Here’s a basic breakdown of the qualifications & scope of practice for each professional.

Health Coach: Has been through specific training/certification to use the title. Does not (or should not) address specific or personalized disease management, but helps individuals with goal setting & motivation to achieve basic lifestyle/nutrition changes for general overall wellness.

Nutritionist: Does not have a formal definition, but instead generally refers to anyone of a variety of people with a vast range of nutrition knowledge – from formally educated to self-educated/taught. Since no strict training or certification is required to call yourself a Nutritionist, be sure to ask anyone using this title if they have a degree/certification in nutrition & how long the program was before taking their advice.

Dietitian/Registered Dietitian: Has met high, specific academic requirements & adheres to strict professional guidelines to maintain credentials (RD/RDN) as a nutrition expert. At minimum they have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition with fulfillment of a year long internship and passed the board exam. Dietitians consider medical history, lab results and other individual measurements/symptoms to help formulate appropriate nutrition plans based on the person’s needs/circumstances. They are also have training in motivational interviewing/counseling techniques to foster clients through the behavior change process when striving for certain wellness goals or to manage disease.

You decide! What type of nutrition support do you need?