one.


user profile image
30-10-2016 05:24 PM

Nice information shared. There used to be lots of confusion between dietitian and nutritionist. Now solved.

user profile image
03-07-2016 06:00 AM

Would like to have my appointment book through Lazoi.

Ask a Query