Ever heard the words ‘dietitian’ and ‘nutritionist’, and experienced the following?
Well, fam… You are not alone, I am here with you.
And for that reason, we spoke to Lisa Renn, an accredited, practicing dietitian, and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, to dispel our confusion for once and for all.
What’s a dietitian?
You guessed it, a dietitian is an expert on all things diet and nutrition.
But, in order to call yourself a dietitian, “You’ve got to complete a bachelor degree,” says Lisa. “Or a two years of masters.” A ton of Aussie unis offer dietetics courses, and the DAA website has a list of places you can get qualified HERE.
After finishing up these qualifications, you’ll get a “membership at the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA),” She begins. “And to maintain this credential, you have to complete 30 hours of professional development every year.”
If you wanted to see a dietitian, what’s the process?
“It’s pretty basic,” says Lisa. “If you want to find an accredited practicing dietitian, you can go onto DAA website.” She says you can look through a list of dietitians there, and find the one who specialises in what you’re after – be that weight loss, diabetes management, so on and so forth. “Then you can just call that dietitian up directly – you don’t need a GPs referral.”
Like most medical consultations, you’ll fill out a form with details about yourself. “Then we do an initial assessment, which can be 45 minutes to an hour long. It’s a good chat where we find out all about you.” says Lisa. “From that we make some recommendations, then review appointments after that are about 30 minutes long.”
Whether or not a weigh-in happens in the initial consultation varies from person to person. “If I think it’ll do their head in, I won’t weigh them. Sometimes scares can demotivate a person.”
What’s the cost of seeing a dietitian?
“It varies, of course, but I’d suggest a new assessment might range from between $100 – $160, and a review would be between $55 – $75.”
Lisa says If you have a chronic health condition that is affected by nutrition, you could be eligible for a Medicare rebate. These conditions could be heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even depression. “Private health cover with extras can sometimes cover dietetics, as well,” says Lisa.
So what’s a nutritionist, then?
“You can call yourself a nutritionist after completing a six week course.” says Lisa.
“There are no rules governing the use of that title in Australia,” Lisa says. “There’s no law.”
That’s why every second fitness blogger you come across on Instagram has the title ‘nutritionist’ nestled into their bio.
Photo: Getty / Larry Washburn.