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Difference Between Clinical Nutrition vs Nutritional Coaching




Believe it or not, knowing a lot about nutrition does not make you a good coach. Also, being a good coach does not make you an expert in nutrition.


Both fields require completely different skills.

What are the key differences? Glad you asked.


A clinical nutritionist is trained to look at pathologies. Clinical nutrition is the practice of analyzing if a person is consuming an adequate amount of nutrients for good health. A clinical nutritionist is concerned with how nutrients in food are processed, stored and discarded by your body, along with how what you eat affects your overall well-being. Professionals in this field assess your nutritional needs based on your family and medical history, lifestyle and laboratory tests in order to make recommendations on your diet and individual nutritional needs. A clinical nutritionist may provide advice on changes to your diet that may help prevent disease.


A coach is someone who is dedicated in knowing how to help people change, acts as an accountability master in helping clients guide themselves, and practices a client-centered approach to know, understand, and respect clients’ priorities, values and goals. A coach (a good coach) is trained to act more like a psychologist in that they help their client to make their own decisions -and hold them accountable to them in order to change and make new habits.The complexity or high-level technical information, doesn’t help one to be a better coach.

A coach is required to give the client what they NEED to assist in CHANGE. Sometimes this means tough love. Sometimes this means support and nurturing.


In my world, the two constantly butt heads and compete. If someone hires me for coaching, I have to remember to take a back seat clinically (this is difficult for me). If I know clinically what will help my client, it sometimes becomes a battle with impatience waiting for the client to figure it out. However, the client-centered approach is to LOSE any agenda and remember to allow the client to do the talking (another thing that is difficult for me, I like to talk). HA!


Advantages to having a clinical nutritionist that is also a coach. Well, ideally it is my goal that you get the best of both worlds. Am I the best nutritionist? Nah. Am I the best coach? Nah

Am I CONSTANTLY looking to self improve and invest myself in education/training to help become better and better? ABSOLUTELY


Bottom Line:

A clinician is trained to find the answers.

A coach is trained to help the client find the answers.


Benefit to having both:

A 360’ approach to your health




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