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A nutritionist can help advise people on dietary and nutrition matters relating to health. Recently nutrition has become part of the general consciousness and a nutritionist can help you manage your diet well. Nutrition is the most important thing to consider in your life as a good diet can have an incredible effect on your quality of life. To find a nutritionist use our simple post code search system.

In This Article
History Of Nutrition How Does It Work?
A Typical Appointment What To Expect
Timings/ Costs/ Sessions Is It Right For You?

The importance of nutrition and its effects on the body have been documented as far back as 400BC when Hippocrates instructed his students about nutrition in food having medical benefits. However, it wasn't until the mid-1700s that a British Navy physician experimented in nutrition for the first time.

Seeing that sailors on long journeys were susceptible to a painful bleeding disorder known as 'scurvy', Dr. James Lind experimented with citrus fruit to cure the disease (which is now known as being due to a vitamin C deficiency). Thirty years after Lind's discovery, Antoine Lavoisier discovered the process of metabolism and how food and oxygen generates heat and water in the body.

Over the next 150 years, important steps were made by nutrition scientists. In the early 20th century, Elmer Vernon McCollum experimented with butter and lard fed to rats and discovered vitamin A. In the same year, 'vitamins' as a term was used for the first time by Dr. Casmir Funk as his studies led to the understanding of vitamins being a vital factor in a good nutritional diet. During the 1930s and 40s, vitamins B and C were identified as being water soluble and amino acids were discovered as essential building blocks of protein.


When you find a nutritionist or a nutritional therapist it would be useful to understand how it works or can help you. Nutrition is the process of nutrients being taken in (usually as food substances) and the body then making use of them. By identifying the different types and amounts of nutrients needed for growth and health, a balanced diet can be used to promote healthy living and reduce the chances of developing diseases. Nutrients are generally divided into five groups: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins, with water as the sixth essential element to a healthy body.

Proteins are essential for repairing tissue and cells and are made up of amino acid combinations. They can be found in meat, eggs and oily fish or as plant protein in cereal, nuts and seeds among others. Carbohydrates are found in foods such as bananas, nuts and potatoes and are used as energy food by the body. Fats are needed for healthy skin and hair, protecting internal organs and preventing heat loss. It is also used for energy and identified by either saturated or unsaturated fat.

Minerals and vitamins are found in food but can be taken as supplements. Minerals, such as calcium and iron, help vitamins to work. Vitamin D for instance is found in foods like milk and eggs and aids the absorption of calcium in the body to strengthen bones and teeth.

As the body is 75% water, it is a vital element needed for the body to exist. Water helps in removing waste products from the body, transporting minerals and oxygen around the body and regulating body temperature. Dehydration from lack of water causes headaches, sickness and over a prolonged period death. The body can't function properly without water for more than a couple of days and as it can't be stored, must be replaced on a regular basis.   


Be prepared

There are different terms for practitioners working in the field of nutrition and it is important to understand the differences:

The term 'nutritionist' describes a practitioner who can advise on food and healthy eating but not about therapeutic diets. The Nutrition Society is a professional organisation working toward protecting the title of 'nutritionist' and whose members have a degree in nutrition (or food science) and three years experience in the role. Many nutritionists work in research or the food industry and some are also registered 'dieticians'.

A 'dietician' is someone who is trained to university degree level and works in a hospital or clinical environment (usually the NHS). Dieticians are protected by the HPC and have their own association, the British Dietetic Association. They often specialise in certain fields such as diabetics, paediatrics or renal.

'Nutritional therapists' work with patients, usually through medical referral, to overcome problems such as allergies, hormone imbalance and skin disorders. They are trained to work in clinical practice and are members of organisations such as The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and voluntarily regulated by The Nutritional Therapy Council. 

It is advisable for anyone considering visiting a nutrutionist or any type of practitioner or therapist that you check your practitioner has undergone thorough training and is accredited with the relevant governing body and listed on their public register. If you have any medical condition it is advisable to consult your GP before making an appointment to see a nutritional therapist.  


