Over the last few decades, we have all become much more open to educating ourselves on our health. From natural remedies to the art of mindfulness, there has been a movement away from the need for synthetic medications, and the adoption of a more holistic approach to our health.
With more options available today for healthcare than ever before, and sometimes a blur between the lines in what each of them do, I’m here to demystify and dive into the main differences between two commonly confused professions - naturopaths and dietitians.
So. Let’s sharp-shoot summarise what they do, why and when you should see them, and how they can help you on your journey towards better health.
Dietitians work to improve the lives of their patients by helping them make better health and food choices through nutrition and dietary guidelines specific to an ailment, illness or imbalance in a population group. These ailments can come in many forms, whether they be a vitamin deficiency, diabetes, obesity, cancer, gastrointestinal diseases or aging.
By analysing the indicators of your given health issues, dietitians will help you adopt a structured health plan that focuses on giving you more of what you need, and less of what you don’t. Through the use of supplements to achieve your Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for each day, and advising which foods to include or avoid, they tailor their approach to give you the tools you need to help you on the road to recovery.
Diet can have a huge impact on every aspect of your health - even if the connection isn’t always immediately apparent. While naturopaths tend to be more proactive and individualised approach to ailments, dietitians analyse your existing (or imminent) health problems, and take a more reactive approach to correcting and rebalancing your diet based government guidelines.
Things to consider
It’s important to ensure that your dietitian is Degree educated and certified by the Dietitians Association of Australia, which are both requirements in order to be able to practise. Thanks to these stricter qualification rules, they are often employed throughout the hospital and aged care systems as qualified dietary resources, and so are more likely to come on a referral from your normal GP if any health issues should arise.
Naturopathy is a collection of philosophies and practices centered on the notion of a holistic, natural approach to your overall well-being. Your practitioner will spend anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half getting to know exactly what's happening with your overall health and work with you to support this.
By tailoring therapies based on your specific needs, naturopathy focuses on the body’s innate ability to heal itself, and gives it all the tools it needs to do so. It’s a complementary therapy that reaches across the health spectrum, from nutrition and herbal medicine, to lifestyle modification and iridology. Ultimately, the treatment you receive from your naturopath will be entirely based on one thing: you. Naturopathy recognises that no two people are alike and therefore support should reflect the individual.
The practice of naturopathy is grounded by the idea that, as humans, our overall well being is not restricted by simply just the physical, but also the mind and soul. It delves deeper into the root causes in your life that have brought you to where you are today, whether they be your genetics, your environment, medications or emotional health. Our founding belief is that, through understanding that bigger picture, we can help you rewrite your future as the happiest, healthiest version of yourself.
Things to consider
To become a naturopath and begin treating patients, specific qualifications are not mandatory. However, to ensure the utmost care, it is incredibly necessary that your practitioner is at least a Bachelor's degree qualified, and is registered with naturopathic associations across Australia (like ANTA and ARONAH), who ensure members follow strict standards. These organisations are also pushing for official accreditation.
So - which one is for me?
The main difference between naturopaths and dieticians is that, as naturopaths, we take a proactive and individualised approach to your overall welling.
You don’t have to wait until there is a problem to fix to visit with us. In fact, we work with you to understand what the potential threats to your health will be, and how best to curb those threats through a series of tailored lifestyle changes before they ever become an issue.
For us, it’s a long term game. And by instilling the right checks and balances throughout every aspect of your health - whether that’s physical, mental, or emotional - we help you to navigate the waters and align with the best version of yourself.
As with everything when it comes to our health, your chosen course of treatment is a truly personal decision.
Whether you’re looking to support existing health issues through nutrition, prevent future issues from taking hold, or want to create a lifestyle that makes living healthily sustainable, both naturopaths and dieticians share a common ground – their number one priority is your wellbeing.