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Should I See A Dietician Or A Nutritionist?

From satisfying your midnight cravings, to adopting a healthy eating pattern, to going vegan– a dietician or a nutritionist is the one who will stick with you for the long haul. But let’s first learn precisely about who they are and how they differ!

By Ameya Arora
06 Jun 2022

When stuck on the same numbers on the weighing scale for months, or generally feeling unhappy about your eating patterns, approaching a qualified health professional is notoriously popular. Working with a registered dietician or a nutritionist expands your knowledge of nutritious food and how you can inculcate healthy eating patterns in your routine. But how do you know who is good for you? Though the two professionals are closely related to each other, and sometimes even work in accordance, they have distinct qualities and qualifications. Let’s start by understanding what these terms actually mean.


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So, Who Exactly are They?

Dieticians primarily curate personalised diet plans, meals, and nutrition strategies tailored to suit your needs. They promote healthy eating habits among individuals to prevent various health problems and diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, food allergy, and eating disorders. They educate you about healthy food options, nutritional needs, food safety, supplements, and much more. They are experts who provide nutrition therapy and nutrition counselling as per your needs. They are well versed with the latest research and medical advice to guide their patients.


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A nutritionist follows a more holistic approach as compared to a dietician. They are the ones who guide you about general nutrition and health properties of food and evaluate individuals to improve their well-being through better food and nutrition. They advise people about healthy diet, lifestyle and overall well-being. While a nutritionist is a general term, and can be used by anyone, dieticians have to attain a certain license to be able to practice or call themselves a dietician. So a person who is a nutritionist would be required to undergo professional training and earn a license to practice as a dietician. So although both of the professionals have a similar career path and practice, the two terms are not interchangeable.


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Seeing A Dietician

A dietician will partner with you to develop a safe and realistic eating plan that you can stick with for the long haul. They use creative and out-of-the-box strategies to help with meal planning, grocery shopping and mindful eating, all of which motivates you to stay healthy.


You May Want To Consider Seeing A Dietician If -


1. You Have Digestion Issues

A dietician gets to the root cause of your symptoms by evaluating your eating pattern and reviewing the foods that you eat. They partner with you to identify which food triggers your digestion issues and then heal your gut with a personalised diet and supplement plan.


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2. You’re In Your Pregnancy Journey

A dietician assists you in a healthy pregnancy. They make sure that you get all the right nutrients to keep you healthy and in good shape. Even after you have a baby, they curate healthy eating plans for the mother and baby to facilitate good health and well-being.


3. You’re Sensitive To Certain Foods

Unsure if you have food allergies, intolerance, or any other related condition? Seeking guidance about your health from a dietician can prove beneficial. They teach you helpful ways and strategies to identify foods that aren’t suited to your body and then help you find equivalent substitutes for a balanced diet.


4. You Wish To Lose Or Gain Weight

This is perhaps the most common reason for approaching a dietician. They work closely and suggest calorie sources for healthy weight gain. Or, they help in designing a personalised weight loss plan, by introducing certain diet changes, promoting physical activity, and still including your favourite foods.


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5. You Want Practical Lifestyle Advice

Need help understanding the facts and fiction of nutrition headlines? Learn how to read labels at the supermarket, master healthy cooking which can be inexpensive, understand how to dine out consciously, and how to manage cravings and temptations. A dietician is your cure-all for all these things!


Seeing A Nutritionist

A nutritionist will help you identify available healthy food choices, educate you about the necessary nutrient requirements while encouraging you to enjoy what you are eating. So, if you believe that you are worried about prepping your next meal and obsessing over your food choices, a nutritionist is your go-to friend at the moment.


You May Want To Consider Seeing A Nutritionist If -


1. You Wish To Reach Healthy Weight

Have you struggled with your weight for quite a time now, tried all the trendy diets, but ended up frustrated because you are unaware about what is a healthy weight for you? A nutritionist can help in this scenario. They consider everything from your family history, hormones, lifestyle, and health issues to understand your body, and guide you towards an optimal weight.


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2. Your Lab Values Are Disturbing

If you recently got your overall health check-up done and noticed that certain blood tests came out to be abnormal, then it may be time to see a nutritionist. A nutritionist thoroughly studies your reports to determine how your body is reacting to what you are eating. Then they help you work towards normalising these values. This can act as a preventive measure against chronic conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.


3. You Wish To Build A Healthy Plate

A nutritionist can help you in meal planning. Rather than trusting the health hacks available on the internet, listen to your nutritionist. Ask them about the various diets trending in the market like keto, intermittent fasting, veganism, etc., and discuss if they are right for you.


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4. You Are Suffering From Mood Disorders

If you are going through conditions like anxiety, or burnout, a carefully thought off food plan can make a huge difference. You must have already heard that there’s a connection between the mind and the body. Good nutrition can facilitate your experience of positive affective experiences by reducing the stress hormones.


5. You Wish To Improve Your Current Eating Habits

Different eating habits have different effects on your health. Switching from a regular diet to a vegan diet doesn't necessarily mean you will be healthier. A vegan diet may be healthier than your ordinary diet that you have been taking for years, but only if planned according to your nutrition needs. Otherwise it may lack key nutrients that could lead to nutritional deficiencies. A nutritionist helps you there, helping you make right choices.


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