The difference between a Coach, Nutritionist, and Registered Dietitian

November 27, 2019

Which type of nutrition specialist is best for you?! Who can do what in this industry?

With the thousands of online coaches currently, I think it’s always helpful to brush up on the differences between “Coaches”, “Nutritionists”, and “Registered Dietitians”.

All these different titles can be overwhelming and confusing, so let’s break it down!



Coaches: Usually certified by some accredited agency (such as ACE, NASM, NESTA, ISSA, or a few others). Coaches are not required to be certified, but I believe it is beneficial. Coaches are typically experts in their field (which could vary from personal training all the way to emotional trauma), provide advice, support, tips, guidelines, and so on.

Coaches are ideal for those:
✔️Seeking motivation
✔️Seeking accountability
✔️Seeking advice and tips

Nutritionists: Someone with extensive knowledge on how food affects the body. All states have different requirements on who can call themselves a nutritionist. There are licensure boards for nutritionists as well if one desires to be nationally recognized, but this is not a requirement. Nutritionists can provide detailed dietary advice, tips, accountability, and food ideas for a specific goal.

Nutritionists are ideal for those:
✔️Seeking specific fat loss plans
✔️Seeking nutritional behavior support
✔️Seeking dietary advice and tips

Registered Dietitians: R.D.’s are the most protected title, requiring dietetic schooling, internship hours and a national exam. R.D.s typically work in hospitals, clinics, or online. R.D.s specialize in more serious diseases and issues including diabetes and eating disorders. R.Ds can prescribe meal plans and make dietary changes to improve a client’s medical conditions.

R.D.s are ideal for those:
✔️With a serious medical condition
✔️Going through or recovering from and eating disorder
✔️Looking for prescribed meal plans

I hope you found this helpful 😄 The bottom line is that nutrition is a specialized science. Before you put your trust in the hands of a nutrition professional be sure you feel confident in their qualifications!

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