Nutritionists are dedicated to communicating how diet impacts the health and wellbeing of people, animals and our planet.
As a nutritionist you deliver information about food and healthy eating to a variety of audiences.
You can work in either the private sector or public sector for different organisations, but your main objective will involve applying food science expertise to the education of individuals or groups, designing nutritional advice or forming policy.
Here at City, University of London we understand the power of food policy to tackle food system challenges and improve the wellbeing of people and planet.
You will graduate with a disciplined and rigorous academic approach to nutrition and a clear pathway to becoming a nutritionist.
What can I expect from a career as a nutritionist?
As a nutritionist you provide evidence-based information about food and healthy eating in areas including public health, research, education and in the private sector.
Nutritionists mostly work with people considered to be healthy, unlike dietitians who specialise in working with specific medical conditions including food allergies, malnutrition or diabetes.
You may directly educate individuals or groups, or you may devise policy that creates nutritional advice. Your food science knowledge will be vital in your work.
It could be that you work in community settings and are sometimes based in health service nutrition departments, or in local authority public health teams.
Regular duties will depend on your employer and the precise nature of your role but are likely to include several of the following:
- Design and delivery of practical and educational food-based initiatives
- Gaining approval for health claims on packaging
- Helping individuals, communities and workforces to change food habits
- Advising sport professionals on performance optimisation
- Compiling nutritional information for food production
- Development and analysis of menus for school meals, sports teams, residential care settings and workplace restaurants
- Designing specialist healthy eating advice for specific groups including infants or the elderly
- Researching how diet affects metabolism
- Exploring the relationship between genes and nutrients
- Undertaking food research, clinical trials and dietary surveys to boost the evidence base
- Writing policy and advocating change.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming a nutritionist, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career as a nutritionist, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.
Who can I work for as a nutritionist?
You can work for a variety of private and public organisations across different non-clinical settings as a nutritionist. You may be employed within the National Health Service (NHS) and work with dietitians.
Other potential employers include food retailers and manufacturers, local authorities, sports organisations, overseas aid projects, universities or other educational institutions.
Specific job roles and titles include food scientist, nutrition analyst, community food lead and nutrition scientist.
Finding nutritionist jobs may be difficult as certain employers rarely recruit and when they do it might be just one vacancy.
What about work experience as a nutritionist?
Work experience as a nutritionist can be especially valuable because the profession is so competitive. As well as distinguishing you and potentially giving you the edge when it comes to getting a job, it can help to shape your ambitions and show your commitment to the vocation.
You might volunteer to work in the community with a food bank, or with charities and not-for-profit organisations. Proactively contacting organisations in food technology or product development could also be constructive.
Taking a placement year in industry, healthcare or with a research body can build your practical experience and generate useful contacts.
Consider student membership of The Nutrition Society, which gives reduced fees for relevant publications and events. You can’t be too well informed and too well networked.
What are my prospects as a nutritionist?
Your long-term prospects as a nutritionist will be shaped by your own individual passions. When you become registered as a nutritionist you can start to grow your experience in practising with clients or groups in your specialist areas.
As you gain experience your network of contacts should grow within the NHS, private sector or academia. You might lead or form part of a team delivering nutrition guidance to government.
If you choose to stay within research and academia, your prospects will probably be comparable to other research scientists. You might move into research roles at a research institute or public body.
With greater experience you may be attracted to opportunities working in community projects in the developing world, or to starting up your own consultancy business.