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Nutritional Therapy - The Power of Functional Medicine

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Understanding the difference between Nutritional Therapists, Nutritionists and Dieticians

The need for preventative medicine is gaining popularity in recent years, particularly with ever-increasing pressures on an already struggling NHS. The importance of keeping a healthy lifestyle and balanced nutrition is rapidly gaining attention and so more and more people are searching for alternative and natural approaches to their wellbeing instead of the traditional conventional route.

Nutrition is one of the key fundamental elements to staying healthy and finding the right practitioner for your needs is extremely important but can be confusing at times.

Nutritional Therapists, Nutritionists and Dieticians all have the same basic principle - eating well to stay healthy - yet they have different distinct roles and educational backgrounds. Knowing the difference is important to help you decide which is best suited to your individual needs.

Foreshore Nutrition gives insight into the world of nutritional therapy and looks at the differences between Nutritional Therapists, Nutritionists and Dieticians

The Role of Functional Medicine

Stepping away from the conventional 'one size fits all' model, functional medicine takes a holistic and personalised approach to health and wellness. Rather than just treating a symptom and 'putting a sticking plaster' on a problem, it aims to address the underlying factors contributing to disease and promotes optimal wellness. It provides individualised care that considers genetic, environmental, lifestyle and nutritional factors that can influence health.

Functional medicine views the body as a whole system and identifies imbalances which can ultimately manifest as symptoms elsewhere. This interconnected approach to health helps to address underlying issues to promote long-term health and wellbeing.

Nutritional Therapists practice within the Functional Medicine model.

What is Nutritional Therapy?

Using the power of food and nutrients, Nutritional Therapists provide a personalised and integrative approach to optimise health and wellness. They undergo extensive training to diploma or degree level and are educated to carry out evidence-based scientific research into all aspects of health and disease.

Nutritional Therapists often run their own private clinic, working together with clients to assess health concerns such as weight management, hormone imbalance, gut health issues, digestive disorders and immune system support, to name but a few. Some therapists will have a particular expertise, such as with Foreshore Nutrition specialising in Gut Health and Digestive Wellness.

Clients are supported and empowered to take control of their health through proper nutrition to improve overall wellbeing and ward off future health issues. They have access to a wide range of high quality nutraceutical supplements and functional medicine testing to help tailor therapy on a personal level.

Although not governed by law, Registered Nutritional Therapists are required to carry out annual CPD (continuing professional development) to maintain robust, up-to-date skills and abide by the ethics and codes of practice set out by BANT (British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine) and the CNHC (Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council).

If searching for a Nutritional Therapist, always check that they are qualified and registered with BANT by visiting the BANT website here.

How Are Nutritional Therapists Different from Nutritionists and Dieticians?


Nutritionists do sometimes see clients on an individual basis but mostly they offer more general advice on healthy eating and balanced diets rather than the completely personalised approach offered by Nutritional Therapists.

Nutritionists tend to work in community settings, in Public Health or within the food industry and offer practical guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall.

Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist after a short online course, so it's extremely important to find a Registered Nutritionist who has undergone training to Diploma or Degree level.

The professional association for Nutritionists is the AfN (Association for Nutrition).


Dieticians are professionals who will have undergone formal educational training and are governed by Law. Their professional association is the BDA (British Dietetic Association). Dieticians mostly work under the umbrella of conventional medicine as opposed to functional medicine.

Dieticians may work within hospitals or other healthcare facilities. They can work within the NHS, or as private or freelance dieticians. Dieticians are able to provide medical nutrition therapy to patients with specific health conditions and needs. They work closely with medical teams to deliver dietary interventions to make sure that the nutritional needs of the patient are met.

Is Nutritional Therapy Right For You?

As an essential component of Functional Medicine, Nutritional Therapists are able to provide a unique, personalised and holistic approach to the prevention of ill health. Clients are empowered to make positive and sustainable changes to their nutrition and lifestyle. Nutritional Therapists address underlying factors contributing to health issues to alleviate symptoms and help clients take control of their own health journey.

Knowing the distinction between Nutritional Therapists, Nutritionists and Dieticians can help you make an informed decision about the nutritional approach that is best for you. Always ensure that you consult with a fully qualified and registered professional by visiting their regulatory body's website to find a practitioner.

If you would like to find out more about how Foreshore Nutrition may be able to help you, contact Mel at and book a free 15 minute discovery call.



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