A nutritionist is a person who provides advice on matters relating to food and how it impacts on health. Nutritionists can design, coordinate, implement and evaluate population health interventions that are designed to improve health and wellbeing through food and nutrition. Nutritionists may also work in a variety of other occupations including research, as nutrition consultants in public health or in industry as nutrition communicators and food technologists.
A nutritionist is not qualified to provide medical advice or medical nutrition therapy. This is the role of a dietitian. A dietitian holds qualifications that allow them to work in a hospital, community or private practice and allows them to prescribe dietary treatment, and ongoing monitoring of clinical competency.
In Australia there is no legal protection over the title ‘nutritionist’, which means that anyone can call themselves a nutritionist even if they do not have proper qualifications. To protect the nutrition profession, the Nutrition Society of Australia has a voluntary system of registration for nutritionists. Applicants undergo a rigorous assessment to confirm their qualifications and experience before they are granted registration.