There is a lot of contradictory advice online and through social media regarding food and health. To avoid confusion and ensure you are receiving the best quality of care, seek out an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). They are the qualified professionals in all things nutrition and can offer you the support, education and guidance required to help you achieve your health goals.
Differences between a Nutritionist and an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)?
A ‘nutritionist’ is often confused with a ‘dietitian’ however there are key differences between the professions. The title of ‘nutritionist’ is not a protected term in Australia meaning that anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Despite this, many nutritionists are qualified and have undertaken a minimum of 3 years of study in food and nutrition related subjects.
Unlike the nutritionist title, the title of ‘dietitian’ is a protected term. If a health professional holds this title, you can be assured that they have completed a minimum of four years full time study doing a range of foundation subjects such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, medical nutrition therapy, interpersonal skills and statistics. This degree of study equips them to help you manage complex medical issues, which is outside the scope of practice of a nutritionist.
What Services Can Be Provided by a Dietitian?
When you are seeking advice from a dietitian, the following support can be given:
- Nutritional needs assessment,
- Development of personalised eating plans that consider medical conditions and personal circumstances,
- Provide consultancy services to corporate organisations, food manufacturers, schools and health care facilities.
- Good knowledge of food and nutrition research,
- Provision of nutrition counselling,
- Support and information on healthy eating,
- Ability to train health care professionals,
- Development of nutrition resources, policies or programs
In Australia, the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) is the national governing body that develops a code of conduct and ethical guidelines that dietitians must adhere to. An APD credential depicts a quality standard for nutrition and dietetics services. It is also the only title recognised by the Australian government, Medicare and private health funds, in which rebates can be claimed back following consultations. This means quality care at less expense for you!
How Can I Access Dietetic Services?
There are several ways you can do this.
If you are looking to seek dietetic support to manage a medical condition you may be eligible for medicare cover of up to six visits each calendar year upon assessment by your general practitioner. Some general practitioners will already have a dietitian they refer patients to however, you can search for your own using the sites mentioned below.
To find an APD registered with DAA you can search on the DAA website Find an APD. Here you can search by name, postcode and country. If you’re less tech-savvy the DAA also provides a number (02) 6189 1200 or email, email@example.com to help you find a dietitian.
If you are looking for a sports dietitian, you can find them through the Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) website which has a Find an Accredited Sports Dietitian section on the homepage. You can search by postcode, state, sport and expertise.
Alternatively, you could check us out at Fuel Your Life. We are the largest employer of dietitians in Australia and have APDs nationally located all over Australia and accept all clients, privately funded or otherwise. Get in touch with Fuel Your Life or reach us via our website, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0401 302 872 to learn more and access our services.