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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?

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    Melissa Adamski

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I am an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and Accredited Nutritionist (AN) with a passion for food and good nutrition. I also have my own private … View Profile

    Here is information for the Dietitians Association of Australia's  (DAA) website about the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist:

    “In Australia there is a distinction made between dietitians and other occupations in the nutrition and food science field, including that of nutritionist.The key difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is that, in addition to or as part of their qualification in human nutrition, a dietitian has undertaken a course of study that included substantial theory and supervised and assessed professional practice in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management.Therefore, in Australia, all dietitians are considered to be nutritionists however, nutritionists without a dietetics qualification cannot take on the specialised role of a dietitian”

    Nutrition Australia also has a good description of the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist here:

    Nutrition Australia does say that “When seeking the advice of a nutrition professional, it is therefore important to ensure that you consult with someone who has a credential which is provided and governed by either the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) or the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA).”

  • Ashleigh is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD, AN) and registered with the Dietitian's Association of Australia with experience in both clinical and private practice. Ashleigh's … View Profile

    Accredited Practising Dietitians (who sometimes call themselves nutritionists) are accredited by the Dietitians’ Association of Australia. To qualify as an APD takes a minimum of four years’ university study in nutrition and dietetics. It’s the dietetics qualification that separates a dietitian from someone with a degree in nutrition science alone. Dietetics is the study of how food and nutrition are used to manage or treat health problems. For a qualification in this area, dietitians need to have supervised experience working with clients.

    APDs are recognised by Medicare. This means you may be eligible for a Medicare, Department of Veterans’ Affairs or private health fund rebate on services.

    In Australia, all dietitians are considered to be nutritionists, but nutritionists without a dietetics qualification cannot work as dietitians. Dietitians are particularly helpful for people with a medical condition they hope to manage through diet – think diabetes, food intolerance or heart disease – as their training includes a significant health science element. Accredited nutritionists, on the other hand, may have expertise in a range of nutrition services including public health nutrition, community health and tertiary education related to nutrition, according to Nutrition Australia. They are not qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy.

    Dietitian: Weight loss, increasing energy levels, balancing mood and hormone swings, and managing underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, food allergies and intolerances.

    Nutritionist: General advice and individual guidance, rather than clinical interventions. Nutritionists often work in advisory roles for organisations.


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