Healthy Weight


Dietitian, Nutritionist Or Dietologist: Whom To Consult And When?

When you want to lose a few pounds of weight, the first suggestion you receive is to skip the do-it-yourself ambitions and seek help of a food professional, in order to receive safe driving and a personalized and truly ideal food plan for you. The figures of reference, however, are different: how to choose, for example between a nutritionist or a dietologist? Or isn’t a dietitian better?

Dietitian is the one who has a bachelor’s degree, or the first degree: they are not a doctor, but a health worker. A professional elaborates, formulates and sets the diets prescribed by the doctor and monitors the patient’s acceptability. You can also develop a diet prescribed by a doctor. The dietician also deals with food hygiene control, nutrition education, scientific research and collaboration with food industries.

Nutritionist is a biologist who holds a five-year degree: they are entitled to assess people’s nutritional and energy needs, developing dietary patterns and, like dietitians, working in the area of ​​food education and collective catering. They can independently develop diets, nutritional advice and prescribe food supplements (but not drugs). However, they cannot make a diagnosis of pathology, but in case of suspicion of illness they must invite the patient to seek medical attention.

Dietologist is a doctor graduated in medicine and surgery, and later specialized after another four years of study in food science. They are responsible for the diagnosis of a possible pathology and the prescription of the diet, as well as drugs and even invasive tests. From the professional point of view it is the most titled and most competent figure in the field of food and related disorders.

Who to trust. The three professionals described above simply indicate the training path of the various specialists. As always, when you have to rely on a specialist, in addition to competence, there are also a series of more subtle elements, such as ease of dialogue, empathy and the sense of confidence you feel “in your gut”. For this reason, with the same skills and documented qualification of the specialist, it is always the criterion to choose the person with whom you are the best team.

However, some general rules apply: if you are in good health and simply want to reorganize your food style or check to follow the rules of a healthy and balanced diet, perhaps losing a bit of weight, the nutritionist can be a valid reference figure.

You can seek their help with confidence even if you have been diagnosed with a condition like hypercholesterolemia or obesity: the nutritionist will help us identify a healthier lifestyle and provide you with an adequate food plan. However, if you have to lose a lot of pounds or stay on a diet for a long time, or you suspect that our extra pounds hide a disease or a disorder of eating behavior, the dietician is the professional figure for us. You will be in front of a specialist doctor who can deal with all aspects of our situation, even from a clinical point of view, possibly prescribing the exams and drugs you might need. Only in a second phase, with a complete clinical picture, can you possibly book an appointment with a nutritionist.

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