Dietitian vs Nutritionist: What’s The Difference?

Dietitian vs Nutritionist: What’s The Difference?

Most of the time, people get confused what a dietitian and a nutritionist is. Sometimes, they even assume it’s the same person. How does one know if they’re a dietitian or a nutritionist? And, what person do they need to see if they have dietary problems? And, what exactly do these people do? Are they the people who check every morsel you eat? Do you have to pay them a good amount? What exactly about them makes them required?

Dietitians and Nutritionists: Their Importance

One thing common between the Dietitian and nutritionist is their specialty: diets. Especially with the creation of artificial foods and the rise of obesity in people, Dietitians and nutritionists have their work cut out for them. And at times, they have to work with other doctors such as cardiologists or even psychologists.

While most of their patients go to them when they have a problem with food, Dietitians and nutritionists know that they will meet resistance. Resistance is a psychological term in which the patient does not want to cooperate with the said method. The resistance can be expressed explicitly or implicitly. Some of these forms of resistance can include:

  • Short answers
  • Long pauses that answers the question with “I don’t know”.
  • Angry outburst
  • Downright refusal to answer the question.

And because of this, it can be hard to treat a patient who simply refuses to cooperate. But sometimes, the refusal to cooperate may be due to the cultural connotation. The cultural connotation to the difference as to what a dietitian and a nutritionist are.

Dietitian vs Nutritionist

Certain people don’t like being told by someone who they believe is not certified. And that’s the main problem of nutritionists. Nutritionists are not a legally held position, meaning it’s possible they don’t have a license to back up their knowledge. And knowing people around, they would downright reject any advice coming from the nutritionist despite being armed with the knowledge. And even if the patient is already suffering, they will still refuse all because they believe they’re not legally one.

On the other hand, Dietitians is a legal title which comes with licensure. Dietitians can also be armed with a medical degree which makes them even more licensed to treat the person. Another is that all dietitians are qualified health professionals that assess, treat, and diagnose people’s diets and food on a public level. They are capable of also handing out supplements and medicines that will help improve a person’s lifestyle and diet to help them solve their nutritional problems.

Cooperation with other departments

However, the deficiencies in certain people in their diet may also be caused by other things. For example, the loss of calories and speedy loss of weight may be due to a psychological disorder known as anorexia nervosa. Because of this, the dietitian and the psychologist must work together to get the patient to eat properly again. While the psychologist helps the patient come up with ways to cope and to embrace how their body is, the dietitian helps restore them back to their former healthy self before they submitted to their anorexia nervosa.

Again, dietitians don’t just trick sick people. They also treat healthy people. Athletes most of the time hire dietitians in case they need to hit a certain weight division or they need their performance to be at a certain level. They’re also heavily important when they deal with people who are trying to get into weight loss.


Parker, A. R., Byham-Gray, L., Denmark, R., & Winkle, P. J. (2014). The effect of medical nutrition therapy by a registered dietitian nutritionist in patients with prediabetes participating in a randomized controlled clinical research trial. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(11), 1739-1748.

Beto, J. A., Ramirez, W. E., & Bansal, V. K. (2014). Medical nutrition therapy in adults with chronic kidney disease: Integrating evidence and consensus into practice for the generalist registered dietitian nutritionist. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(7), 1077-1087.

Andersen, D., Baird, S., Bates, T., Chapel, D. L., Cline, A. D., Ganesh, S. N., … & Jones, S. L. (2018). Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Revised 2017 scope of practice for the registered dietitian nutritionist. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 118(1), 141-165.

Thompson, R. L., Summerbell, C. D., Hooper, L., Higgins, J. P., Little, P., Talbot, D., & Ebrahim, S. (2003). Dietary advice given by a dietitian versus other health professional or self‐help resources to reduce blood cholesterol. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3).

Mom Pamper

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