We recently wrote about the difference between naturopathy and nutrition, and that the two were often confused. We can understand the confusion though, as there is some crossover between the elements that make up each. So, with that, a common question we hear is if Naturopaths are Nutritionists, and vice versa. We thought we’d share the similarities and the differences between them.
What is a naturopath trained to do?
A Naturopath is certified, typically, through completion of an Advanced Diploma or Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy). After graduating with this qualification, a Naturopath will then work in healthcare facilities, ranging anywhere from hospitals, private practices or community health centres but most commonly in private practice. Their role is to treat and prevent physical and mental ailments with natural remedies, tools and sometimes functional testing. This can be in conjunction with diagnosis and treatment through orthodox medicine, supporting efficacy and a holistic approach to overall health.
What is a nutritionist trained to do?
Nutritionists can become qualified through a range of avenues, including TAFE courses, private education facilities, advanced diplomas and post graduate certificates in nutrition after completion of a Bachelor’s Degree. Once qualified, a nutritionist can work in a range of environments; specifically in the health industry, can be employed in other industries to assist with nutritional advice and assistance (consulting with schools, for example) or in private practice. They advise clients on diet-related information for optimal health and wellbeing, they may recommend a specific type of diet for IBS or diabetes and provide meal plans to support you. Their focus, though with the goal of improved general health and lifestyle, is dietary only. Like a naturopath, they do not diagnose ailments, as such. Instead they provide guidance on dietary changes that may help them with issues either already identified to the client (obesity, diabetes etc.), or symptoms of more mild ailments (food-related bloating, for example).
Can a naturopath be a nutritionist, or vice versa?
A naturopath will include nutrition in their service; they are qualified to offer nutrition advice. This doesn’t mean all naturopaths are practicing nutritionists, however.
A nutritionist, on the other hand, should not be venturing into naturopathy without having first completed the appropriate qualifications for the area. While they may have some experience in herbal medicines and have a high understanding of the relationship between food and health, the qualifications of a nutritionist who has not studied naturopathy do not offer enough knowledge to be a naturopath.
However, naturopaths and nutritionists often work collaboratively to achieve the best possible outcome for clients.
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