Thursday, 6th August 2020

This Month's Magazine
What is a dietician?

What is a dietician?

Qualified dietitian Kate Skilton provides an insight into how diet can help treat a wide range of ailments—and where to get the best advice.

Have you ever changed your diet because of something you have seen on television, read in the press or been told by a friend? Â…or, have you given up altogether, as it seems that healthy eating recommendations change so often that no sooner have you taken one thing out of your diet that it is back in favour?

When it comes to diet, we are bombarded with so much advice that itÂ’s hard to separate good information from bad. Dietary changes can usually improve health, reduce risk of developing diseases such as heart disease or help with controlling a condition like diabetes, but crucial in this is getting the right advice.

Trust a Dietitian to know about nutrition 
A Registered Dietitian (RD) is specially trained to translate scientific evidence about food and nutrition into practical dietary advice. ThatÂ’s why doctors often work with dieticians when dealing with food related problems and disease.

A UK RD has a code of conduct that ensures they provide unbiased advice about nutrition and health. This is ever more important in a world where increasingly, food adverts claim their products offer potential health benefits.

Dietitian and Dietician are protected titles in the UK. This means you may only call yourself a Dietitian/Dietician if you have undertaken a qualifying course such as a BSc Honours degree with the appropriate clinical placements.


How do I find out if someone is a UK Registered Dietitian?
The Health Professions Council ( registers all RDÂ’s once they have completed the necessary training. If the person is not registered then they are not a UK RD.

Unfortunately there is no such safeguard with the title nutritionist. Individuals can call themselves nutritionists without having any formal education in nutrition or by attending courses that are not founded on science. If you’ve consulted someone in the past regarding your diet and were advised to buy various supplements, it is likely that the person was not a RD – so check out the qualifications of the consultant you’re seeing before handing over any of your hard earned money.

Other helpful tips
Never assume that because a particular treatment or diet gets lots of coverage in newspapers or on TV it is automatically correct. Look for the track record of the advice given. It may be a highly controversial approach or ‘fad diet’ not backed up by science.

The internet is a useful source of information and is being used by more and more people to find out about a diagnosis or general dietary information, but there is no guarantee that the information on all websites is factual and correct.

Try to use websites that carry official accreditation for instance is a website developed by UK Registered Dietitians to provide a reliable source of dietary information.

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