Do I need a Registered Nutritional Therapist or Dietitian?

When seeking guidance on improving your health and wellbeing, the variety of professionals available can be overwhelming. Health coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists, BANT registered nutritional therapists, and dietitians all offer valuable services, but their expertise and approach can differ significantly. Here’s why a BANT Registered Nutritional Therapist or Dietitian should be your go-to professional depending on the context.

Health Coach

Health coaches help support and motivate their clients to achieve their health and wellness goals. Their approach tends to be more focussed around behaviour modification and putting ideas into practice, i.e. coaching.

While health coaches can offer broad guidance and support, they generally have little or no formal training in nutrition science.

Personal Trainer

Personal trainers specialise in physical fitness, creating tailored exercise programs to help clients achieve their fitness goals. Their can devise personalised workout plans, provide guidance around technique and provide valuable motivation and accountability for their clients.

Personal trainers are excellent for those seeking to improve their physical fitness, but do be wary of taking nutrition advice from a PT (however well intentioned!). Their focus and training is primarily on exercise rather than nutrition or holistic health, and most have had little or no formal training in nutrition science.


Nutritionists provide advice on healthy eating and nutrition to support overall wellbeing. Indeed, it tends to be the label most of us use for those working in the field of nutrition. The issue is that it doesn’t mean an awful lot: the title is not protected so anyone can call themselves a “nutritionist” without any formal education or training in nutrition science. Some of these individuals will be very well qualified, i.e. BANT Registered Nutritional Therapists (see more below) as well as AfN Registered Nutritionists. Consulting one of these professionals guarantees their credibility. Be vary wary of taking advice from anyone else!

BANT Registered Nutritional Therapist

Registered Nutritional Therapists take an evidence-based and holistic approach to health and well-being. Practitioners combine expert, up-to-date understanding of nutrition science and physiology with a deep appreciation of the unique biochemistry, distinct health goals and particular nutritional needs of the individual sitting in front of them.

They undergo rigorous training and adhere to high professional standards set by the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The unique strengths of BANT registered nutritional therapists include:

  • Personalised Approach: There is no one-size-fits-all protocol or treatment because Nutritional Therapists consider the whole person (personal and family health history, lifestyle and wellness goals), not just the symptoms or disease. It is this truly personalised approach that sets them apart, enabling clients to achieve optimum health and vitality – not simply an absence of disease.
  • Holistic Health: They consider a wide range of factors, including diet, movement, stress, sleep and emotional wellbeing, to create a comprehensive health plan.
  • Evidence-Based Practice: They utilise the latest scientific research to inform their recommendations.
  • Professional Standards: Adherence to BANT’s code of ethics and continuous professional development (a minimum of 30 hours CPD/year) ensures high-quality, safe and credible advice.
  • Support for Chronic Conditions: They offer specialised support for supporting chronic conditions and improving quality of life through nutrition and lifestyle changes.

Consulting a BANT Registered Nutritional Therapist provides a thorough and integrative approach to health, addressing not just dietary needs but the overall wellbeing of the individual.


Dietitians are highly trained professionals with the qualifications to assess, diagnose, and treat dietary and nutritional problems. They usually work in clinical settings like hospitals, alongside healthcare teams, to provide medical nutrition therapy for serious or chronic diseases such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic kidney disease, eating disorders and food allergies.

Dietitians are essential for managing specific medical conditions through diet, and their regulated status ensures adherence to high standards of practice. A referral is needed by a GP or consultant to access dietetic services on the NHS, only very specific diseases qualify for support and waiting lists can be long.

Why choose a BANT Registered Nutritional Therapist?

In conclusion, each health professional offers unique strengths and benefits but a Registered Nutritional Therapist or Dietitian will be your go-to professional in most cases.

If you’re looking for a highly qualified and experienced women’s health expert, registered with relevant professional bodies (BANT and CNHC) and bound by their codes of practice, look no further than IlluminEat. We provide unrivalled support to women dealing with gut/digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, fertility, perimenopause and menopause, autoimmune conditions, thyroid problems, weight management, skin issues, low energy/fatigue, low mood, and more.

Book your FREE Discovery Call Here


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