Nutritional therapist, nutritional specialist or counselor and many other names to identify a person who is concerned with nutrition and is to help others in this area. Unfortunately, it is not an expert like an expert. So how to recognize who is who will hopefully show this short article.
The nutritional therapist is a non-medical health worker who, according to Act 96/2004 Coll. (Act on Non-Medical Health Professions) graduated from a three-year bachelor's program at a university (Bc.) or at a higher vocational school (Dis. – Diplomated nutritional therapist). According to the same law, there is also a nutritional specialist who also completed a two-year master's degree at a university (Mgr.). It is these people who have the highest qualifications in the field of medical nutrition, and you should turn to these professionals if you suffer from problems with obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, celiac disease and other diseases that need dietary adjustment.
Then there is a nutritional counselor, an adviser and many other forms, behind which, however, is not a studied expert, but a person who has established a business on a trade license and advises people based on its own experience, taking courses that can last 2 days, 20 hours, or run online, or may have read everything on the internet. Unfortunately, the Czech Republic does not legislate that these non-experts should in no way advise on nutrition for people who are already ill in some way – like people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, other metabolic disorders, but especially people with obesity.
In short, on a weekly or weekend course, one does not acquire the knowledge gained over three to five years spent mostly at the Faculty of Medicine, where topics related to anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, clinical nutrition, etc. are discussed in detail. An integral part are also practices in various hospital wards under the supervision of experienced nutritional therapists or nutritionists (a doctor with expertise in clinical nutrition) who pass on valuable information to students. The layman does not have to find out just like that on the course, and in the worst case, it can only hurt its client with bad advice. Unfortunately, these nutritional counselors do not bear any legal responsibility for their actions, unlike a nutritional therapist, who is fully responsible for its work.
But don't even get fooled into various chains of nutritional clinics, where they incorrectly label a person without a title or just with Dis. as a nutritional specialist. So if you are going to visit a nutritional therapist, be sure to find a nutritional therapist with the title of Bc. or a nutritional specialist with the title of Mgr. Always try to find out in which hands you are entrusting your health to.