Myths About Dietetics

Alexandra Rees - Community Dietitian

Dietitians and Nutritionists are the same thing

Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be regulated by law. We have to be members of the Health & Care Professionals Council and abide by their code of conduct. Nutritionists are qualified to provide information about food and healthy eating and there is a qualified nutritionist register. However, as they are not regulated by law, anyone could call themselves a nutritionist with no training or qualifications in nutrition. 

Dietitians just tell people how to lose weight

We are not just the food police! As Dietitians we work in a wide range of specialities. These include weight management, paediatrics, diabetes, neurology, public health (providing diet advice and training for other health care professionals about nutrition), intensive care, gastroenterology, older adults and with sports teams and athletes. 

This means that we use our knowledge and skills to help people make practical changes to improve their diets and their overall health. For some people we see, this will involve supporting them to lose weight but for other people they may need to gain weight or make changes to avoid certain foods. Our overall goal is always to support people to live as healthy lives as possible fuelled by good nutrition! 

Dietitians mainly work in a hospital

Whilst lots of dietitians may work mainly on hospital wards to help support people with their nutrition when they are acutely unwell, we also work in lots of other settings in and out of the NHS! Within the NHS, we work in GP clinics, outpatient clinics, care homes and visits to people’s homes. Outside of the NHS, we work with big companies to help with product development and promoting healthy eating, independently with our own clinics and patient groups, sports teams, lecturing or teaching. We also work with the media or have our own social media accounts to help bust myths about FAD diets and nutrition that other social media users without our expert knowledge post about!