The difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist

Do you know what the difference between a Dietitian and a nutritionist is?

While both can be accredited, a Dietitian has undergone more specific and specialised training and can work with a variety of health-related and medical conditions. Sports Dietitians have undergone further training and have to engage in continuing professional development to keep this title, with many professional sports within Australia now making it mandatory that an accredited sports Dietitian (AccSD) be employed. This is particularly important to mitigate risk and to ensure that athletes can perform in peak condition. In short, a Dietitian is specifically qualified in terms of understating how digestion affects the science within the body.


On the other hand, the main role of a nutritionist is to help people achieve optimal health by providing information and advice about health and food choices. Whilst many nutritionists promote that they are suitably qualified to work with a range of conditions, this is often not the case and it's always worthwhile doing your research. Nutritionists do not have to be specifically qualified in nutrition and can hold a wide range of qualifications such as public health or community health.


At the end of the day, depending on your goals, it's best to get in touch with a couple of providers to see how and if they align to your needs and objectives. Always ensure that the person you’re trusting for advice is qualified to an appropriate standard and what they’re promoting is backed by legitimate evidence.

This article was written by Rebekah Alcock (APD, AccSD, BPH, BNut(Hons), MNutrDiet), an Accredited Practising Dietitian, and Accredited Sports Dietitian who practises at Lakeside Sports Medicine. If you would like to book an appointment with Rebekah to evaluate your diet and how changing it can improve your recovery, well-being or training, click here. What's more, if you are a MSAC Performance member, you will also receive 10% off.