There are a number of questions I get asked all the time, so I thought I would keep them all together in one place. Feel free to ask any burning nutrition questions you have in the comments and I will endeavor to answer them.
What is my qualification?
I am an Associate Nutritionist, and I completed a Bachelor of Health Science with a major in Nutrition in 2015. Iv’e also spent 5 years within the health industry in Administration, so I have a huge amount of experience and knowledge in dealing with patients and their health.
Who do I see?
While i’d love to say I see everyone, I generally deal with people who are already healthy, and are simply looking for some professional advice and opinion to clarify some of the confusion they have had about what to eat and what to feed their family. I don’t see anyone who has a chronic condition, or is looking for nutrition to “treat” anything. I deal with general health and nutrition on a day to day basis, providing you with things like meal plans, nutrition advice for your family, dietary analysis, menu planning, healthy shopping (and supermarket tours), workshops and advice on diet and nutrition fads.
If you have a chronic condition or something that needs individual attention (Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, IBS, a food intolerance etc) then you NEED to see a dietitian, they are specifically trained to help support your specific food requirements. Even better, find one who specialises in your condition! If you need help finding a Dietitian then pop on to the Dietitian’s Association of Australia website.
What is nutrition?
Nutrition is the science of analyzing foods and how they interact with one another and with the human body, in relation to growth, repair, disease, health and reproduction. It includes metabolism, food intake, absorption, assimilation, catabolism and excretion.
What is a diet?
In general a diet is what an organism eats based on availability, processing and palatability of food, it is the kinds of food that the organism eat regularity . A healthy diet is one which includes all essential nutrients and will aid in achieving your optimum health over your lifetime, as well as being key to avoiding obesity, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. The other definition of “a diet” is a specific course of food which a persons restricts themselves to, in order to loose weight or for health reasons.
What is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?
A dietitian can be a nutritionist, however a nutritionist cannot be a dietitian. Although many people use the terms interchangeably, there are a vast number of differences between the two. A dietitian has to meet specific educational requirements, as well as passing practical supervised practice, and a number of specific exams. Although some nutritionist will go through much of the same content and requirements, only a certified dietitian can call themselves dietitians. Basically, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even if they have never completed any formal nutrition qualifications.
Dietitians are bound by certain requirements and must pass certification by the Dietitians association of Australia (DAA), and must have at minimum a Bachelors degree in Dietetics, which includes units in food science and nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, medical nutrition therapy as well as many more. Even after passing everything, Dietitians are required to complete further education to ensure they are always up to date with the latest nutrition research.
On the other hand, there is no regulatory board for Nutritionists, which means anyone can claim they are a Nutritionist. That isn’t to say however that there aren’t many great Nutritionist out there who are highly qualified, experienced and keeping up to date with the latest nutrition research. And don’t get me wrong, I personally know a number of great Nutritionists, who are highly experienced and keep up to date with the latest research. Its just for me there is a good reason why I will be completing a total of 5 years full time study, doing a large amount of supervised practical work, and passing a number of exams to become a registered Dietitian, rather than doing a short nutrition course and starting seeing patients immediately.
The biggest difference, is that you can 100% trust that any registered Dietitian WILL be a nutrition expert, will have a large amount of experience and will be up to date with the latest research. And that’s a huge difference when your health is on the line.