Nutrition is as important to the body as water or air. Nutrition science is the science that lies behind the relationship between our diet, disease and health. Nutritionists are trained in all aspects of nutritional science and can work in fields as varied as malnutrition, eating disorders, sports diets. There is a tendency to use the terms nutritionist, dietician and nutritional therapist interchangeably but in some countries the term dietician is a distinct legal profession. The Patient QI best info link explains this in more detail.
There are sub categories of nutrition such as nutrigenetics which look at how our inherited genes affect our diet and how our body responds to the food we eat. Nutrition physiology looks at how foods affect metabolism, and sports nutritionists specialise in the nutrition requirements for athletes. Prenatal nutrition is the specialist area that covers the nutritional requirements before, during and after pregnancy.
Nutrition plays a vital role in the treatment of poor health, as a support during the recovery process and also in the prevention of illness. Patients who are looking for advice on nutrition as a therapy for a specific health issue should see the section on nutritional therapy.
Patient QI’s View:
Diet and nutrition is key to any natural health strategy. It is possibly the most important factor during the treatment process - without the right nutrients, the body simply cannot fight disease and illness. A nutritional therapist should be included in every treatment strategy (see nutritional therapy).
Patient QI's Best info link:
Rules Regulations and Associations
The regulations for Nutritionists as a profession are different in different countries, some have voluntary self regulation and others have no regulation.
The global umbrella organisation for nutrition is the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) http://www.iuns.org/about-iuns. Europe also an umbrella organisation, the Federation of European Nutrition Societies (FENS): http://www.fensnutrition.eu/
UK: Nutrition Society http://www.nutritionsociety.org/
British Association for Applied Nutritional Therapy (BANT) http://www.bant.org.uk/bant/jsp/index.faces
Austria: Austrian Nutrition Society http://www.oege.at/
France: Societe Francaise de Nutrition http://www.sf-nutrition.org/
Germany: German Nutrition Society http://www.dge.de/
Ireland: The Nutrition Society http://www.nutritionsociety.org/membership/sections/irish-section
Spain: Sociedad Espanola de nutricion http://www.sennutricion.org/es/inicio/
Sweden: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences – nutrition http://www.kva.se/en/contact/NationalICSU-kommitteer/Nutrition-/
Switzerland: Swiss society of nutrition http://www.sge-ssn.ch/de/
Australia: Nutrition Society of Australia http://www.nsa.asn.au/
Dietitians Society of Australia http://daa.asn.au/
New Zealand: The Nutrition Society of New Zealand http://www.nutritionsociety.ac.nz/
Dietitians New Zealand http://dietitians.org.nz/
Clinical Nutrition Association (CAN) http://www.nutritionists.org.nz/
USA: American Nutrition Association http://americannutritionassociation.org/
American Society for Nutrition http://www.nutrition.org/
Canada: Canadian Nutrition Society http://www.cns-scn.ca/default.asp
Canadian Society of Nutrition Management http://csnm.in1touch.org/
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/
Canadian Association of Holistic Nutritian Professionals http://www.cahnpro.org/
Nutrition society of South Africa http://www.nutritionsociety.co.za/
South African Association for Nutrition Therapy (SAANT) http://www.saant.org.za/files/