Online Nutritionist or Online Dietitian: That is the Question!
Our food is our fuel.
At Connectable Life, we understand that our body and mind are connected and interrelated. What affects one, affects the other. We also understand that the food and nutrition we ingest is our body’s petrol and therefore vitally important for both our physical and mental health. Therefore, we place so much value on the role of both a dietitian and nutritionist. But what exactly is their role and what is the difference between the two? More specifically, how does one know when to see an online dietitian versus an online nutritionist?
What is an online dietitian?
A dietitian is a qualified health professional with training in all aspects and fields of nutrition therapy. They are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) (or the health board of the country in which they studied) and have a wide scope of practice.
According to the University of Cape Town, ‘Dietitians are qualified to understand and interpret the science of food and nutrition, access nutritional needs, advise on nutrition and diet for general good health or special needs e.g., medical conditions, athletes etc as well as implement and manage nutrition services and programs, undertake research and develop nutrition communications, programs and policies.’ What is a dietitian | Division of Human Nutrition (uct.ac.za)
Dietitians can assist in the treatment and prevention of many medical conditions and lifestyle diseases through nutritional therapy. Conditions include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure (high), cholesterol (high), HIV/AIDS, TB, IBS, constipation, ulcerative colitis and many more.
Dietitians are also there to provide nutritional guidance and advice for the different waves and stages of life: pregnancy, infancy, breastfeeding, baby and toddler weening, postpartum, sports nutrition, allergies and intolerances, eating disorders as well as old age.
What is an online nutritionist?
Nutritionists advise people on what to eat to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal. They are an expert in the field of food and nutrition.
According to Career Explorer What does a nutritionist do? – CareerExplorer, a nutritionist explains nutrition and what it can do for the client, assesses a client’s health needs and current diet, develops meal plans according to the client’s budget and preferences, evaluates the effects of the meal plan and makes changes as and when needed and promotes better nutrition by giving talks about the relationship between good eating habits and preventing or managing specific diseases.
What is the difference between an online dietitian and an online nutritionist?
Dietitians and nutritionists are both nutrition experts who have studied how diet and dietary supplements can affect your health and how to improve or maintain your health through nutritional guidance. Both are healthcare professionals, but the titles should not be used interchangeably. Dietitians tend to have more education and credentials, although this may not ALWAYS be the case. Many nutritionists have advanced degrees and have passed nutritionist certification boards to obtain protected titles or speciality certificates in designated areas.
The main difference, in South Africa, between a dietitian and a nutritionist is that a dietitian has a four-year BSc degree and is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HSPCA).
So, who should I see?
If you have a more general concern or goal (like weight-loss or improving your overall health) or want to become more educated in terms of nutrition and diet and its effect on the body, then a nutritionist is for you. If you have a medical condition or a lifestyle disease (such as diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer) that you want managed or controlled, then it may be best for you to see a dietitian.
The bottom line?
Food gives us all the nutrients and energy we need to survive and THRIVE. Diet and nutrition are pivotal to being healthy and feeling happy. Food has the power to prevent and control disease. Food has the power to keep our minds stimulated and happy. Healthy Body; Healthy mind. Healthy Mind; Happy Heart.
So, how much thought, or how much do you know about what you are putting into your body?
If you can find an online dietitian or nutritionist that you connect with, it is the best investment that you can make in your health, happiness, and yourself. With Google, articles, tips, and advice on overflow and at your fingertips, it can be really confusing and overwhelming. You need a personalized approach and a qualified sounding board, and an online dietitian or online nutritionist can do exactly this: giving you all the clarity you need.