What is a nutritionist?

In general, nutritionists carry out research and provide evidence-based information and advice about the effects of food and nutrition on health and wellbeing.

Nutritionists often work with other health professionals (such as pharmacists, GPs, hospital or community-based dietetic and nutrition teams) or are involved in work which might include:

  • practical nutrition research projects
  • recruiting volunteers to take part in trials
  • processing and analysing biological samples
  • raising awareness and educating colleagues in the health field on the benefits of healthy eating and the latest research
  • targeting healthy eating campaigns at particular groups (or geographical areas) such as young mothers or low-income families
  • giving talks and delivering presentations on the results of project trials
  • working to make healthy food such as fruit and vegetables more easily available
  • gathering statistics and judging the success of projects.

Nutritionists should be registered on the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN), which is the responsibility of the Association for Nutrition (AfN), a professional body that registers and regulates Nutritionists (public health, sports and exercise nutritionists, and animal nutritionists). Search the UKVRN Register to check whether a nutritionist is on the register or to find a Registered Nutritionist.

The AfN aims to protect the public, and promote wellbeing, by admitting to the Register only those who demonstrate high ethical and quality standards, founded on evidence-based science. The Association sets proficiency and competency criteria, promotes continuing professional development and safe conduct, and will accredit university undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

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