Dietitians are the gold standard of food and nutrition professionals
Choosing the right person to seek help and advice from can sometimes be a confusing task. Many people claim to be experts in food and nutrition yet have very limited knowledge and offer no protection to the public.
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems. We work with both healthy and sick people. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease which we translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be regulated by law, and are governed by an ethical code to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Only those registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) can use the title of Registered Dietitian (RD).
The HCPC’s role is to protect the public. It is an independent, UK-wide health regulator. It currently sets standards of professional training, performance and conduct for 14 professions. The HCPC keeps a current register of health professionals who meet its standards and takes action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. Registered professionals must keep up-to-date through compulsory Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Check the HCPC website to see if your professional is registered.
The minimum requirement to work as a Dietitian is a BSc Hons in Dietetics, or a related science degree with a postgraduate diploma or higher degree in Dietetics.
Our training includes biochemistry, physiology, applied sciences and research methods which underpin nutrition and dietetics. These are complemented by social and behavioural sciences and the theories of communication to support the development of skills required for professional dietetic practice.
We also undertake a period of supervised practice within NHS settings, where an individual must demonstrate clinical and professional competence before being eligible to apply for registration.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is the professional body and Trade Union for dietitians and is also responsible for designing the curriculum for the profession.