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What is Nutritional Therapy?

Nutritional therapy is the application of nutrition science in the promotion of health, peak performance and individual care. Nutritional therapy practitioners use a wide range of tools to assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and understand how these may contribute to an individual’s symptoms and health concerns. This approach allows them to work with individuals to address nutritional balance and help support the body towards maintaining health.

Nutritional therapy is recognised as a complementary medicine and is relevant for individuals with chronic conditions, as well as those looking for support to enhance their health and wellbeing.

Practitioners consider each individual to be unique and recommend personalised nutrition and lifestyle programmes rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Practitioners never recommend nutritional therapy as a replacement for medical advice and always refer any client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms to their medical professional. They will also frequently work alongside a medical professional and will communicate with other healthcare professionals involved in the client’s care to explain any nutritional therapy programme that has been provided.

How is Nutritional Therapy regulated?

Before consulting a nutritional therapist you should ensure that they have full membership with the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and are registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

BANT is the professional body for Nutritional Therapists. Its primary function is to assist its members in attaining the highest standards of integrity, knowledge, competence and professional practice, in order to protect the client’s interests, nutritional therapy and the nutritional therapist.

The CNHC is the UK regulator for complementary healthcare practitioners. Sponsored by the Department of Health, the CNHC’s key role is to enhance public protection by setting standards for registration and ensuring that all registered practitioners meet the relevant National Occupational Standards. In November 2009 the Department of Health stated: “CNHC is the only voluntary regulatory body for complementary healthcare which has official government backing. No other organisation has the same exacting criteria or focus on safety and quality.” Nutritional Therapists must meet the CNHC’s standards and maintain their professional skills through an ongoing programme of Continuing Professional Development in order to display the CNHC quality mark.

Vicki Lee’s practice details on the BANT and CNHC websites.

Testimonials

“What Vicki recommended made such sense that I have followed it with not too much difficulty. And the result is that I no longer have energy dips and feel much better all round, which strikes me as a pretty good result.”
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What is the difference between a nutritional therapist and a dietician?

A dietician works with diagnosed patients under the direction of a GP in a hospital, practice or the community. Dieticians base their advice on the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) of nutrients. RNI guidelines are based on the amount of a nutrient required to avoid diseases of deficiency. They do not take into account biochemical individuality i.e. the fact that each person is unique and therefore has unique needs.

In contrast, a nutritional therapist typically works in private practice and consults with individuals on a one to one basis, sometimes receiving NHS referrals. A nutritional therapist may work with healthy individuals in order to prevent disease, and those that are ill to ease and minimise symptoms of a developed disease. A nutritional therapist takes into account the unique dietary needs of each individual and aims to promote optimal health with personalised diet and lifestyle changes and therapeutic supplementation.

This article from the Alliance for Natural Health illustrates the difference in approach of dieticians and nutritional therapists

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