A nutritionist is a person who has studied, and is an expert in, nutrition.

You might ask the question: what is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian? The answer isn’t as obvious as you think.

Anyone in Australia can call themselves a nutritionist or dietitian, no matter their training. Hence the most important thing is to ensure the practitioner you see is accredited by the relevant authority (the Nutrition Society of Australia has drawn up a voluntary register for nutritionists, so you can access this and find out of the practitioner you plan on visiting is all they say they are; while there is no actual course that guarantees registration, if they are on the register then they are the real deal). But to answer the question, a nutritionist completes a tertiary qualification in any number of fields, among them food science, public health or nutrition. A dietitian completes a tertiary course in food, nutrition and dietetics.

A visit to the nutritionist won’t be subjected to a rebate from Medicare and only a few private health insurers will cover it. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consult them for certain situations. If you require help in getting healthy through the right food choices, then a nutritionist is the practitioner you should make an appointment with. An accredited nutritionist will help you:

  • Lose weight
  • Break a weight-loss plateau
  • Increase your energy
  • Elevate mood
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve skin, nails and hair

Further, they should investigate sources of issues such as emotional eating, which might undermine your healthy eating habits. When you attend your initial visit, be honest with yourself and your nutritionist. Don’t conveniently leave out meals or snacks, and don’t underestimate their size. Besides, chances are they’ll know you’re lying and you’ll feel silly if they call you out on it. Listen to the nutritionist and take heed of what they say. After all, you’re visiting (and paying) them, and their job is to help you be healthy.

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