Saturday, 23 February 2013

Dietitian vs Nutritionist

Dietitian and nutritionist are different professions.

For those from Malaysia, you will only see dietitian in hospital. Dietitians are those who are trained to give diet education and counseling regarding diet control for those who are diseased.

For example, patients with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, high cholesterol will be referred by doctors to see dietitian in diet clinic. Diet education will be given to patients so that their diet will be able to controlled as a supplementary treatment for the disease itself apart from seeing doctor and taking medicine.

Dietitians will see patients mainly with chronic disease as those diseases are closely related to diet and nutrition. Dietitians provide education on diet control, or may be I should say dietitians incharge of everything related to diet.

Dietitians see patients with malnutrition, either undernutrition or overnutrition. For those who are not eating well, dietitians provides tips and solutions in order to increase intake and improve patients' intake. This includes providing oral supplements or plan for tube feeding regime for those who feed through tube.

While for those who suffered from overnutrition, education is given on how to control intake, how to reduce weight and provide information of foods that should be avoid for certain health problems.

Dietitian normally treats patients but nutritionist works with healthy population. Therefore you can find a lot of nutritionists out there working in various sectors such as slimming centre, nutrition company, lab, food production company, factory, so on and so forth.

However, most dietitians work in hospital, of course there are also dietitians who leave the medical line and join for sales. But I wondering whether they are still recognised as dietitian after leaving medical line.

Hope this helps to clarify the difference of dietitian and nutritionist. For students out there, be careful when choosing course since dietitian is different with nutritionist. If you like diet & nutrition and are more interested in treating patients in clinical setting, then dietetics will suit you more. If you do not like clinical setting, or working in hospital setting, I believe nutrition course is better for you.

Welcome to contact me for any inquiry.

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