During your first appointment your nutrition practitioner will ask questions about medical history, diet and lifestyle to understand your problem. As well as questioning, they may employ various nutritional techniques such as food sensitivity tests, allergy tests or stool testing. This will help to see if you have any nutrition deficiencies, food allergies or high toxic levels in the body. The results of these tests will give a better understanding of your health and the best way to overcome any problems you may have.

Once your nutrition practitioner has got to the root of your problem, they will suggest foods that will be beneficial to you and any foods that should be avoided. They may recommend a specific diet and the use of supplements aimed at helping your recovery. Your nutritional therapist may also suggest lifestyle changes such as relaxation or exercise.

You may also be asked to keep a diary of what foods you eat or changes you make to your lifestyle and their results. This can then be taken to your next appointment so the practitioner can make any adjustments should they be required.


Your first appointment may last from 45 - 90 minutes as the nutrition practitioner gains an understanding of your problem. Subsequent appointments will usually last around 30 - 45 minutes.

An initial consultation can cost up to £75 with an independent private nutrition practitioner with follow-up sessions costing around £45. Nutritional therapy and dietician appointments are available on the NHS but will require referral and involve waiting times of up to eight weeks. Consult with your GP.

The number of sessions you'll require depends on your progress and any alterations needed to your treatment. Some people start to feel the benefits after one or two sessions and no longer feel the need for follow-up appointments but the changes you make to your diet and lifestyle are generally long-term and continued consultation with a practitioner can be beneficial. 


Nutrition is an important part of maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle and is therefore beneficial to everyone even if you feel in good health. 

Think about why you want to see a nutrition expert. If it's for a medical problem see a nutrition therapist or dietician, if it's for general nutritional advice a nutritionist can be a good option.


This therapy or modality may help with:

Abdominal Pain Acne Addiction
ADHD Alcoholism Allergies
Anemia Angina Anorexia nervosa
Anxiety Arthritis Asthma
Bad Breath (Halitosis) Blood pressure Bloody Nose
Body Odour (BO) Breathing disorders Bronchitis
Bulimia Calcium Deficiency Cancers
Catarrh Childbirth Cholesterol Issues
Chronic Fatigue Circulation Problems Common cold
Constipation Cystitis Dementia
Depression Dermatitis Diabetes
Diarrhoea Digestive Problems Drug addiction
Dry eye Dry mouth Eating Disorders
Eczema Excessive Sweating Fainting
Fever Flu Food Poisoning
Food sensitivities Gastroenteritis (stomach flu) Hay Fever
Headaches Heart Burn Heart disease
HIV Hormone Imbalance Hyperhidrosis
Immune System Dysfunction Impetigo Incontinence
Indigestion Infertility Influenza (Flu)
Insomnia Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Jaundice
Joint Pain Learning difficulties Lymphedema
M E Migraines Morning sickness
Mouth ulcers Muscle Cramps Nausea
Obesity OCD Osteoporosis
Period pain PMS PMT Pregnancy
Psoriasis Rheumatism Runny Nose
Sinusitis Sore throat Stomach cramps
Stress Tiredness Tonsillitis
Tremors Ulcerative colitis Urinary Problems
Urticaria Vomiting Warts
Weight Management

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Featured Nutrition Practitioners

Sample Of Practitioners By Location
Nutritionist Birmingham Nutritionist Brighton Nutritionist Bristol
Nutritionist Cardiff Nutritionist Central London Nutritionist Coventry
Nutritionist East London Nutritionist Edinburgh Nutritionist Glasgow
Nutritionist Harley Street Nutritionist Leeds Nutritionist Liverpool
Nutritionist Manchester Nutritionist North London Nutritionist Nottingham
Nutritionist Sheffield Nutritionist South London Nutritionist West London

About Therapist Qualifications

British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT) British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT) More Info Association of Physical & Natural Therapies (APNT) Association of Physical & Natural Therapies (APNT) More Info
The Institute For Optimum Nutrition ION The Institute For Optimum Nutrition ION More Info


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