If you’re into nutrition then you probably know that you can become a ‘nutritionist’ or a ‘nutritional therapist’ for as little as £39, via online courses, and can be finished in around four to six weeks. Appealing I know!
Some of these intro. courses are fabulous and offer a great insight into the world of nutrition. However, clearly, what you learn in a six-week course, is very different to what you learn in 12-months, three years or longer.
In the UK, there is yet another debate over nutrition titles. For my tuppance worth, I think it is extremely important that we have titles which are clear, so that the public understand who they are seeing, what they are paying for and what the general advice may be like.
You assume if you see a doctor you’re likely to get prescribed a drug. If you see a surgeon they’ll likely want to chop something off * (I don't recommend having too many dinners with plastic surgeons! :) ), if you see a dietician they follow the rules and regulations of the dietetic association they belong to, and if you see a nutritionist/nutritional therapist - well what rules do they follow?
Registered Nutritional Therapists are the gold standard for Nutritional Therapy in the UK and Europe (to read more about their rules and regulations click here). When it comes to other worldwide practitioners this varies widely. Having spent three years supporting overseas BANT Registered Nutritional Therapists I am well aware of the issues many people face in being able to practice. As not everywhere understands what nutritional therapy is and in some places it's still seen as quackery.
With all of this in mind, my recommendations are if you are in the UK or Europe and want to see a Nutritional Therapist visit the BANT website to find one that is qualified and registered.
If you are overseas then check the training the nutritionist, nutritional therapist or health coach has had. Find out what kind of professional associations they belong to and ask questions about the way they work.
* This isn’t a judgement! It’s an abbreviated version of a commonly told joke at multidisciplinary health conferences.