Dieticians work in a variety of settings, from the NHS to education, publishing, sport and in government roles. Their expertise can be applied on a one-to-one basis to treat diagnosed conditions such as diabetes, cancer or kidney disease or on a wider scale to inform the general public about food and health policy or educating health professionals about nutrition. They are statutorily regulated by the Health Professional Council. Nutritional therapists typically work in private practice seeing individuals on a one-to-one basis to focus on optimising health or helping to manage symptoms associated with chronic disease. Nutritional therapists take into account that every person is unique and has an individual set of dietary requirements as a consequence of factors such as current and past diet and lifestyle choices plus genetic predisposition.
Nutritional therapists apply nutrition science to promote health and well-being. To do this, a nutritional therapist will use a range of tools to evaluate the health of a patient, then subsequently give advice on lifestyle and dietary/nutritional practices to maintain good health, reduce the risk of disease and help support chronic conditions. This is all underpinned by the recognition that every person is unique and, therefore, the programmes they devise are personally tailored to the client.
Nutritional therapists also follow the Functional Medicine Model which looks at, amongst other things, how diet, lifestyle and genetics can all play an important part in the makeup of an individual.
It’s important to remember that nutritional therapy is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and if a practitioner identifies any ‘red flag’ symptoms indicative of a serious health issue, they will refer clients to an appropriate medical professional