What’s the difference between a Dietician, Nutritionist and Naturopath?


Figuring out which foods work best for you might seem complicated, but the right practitioner can make a huge difference. There are various health professionals that can provide specific services to help you achieve your wellness goals. Before you make an appointment with anyone, consider the differences between a Dietician, Nutritionist and a Naturopathic Doctor to make an informed decision.

Dietician

Trendy diets come and go, but a Registered Dietician goes beyond the latest food fads. With their expert knowledge and understanding of the science behind food, Dietitians provide practical ways to support a healthy lifestyle. These health professionals provide nutrition advice using science based evidence to help you make the right food choices. From managing chronic disease, digestive issues, and allergies, a Dietician helps you make the connection between your overall health and what you eat. Registered Dieticians are highly trained health practitioners that are regulated under the College of Dieticians of Ontario.

Nutritionist

There are similarities between a Dietician and Nutritionist, but overall both professionals are focussed on providing effective nutrition advice. The main difference between the two titles relates to how each practitioner is governed. While Nutritionists are not regulated like Dieticians, they are often privately trained. In addition to understanding the correlation between food and well-being, Nutritionists take a holistic approach. Nutritionists have the flexibility of utilizing holistic methods to complement conventional medical approaches.These health professionals examine the physical, emotional and spiritual aspect of a person’s life to create a customized nutrition plan.

Naturopathic Doctor

Naturopathic medicine focuses on blending scientific knowledge with both natural and traditional aspects of medicine. A Naturopathic doctor can provide primary health care to individuals, lifestyle counselling through botanical medicine and a variety of therapies. Naturopathic medicine is focussed on providing treatment based on an individual’s condition from a holistic perspective. There is a greater emphasis on finding the root cause of illness and disease in order to help the body function at an optimal level. In Canada, Naturopathic Doctors must successfully complete the standardized North American Board Exams and jurisdictional exams.

FINDING THE RIGHT HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER


Obtaining information of any kind is literally just a click away, but it’s important to keep your specific needs in mind to make the right choice. Simply having a certain designation does not guarantee expertise or experience. Here are a few basic questions to ask during your inquiry:

  • Have you treated patients who have similar conditions to mine?

  • What are your thoughts on traditional and non-traditional medicine?

  • What other factors are important when assessing your patients?

  • Do you provide virtual and/or in-person appointments?

  • Where and when did you receive your accreditation?

  • Are you a member of any associations within your field of practice?

These questions will naturally lead to others and potentially help you get to know the practitioner and what to expect. It is also helpful to consider what you are specifically looking for in a practitioner. Do you want a health care professional to help you with weight loss, disease prevention or family meal planning? Communicating your needs clearly in addition to understanding the differences between practitioners is a great place to begin your wellness journey.

HEALTH PRACTITIONERS IN TORONTO

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, you have access to various health practitioners that offer virtual consultations. For your convenience, most private insurance benefits cover appointments with Naturopathic Doctors and Dieticians. Be sure to check your extended benefits or health spending account for anything not covered under the general health plan.

HealthCasa employs experienced Dieticians, Nutritionists and Naturopathic Doctors who regularly treat patients with a variety of conditions:

Dr Pearl Breitman is an experienced Dietician with a PHD in Nutrition. She has the ability to translate complex, scientific nutrition information into easy and practical strategies that people can immediately begin to incorporate into their daily routines. Dr. Breitman focuses on the science behind different foods and she can help with weight loss and dietary requirements for various medical conditions.

Heather Lillicon is a diverse Nutritionist as well as a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Heather primarily focuses on how specific foods can help alleviate stress and improve moods. She effectively helps her patients incorporate mindfulness and meditation to help with anxiety.

Dr Mallory Harris is a registered Naturopathic Doctor with a focus on nutrition and lifestyle counselling. Dr. Harris also utilizes herbal medicine to support healthy brain function and improve mental health. In addition, she focuses on hormone balance, infertility, digestive health including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food sensitivities, acid reflux, and various health conditions.

GETTING STARTED

The best place to start is at the beginning! Visit https://www.healthcasa.com/ to discover all of the services available to support your health and well-being. Dieticians, Nutritionists, Naturopathic Doctors, Chiropodists, Physiotherapists and Massage Therapists are available throughout Toronto for your convenience. As an essential service, HealthCasa practitioners continue to provide effective care for patients in the GTA.

Appointments are available online and in person 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols according to Toronto Public Health guidelines.


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