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Ever wondered what the difference is between a dietitian, nutritionist and nutritional therapist? We've got the lowdown

So you’ve decided you’d like to become a nutritional therapist – what’s next? There are a few things to consider when choosing how to train:

What is a nutritional therapist?

Nutritional therapists are fully independent professionals who assess the whole health status of the individual and work with the client to achieve and maintain health through nutritional means.

Nutritional therapy practitioners use a wide range of tools to assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and understand how these may contribute to an individual's symptoms and health concerns.

Practitioners consider each individual to be unique and recommend personalised nutrition and lifestyle programmes rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Anyone can call themselves a nutritional therapist. However, practitioners who have undertaken accredited training can register with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) to become a Registered Nutritional Therapist, as well as the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT).

To find out more about how to become a nutritional therapy practitioner, click here.

What is a dietitian?

In contrast to nutritional therapists, dietitians mainly work in the National Health Service or private clinics treating complex clinical conditions such as diabetes, food allergies and intolerances, IBS syndrome, eating disorders, chronic fatigue, malnutrition, kidney failure and bowel disorders.

Only those registered with the statutory regulator, the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), can call themselves a dietitian and the only route to become one is through degree level education.

The minimum requirement is a BSc Hons in Dietetics, or a related science degree with a postgraduate diploma or higher degree in Dietetics.

What is a nutritionist? 

Nutrition scientists (nutritionists) often work outside of the clinical context, in research, industry or education.

There are many courses of varying lengths available in nutrition, hence anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. However, courses that have applied and met strict standards of professional education in nutrition are accredited by the Association for Nutrition (AfN). Professionals from accredited courses can then apply to the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) and call themselves a Registered Nutritionist (RNutrs).


About ION:

ION is a leading provider of accredited nutritional therapy training, established in 1984. ION’s BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy is validated by the University of Portsmouth. Be part of a growing community of nutritional therapists and build a rewarding, flexible career helping others to make positive lifestyle changes.