“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” - Ann Wigmore

Dietitians are experts who give advice to people on food and nutrition. Their main aim is to make people lead a healthy lifestyle by influencing their nutrition related choices in a positive manner. They use their scientific knowledge to give practical advice to people so that they make wise decisions about food. They make meal plans for people to achieve certain physical goals such as losing weight, gaining height, or overcoming an illness or a deficiency. They supervise the preparation of food, develop specific diets and give advice to people on good nutritional habits.

Becoming a Dietitian is a very beneficial and viable career option. It is a relatively new field and there is massive growth in this area. The growth is expected to continue at a fast pace due to the increased awareness level amongst people about good nutrition and fitness. It is a respectable and well paid career. Dietitians work in a variety of areas like acute and community health sectors, education, freelancing, sport, research and public health.

What do Dietitians do?

Dietitians are dietary and nutrition experts who give advice to people regarding what they should eat to achieve specific physical goals or to maintain their overall fitness. They come up with modified diets for their patients. Sometimes, they work with Physicians to come up with artificial diets for patients who can’t consume food naturally. They are also involved in creating disease specific diets for patients who are suffering from diabetes, obesity etc.

The main job of Dietitian is to counsel patients about their lifestyle and eating habits. They train their patients to eat nutritious food and avoid food that is harmful to their health. Dietitians analyze patients’ eating habits and tell them where they are wrong and also suggest corrective measures.

Dietitians plan special diets and make meal schedules for their patients. This is an extremely important task for every Dietitian as the success of such diets is what determines the success of a Dietitian. Dietitians keep in mind the person’s dietary restrictions, occupational constraints, fitness levels and stress level before coming up with a meal schedule.

Another important task that Dietitians perform is to constantly evaluate the effects of their meal plans and make necessary changes to them to improve the effects. For example, if a weight loss centric diet has not worked as much as it should have, Dietitians might make the diet more stringent to ensure weight loss.

Dietitians also work closely with the Government and many senior professionals are involved in the policy – making process. They advise the Government as to what policies should be made regarding nutrition keeping the current nutrition levels of that place in mind.

Dietitians are also involved in research and development. They research and study about food items and try to analyze their nutritional values. This is especially essential for Dietitians who work in the food industry and analyze new food products.

Some Dietitians work closely with sportspersons. They advise them regarding their eating and lifestyle habits and how they can be improved to better their performance in their sport. They also work with sportspersons who are injured and come up with injury specific diets.
Dietitians are responsible for promoting better nutrition habits and food culture. They give interviews, write books, and publish research journals with the aim of promoting a more nutritious way of eating food.

How to become a Dietitian?

Dietitians aim to avoid diseases and keep people fit by altering their eating habits and improving them. They assess, diagnose and treat health related problems with the use of better nutrition. They often attend seminars, conferences etc. to promote healthy nutritional habits throughout the country. Becoming a Dietitian is not easy, but a genuine interest in the field combined with the right aptitude can make you really successful.

In order to become a Dietitian, you need to start concentrating on your studies from school itself. Learn as much as you can about subjects like Science, English. You should choose Science after your 10th and give special attention to subjects like Biology and Chemistry.

Once you complete your schooling, you will have to pursue a Graduate degree in a related field. But before you can start pursuing your degree, you might need to give certain entrance tests to gain admission into top medical colleges. Most colleges will have their own entrance tests that you will have to pass and score well in.

Once you gain admission into a college, you should pursue Undergraduate courses in the field of Home Science, Food Technology or Nutrition. These courses will give you an in depth knowledge of the subject. You can also choose to pursue a Master’s course in the same field after your graduation to get more knowledge and better jobs. Once you complete your Master’s you can start working or do a PhD if your aim is to get into Research and Development.

After you complete your graduation, you will have to apply for a provisional registration certificate with the Medical Council of India. This certificate will enable you to do your dietetic internship without which, you cannot become a registered Dietitian.

Once you get your provisional certificate, you should take up a one year internship at a reputed hospital. This internship will give you an idea about the practical side of this profession. It will provide you with the necessary experience in dealing with patients and diseases.
You will need to pass the Registered Dietetics exam by the Indian Dietetics Association in order to become a registered Dietitian. But before you can give this exam, you will have to be a lifetime member of the Medical Council of India.

To become a Dietitian, you should stay aware of the recent developments that are taking place in the field of Dietetics around the world. Subscribe to journals and attend conferences and seminars as they will help you stay in touch with the rest of the people in this profession.


There are many reputed institutions in India that provide excellent education in the field of Dietetics and Nutrition. For your under graduation degree, The Institute of Home Economics, Delhi provides a reputed B.Tech degree in Food Technology. Lady Irwin College, New Delhi has an excellent Master’s course in Nutrition. It will provide you with an M.Sc degree in Food and Nutrition upon completion of the course.

What are the skills required to become a Dietitian?

Dietitians are medical professionals who look to improve the health of patients by improving their eating habits. Dietitians need to have excellent communication skills so that they can understand the needs of their patients and provide adequate remedies. They should have very good organization skills and computer skills as they need to make diet plans for their patients. Dietitians should be considerate and sensitive towards their patients and empathize with their problems. It is important for Dietitians to be flexible and adapt as per the needs and requirements of each patient. They need to be able to work in teams as well as work alone. They should have the ability to solve problems through their decision making skills. Dietitians should be able to reason scientifically and analyze the problems of their patients. They need to be great motivators and have great inter personal skills. They should also have the ability to simplify things for their patients and should be willing to learn continuously and upgrade their knowledge. Most importantly, Dietitians should have the genuine desire to help humanity through their knowledge about good and healthy nutritional habits.

Is this the right career for me?

Dietitians spend most of their lives in clinics and hospitals consulting and treating patients. They normally work for regular hours, but might have to work extra when there are too many appointments. They deal with patients and their problems while trying to adapt their methods as per the needs of each individual patient. Dietitians require patience and should be responsible professionals. It is a well paying and respectable job that allows a person to help people while practicing your profession.

So if you’re looking for a career that will provide you with the opportunity to travel, and if you want fame and adventure through your career, then this isn’t the right career for you. But if you’re genuinely interested in the field of nutrition, and would like to help patients stay fit and health by following your diet plans, then this might be the perfect career for you.

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