Know your Nutrition Expert
Do you know your nutrition expert from your nutrition-know-it-all?
Not all nutrition advice is created equal, so you should know what you are signing up for when it comes to obtaining nutrition advice and to choose the approach that is right for you, because it can make all the difference.
It seems everybody wants to offer nutrition advice these days and some are not concerned about their lack of any training or qualification to offer it. Think celebrities and influencers with no training whatsoever but will offer their nutrition advice anyway.
It is helpful to know the difference between your nutrition professionals.
Functional Medicine Doctor
A functional medicine doctor is likely to be someone who has been trained in conventional medicine and has extra training to apply a Functional Medicine approach. This is a systems-based approach that looks at what the underlying biochemical imbalances and drivers for chronic conditions and the application of…. A functional medicine practitioner is someone who employs this approach in their clinical practice.
A dietician is a highly trained and qualified professional that is able to assess, diagnose and treat nutritional issues by prescribing a diet that is aimed at a specific disease population. Dietitians use evidence-based practice and are insured and registered by a professional body. Dieticians typically work within a hospital setting (such as the NHS in the UK), although some do work privately. Dietician is a protected title by law.
Nutritionist is not a protected title, and this means anybody can actually call themselves a nutritionist regardless of their training, qualification, or experience. Nutrition scientists and nutritionists often work outside of a clinical context, within research, industry, or public education sectors. Within the UK look for registered associate nutritionists (ANutrs) or registered nutritionists (RNutrs) as they are deemed competent and qualified.
Nutritional therapists are extensively trained, qualified, and registered by the professional body BANT (British Society for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine) and the CNHC (Complementary Healthcare Council). Nutritional Therapists are insured to work clinically and work privately with clients in 1:1 confidential consultations. Nutritional therapists are similar to dietitians, using the latest science and evidence-informed practice, the main difference is that nutritional therapists use a personalised, holist, functional medicine approach rather than a one-sized-fits all protocol approach. Recommendations are based on in-depth analysis of a client’s case history, and symptoms, as well as their diet, lifestyle, environmental, and genetics factors on the state of health. Nutritional therapist is also not a protected title so ensure they are BANT and CNHC registered.
And the rest
Health coaches focus on behaviour change to enlist positive habitual change for clients.
Personal trainers often offer nutrition advice but generally have limited formal training to support this, unless suitable qualified alongside their training.
All of the above professionals are valuable and can make valuable contributions to your health, just think about what is right for you personally.