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Nutritionists and Dietitians

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:06am
catherine collins If anyone had any doubt about the differences between Nutritionists and Dietitians Catherine Collins put them straight on Radio 4 recently - 'if your urine is too dark or you are thirsty then drink squash and coffee' she told the Radio 4 listeners

She insinuated her clinics are full of people maimed by incompetent Nutritionists. In our nutritional therapy clinics we regularly see people who feel they have to pay £95 an hour because they have been failed by their NHS GPs and dietitians, left to suffer for up to 20 years with missed obvious clues to their underlying symptom causing conditions.

I guess that's another difference with dietitian Catherine Collins and a good nutritionist , instead of hyperbolic whinging on the radio that all Doctors and dietitians should get some basic nutrition training or be thrown in jail, qualified Nutritional therapists get on with the job of healing people.

The final difference between Nutritionists and dietitians is the most important one. Patients rarely get 'sent' to a nutritionist, they don't have to come, sent by their doctor. Patients choose to come, choose their therapist, choose to pay and choose to follow a nutritionist's advice. Patients usually arrive at our clinics after a personal recommendation from someone who's life we have already transformed.

Yes it is a constant thorn in our side too, that there are some truly awful practitioners out there that call themselves nutritionists. Surprisingly we can't get wait to get regulated (as long as the EU leave us the tools to do the job). However although regulation will weed out some of the Personal Trainers that call themselves nutritionists and a host of other 'Jack of all trade' alternative therapists it won't solve the kind of problems that provoke Collin's vitriolic attacks. GP's are heavily regulated, it doesn't stop them missing things that experienced qualified nutritional therapists regard as blatantly obvious. You can't know everything - that's why you have specialists.

It's great that dietitians are finally regulated and now required to participate in regular professional development but old habits die hard and there are still the odd few that are able to do more harm than good. (Ice cream and custard creams for osteoporosis!!??!!) Frustated by the constraints of dietetics as a therapeutic tool some dietitians have gone on to learn about nutritional therapy and are now some of the most dynamic practitioners out there.

A modicom of common sense maybe useful here. Choose a nutritional therapist who specialises in nutrition, with experience, with insurance, with recognised qualificatons and preferably with a personal recommendation.

Nutritional therapy is performance based. If therapists don't get people well, patients won't come back, they won't tell their friends and they won't pay the money. Chances are they won't be in business for very long.

If you want a dietitian make sure you get a good one

Always go to your Doctor first (it's free!) if they can't help you give us a call!

Tony Bishop-Weston - Nutritionists London Foods for Life
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