Nutrition and Dietetics


Nutritionists and dietitians deal with people to inform and guide them about the diet they should take to improve the general health, to avoid certain diseases or to keep the existing ailments in control. Nutrition and dietetics are fields related to food and nutrition aspect of life. The study of nutrition means an understanding of the various components of food and the role and requirement of each of these components for the body.

Diet plays a very crucial role in the health and well being of people. A good and balanced diet improves the quality of life to a great extent. People suffering from certain diseases need to take extra care of their eating habits and the kind of food they eat.

Ignorance of this can aggravate the disease, whereas adherence to the right diet can help in speedy recovery or stability of the condition. Poor eating habits and inadequate food intake are a major cause of lot of diseases. A food technologist needs to be completely knowledgeable on relating the pure sciences to the processing of food stuffs, storage, research, quality control, etc. They work in the food manufacturing industries as testers and use their expertise to monitor the storage, hygiene, temperatures and lastly, experimenting on new products. This field finds application in medicine, veterinary, agriculture and public health. Nutritionists counsel individuals and groups, organize the food service systems in hospitals, schools, hotels etc. Major role of dietitians is to assist people in planning their meals depending upon their age, sickness or work routine.

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Applications of Nutrition and Dietetics

Education Field: Schools, colleges and hospitals require people to conduct courses in nutrition and dietetics.

Food Services: This can include a number of facilities in the commercial sector like food manufacture, catering services and restaurants where nutrition professionals can do anything from menu planning to meal preparation to promotion of the food products.

Health Care: This is one of the largest and well-known functions of nutrition in hospitals and clinics. Dieticians assist in treating patients with some big hospitals also providing scope for research, food administration, teaching etc. Information

Dissemination: This entails producing books, articles, promotions, television programmes on optimum dietary practices, since the present era is highly health-conscious.

Institutional Catering: Nutrition and dietetics professionals are needed to plan and prepare nutritious and well-balanced meals for schools, colleges, factories, offices, canteens etc.

Research & Development: R & D, as it is called, deals with conducting research projects on various food items to ensure welfare from both the commercial food services viewpoint, plus that of the health care provision.

Social Welfare: Run by governmental organizations, this section is busy in improving the eating habits and consequently, the health of the less-fortunate groups in society.

Dietitians specialize in education, research, administration and clinical/community dietetics.

Administrative dietitians play a major role in large scale meal planning and monitoring the food preparation process in schools, canteens etc. They take up the entire responsibility of their department and actively participate in selection, training, budgeting, equipment purchase, checking safety regulations, maintaining records etc.

Clinical dietitians are associated with health care institutes, hospitals and nursing homes. Depending on the nutrition needs of the patients, they prepare their diet charts and monitor the results of dietary therapy.

Research dietitians work in the field of nutrition in healthy and therapeutic food items. They work in studying the effects of various types of diet on the body chemistry. They are also involved in conducting highly specialized research in nutritional needs in various different conditions and environments like - space travel etc.


If food is not taken in appropriate quantity or if it lacks in nutrition value, it may cause severe health problems. And there lies the importance of role of nutritionists and dietitians. So no one can deny the importance of nutritious diet as one of the significant requirements for good health. There are good career opportunities in the food industry too. Lot of food companies employs nutritionists and dietitians to check the nutritional quality of the food products, for new product development and for marketing related advice.

A nutritionist's usual jobs include conducting research on the composition and nutritive values of various diets and meals and feeding programmes, conducting nutrition surveys and other food programmes. He evaluates food for nutrition and formulates balanced diet for people of different age, physical conditions and strengths. It is his duty to plan organizes and conducts nutrition programmes, which promote health and control diseases that are caused by nutritional deficiency. To plan or prepare diets that is appetizing and suitable for consumption by patients suffering from various diseases; to render advise on planning nutritious diets which is within affordable limits, how to change food habits, and how to improve health through diet are some of the important functions of a dietitian.

Nutritionists and Dietitians generally find employment in

• Hospitals

• Airlines

• Maternity and child health care centers

• Homes for the physically handicapped and mentally retarded persons

• Institutions imparting training in dietetics and nutrition

• Public health

• Hotels

• Institutional canteens and cafeterias.

Famous Personalities

T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, has had a long career in research, teaching and development of national/international on diet, nutrition and health. His studies have ranged from work in the Philippines developing a nationwide program for feeding malnourished children to the organization and directorship of a nationwide study on diet, health and disease in the People's Republic of China, commonly known as the China Study. He also managed a large laboratory based program of research on the basic biology of the relationship of diet with disease, especially concerning cancer. He has been a member of several expert committees that developed national and international policy on diet and cancer, food labeling, food safety issues and saccharin toxicity. He is probably best known for his work in the China Study and as Senior Science Advisor during the formative years of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund. AICR awarded him the 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award in Cancer Research.

Brenda Davis, registered dietitian/nutritionist, is both a leader in her field and an internationally acclaimed speaker. Davis works as a public health nutritionist, clinical nutrition specialist, nutrition consultant, academic nutrition instructor, and is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. She has co-authored five books, including Becoming Vegetarian, Dairy-free and Delicious, Becoming Vegan, Defeating Diabetes, and The New Becoming Vegetarian.

George Eisman is considered one of the nation's foremost educators on vegetarian nutrition. He served as a faculty member in Dietetics and Nutrition at several universities and colleges and has worked in a children's hospital and a nursing home, as well as for public health agencies in four states. Eisman founded the first accredited program in vegetarian studies, The Association of Vegetarian Dietitians and Nutrition Educators, which is an organization offering correspondence courses in vegetarian nutrition. He is also an Advisory Board Member of EarthSave International. Eisman currently speaks at numerous events and conferences and is author of two books, The Most Noble Diet and A Basic Course in Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition.

John A. McDougall, MD. has been studying, writing and "speaking out" about the effects of nutrition on disease for over 20 years. Dr. McDougall is the founder and medical director of the nationally renowned McDougall Program, a twelve day, live-in plan located at the McDougall Health Center in Santa Rosa, California. Based on several years of private practice with thousands of patients and extensive medical research, Dr. McDougall has developed a nourishing , low-fat, starch-based diet that not only promotes a broad range of dramatic and lasting health benefits such as weight loss, but most importantly can also reverse serious illness, such as heart disease, without drugs. Dr. McDougall is the author of several national bestsellers including: The McDougall Plan: 12 Days to Dynamic Health, The New McDougall Cookbook, The McDougall Program for Women, and The McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart.

Jack Norris, R.D. With a B.S. in nutrition and dietetics from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and having completed a dietetic internship at Georgia State University, Jack Norris worked as an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer from 1994-1996. He currently speaks at a multitude of events covering such topics as: Vegan Nutrition: What Does the Research Show?, Staying a Healthy Vegan, The Truth about Vitamin B12, and Sensible Approaches for Long-term Weight Loss. Norris's website,, contains a number of vegan-related and fitness articles, as well as links to his and other relevant websites. Norris was named "Favorite Columnist" in both 2003 and 2004 for VegNews's annual Veggie Awards.

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