What is the difference between a nutrition therapist, nutrition consultant, nutritionist and a dietitian?

Only the Registered Dietitian is qualified to give dietary advice to those in good health or with specific disease conditions; for example, anyone can call themselves a ‘nutritionist’ or ‘nutrition therapist’. They may have no professional qualification at all, or they may have attended a short, or weekend course only! These courses do not include practical experience working in a clinical setting. If you receive advice from someone who trained as a dietitian, and who has worked within the NHS, you have a guarantee of a good basic knowledge of nutrition and medical subjects, as well as the appropriate clinical training.

Nutritionists, Nutrition therapists and similar diet ‘professionals’ are NOT permitted to work in a hospital setting as they do not have the expertise to do so. Registered nutritionists, (who are degree qualified), are permitted to work within a hospital setting, however, they MUST be supervised by a registered dietitian.

It is against the law for anyone other than a registered dietitian or a medical doctor to prescribe a medical diet in the UK and Isle of Man. This includes gluten free diets. Incorrectly administered diets can result in permanent neurological damage, long-term complications or possibly even death. Make sure you seek advice from someone who is suitably qualified.

Further reading on job roles – dietitian, nutritionist, etc
The dangers posed by unqualified therapists!
Let’s make ‘nutritionist’ a legally protected title!
Quackometer blog: Nutrition therapists