What’s the Difference Between Dietitians and Nutritionists?

Dietitian Services

difference between dietitians and nutritionists
People ask me this question all the time. These two terms may seem the same or even interchangeable but as you read on, you will discover what these two terms really mean and the differences between them… I think this quote from Dietitians of Canada unites most dietitians to answer the question: Who are Dietitians?  
[Dietitians] love food – it unites us all. We believe in its power to enhance lives and improve health, and our curiosity to understand the science behind it drives us; it is our passion and our calling.”

The Difference Between Dietitians and Nutritionists

Now, the bigger question is usually “what’s the difference between dietitians & nutritionists? The simple answer is educational background, experience settings and provincial regulation.

Dietitians are Nutritionists, but Nutritionists are not Dietitians

Dietitians have to get at least 4 years of university education. In addition to that, we are placed in a supervised & structured internship in a variety of settings (in inpatient hospital wards, in outpatient clinics, public health centres, hospital food service administration, and research). Dietitians are also registered and regulated by a provincial regulatory body (College of Dietitians of BC).
We are also the only nutrition-professionals legally able to work in hospitals and provide medical nutrition therapy. 
If you’d like a bit more information and details on how to be a dietitian and the difference in titles across Canada, check out Dietitians of Canada post, here. If you want a direct comparison of dietitian, nutritionist and holistic nutritionist roles, check out Dietetic Directions’ post, here.


We LOVE food… Like… a lot! This is a team of dedicated dietetics students who planned, organized, prepared and delivered a meal for 120 persons for our Land and Food Systems faculty in 2012.

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