• Amie

Sports Dietitian Vs Nutrition Coach

Updated: Jun 22, 2018

Where are you getting your information from?

Be critical of the information you read online or hear from friends. Where is it coming from, what are the qualifications of the person who has given you this information? Is there any actual substantial evidence behind what they are telling you to do or change?

Today I will break down what is the difference between nutrition/health coaches, nutritionists, dietitians and sports dietitians.


The main reason why I have written this is because it is something that I take seriously. People’s lives are in our hands and I don’t want others to claim a title that they have not earned. Let alone claim to treat things that they aren’t legally allowed to or haven’t been trained for. There is so much misinformation available today that I want you to be able to figure out how to distinguish what is good quality nutrition information. This can be determined by finding out where the source of information is coming from.


Nutrition/Health Coach

A nutrition coach or health coach completes as little as 2 days to 9 months of study

1. Works to steer clients towards their basic health goals: ie weight loss and eating healthy, etc.

2. Motivates clients to look at the whole lifestyle picture

3. Studies surface areas of almost 100 different diets and covers holistic lifestyle approaches, but no in-depth nutrition studies

4. Cannot medicate, test, or prescribe supplements

5. Cannot prescribe specific dietary recommendations or meal plans

6. Not covered by medical insurance


Accredited Nutritionist

A nutritionist will usually have completed a 3 year university degree in any number of fields, including nutrition, food science and public health.

· The main role of a nutritionist is to help people achieve optimal health by providing information and advice about health and food choices.

· Nutritionists cannot prescribe dietary treatments to clients for example food allergies, cancers, Gastro intestinal disorder, high cholesterol, and diabetes etc

· Some nutritionists are covered by medical insurance


Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)

Dietitians are 4 year university degree qualified in food, nutrition and dietetics.

· Qualified dietitians have undertaken a course of study that has included supervised and assessed professional practice in public health nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management.

· Dietitians are very tightly regulated and must complete ongoing professional development to practice

· Dietitians have the expertise to provide individual dietary counselling, medical nutrition therapy, group dietary therapy and food service management

· Covered by medical insurance


Accredited Sports Dietitian

The main difference between an APD and Sports Dietitian is a 4 day course in Sports Nutrition and plus 2 years of practical work. Personally – the amount of information I learnt in those 4 days to put me on the pathway to become a Sports Dietitian opened up a whole new world of science based information that was not covered in enough detail at university. We were taught how to manipulate body composition for different sports, and how to tailor our planning for this.

So if you need help with changing body composition to improve your training – see an accredited sports dietitian! Do not doubt the impact nutrition can have on your training and body composition outcome.


The bottom line is – each field has its own training and legalities that need to be followed. Once you know what each field can provide you, you’ll know what options suit your needs best. But of course – we recommend Accredited Sports Dietitians J


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Email: info@targetnutrition.com.au

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