Many individuals have come to me regarding my title, “Clinical Nutritionist” and have asked, “What is a clinical nutritionist?” “How is it different from a nutritionist and dietician?”
All 3 professions work with food, water and dietary supplements as a means to create nutrition programs for clients/patients. The following will provide the difference in the professions.
A “dietician” in the state of NJ as in many other states must complete a specific academia of a curriculum. Following a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and an internship is required. Followed by passing the national exam in order to get the license and practice as an R.D., a registered dietician. It is a regulated profession and thus accepts insurance plans.
A “nutritionist” is a less regulated profession. The title is not protected. In many states as in the state of NJ, there is a choice either to be regulated or not. The individual may choose to follow the path of a license, thus, attend an accredited university and continue to earn a Master’s degree in nutrition and pass the accredited board exam provided by the state in order to receive a license. This is a governing body and is regulated. Taking this route, the licensed nutritionist is a regulated profession and accepts insurance plans.
Another alternative route is to attend an accredited school or institution pass their curriculum and earn a certificate or take an exam by a governing accredited agency and receive a certification. However, the nutritionist will not be regulated by the state and will not have a license.
A “clinical nutritionist” is a non-regulated profession. A clinical nutritionist uses the science of nutrition and Holistic Health to establish and maintain homeostasis through the optimization of the human body. The clinical nutritionist assesses the client’s nutritional needs through the interpretation of dietary analysis, case history, physical measurements, physical signs, laboratory tests (if available) and lifestyle evaluation. The clinical nutritionist teaches clients to achieve and maintain optimal health through the use of food, water, specialized dietary programs, nutritional supplementation and lifestyle modification.
Using this approach, Holistic Health permits the clinical nutritionist to expand and utilize the Holistic Health Model of body, mind and spirit. Which means the clinical nutritionist can analyze the environment of the client’s lifestyle practices and provide positive proactive alternatives in order to achieve the desired state of homeostasis, a balanced body in addition to creating a nutrition program according to the client’s health goals.