In today’s society, figuring out what foods are truly good for you—and which diets are simply fads—can be challenging. Nutritionists provide much-needed clarity on these subjects for their clients.
It gets even more complicated when there’s little regulation about who can call themselves nutritionists. If you are considering a nutrition major, it is essential to know and understand the distinction between a “nutritionist” and a “clinical nutritionist.”
A professional can call themselves a “nutritionist” with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition, while “clinical nutritionists” have completed a master’s degree in Nutrition (MS). Clinical nutritionists have been trained in the most up-to-date research and are qualified to work in various environments, including hospitals, outpatient medical offices, and government agencies.
A master’s in Nutrition is much more than just learning about what’s “healthy.” Yes, students learn about food, but they also take various courses preparing them for numerous career opportunities like food analysts, hospital administrators, educators, and even doctors (additional education required).
Let’s demystify some common misconceptions about nutrition majors, starting with what an MS in Nutrition degree is and is not.
What is a Master’s in Nutrition Degree?
Clinical nutrition involves preventing, diagnosing, and managing a client’s nutrient intake and overall health. It entails the analysis of a person’s diet, family history, medical history, lifestyle, and laboratory tests, combined with their intake of nutrients, to determine how best to utilize diet and nutrition to treat, support, or prevent illness. Often, clinical nutritionists provide their clients with counseling and develop meal plans that help prevent, improve, or manage chronic diseases.
University of Bridgeport’s online Nutrition degree is offered at the master’s level, training clinical professionals to diagnose, treat, and support their clients’ health issues through the lens of diet and nutrition.
Our program offers a comprehensive clinical curriculum to prepare students for their future careers. Courses include specialized classes such as Pathophysiological Bases of Metabolic Diseases, Clinical Biochemistry, and Nutritional Therapeutics. There is also a virtual clinic requirement in the final semester, where students gain experience in clinical test analysis, treatment plan development, and much more.
3 Misconceptions About Nutrition Majors
1. “All Nutrition MS students become nutritionists.”
While a career as a nutritionist is typical among nutrition majors, it is not the only career option. There are many opportunities, such as clinical positions, roles in academia, and non-profit roles (such as a community health educator and advocate) that graduates of nutrition programs can pursue.
Additionally, candidates can explore careers in nutritional and nutraceutical sales and research as well as nutrition research.
Additional jobs available include, but are not limited to:
- Home health care aide
- Personal trainer
- Food photographer
- Wellness consultant
- Medical technologist
- Nutrition writer
- Clinical social worker
- Health administrator
- Nutrition project manager
2. “Nutrition students don’t eat junk food.”
Many people believe that, since nutrition majors are studying nutrition and its science, they automatically eat the “healthiest” food at all times.
“Healthy” has different meanings to different people, and nutrition majors know that diet is not a one size fits all approach. Instead, a healthy diet is having a good balance between whole foods and processed food, with real food making up a more significant part of a person’s diet than processed food.
As Helpguide suggests, eating a healthy diet should not be about depriving yourself of the food you love. Instead, nutrition majors tend to focus on a diet that makes them feel great, increases energy, improves their health, and boosts their mood. This may be coupled with other, beneficial behaviors, such as exercise.
While it is common for nutrition majors to eat well most of the time, they strive for moderation, which might include eating sugar or junk food from time to time.
3. “Nutrition students work out every day.”
Much like #2, this misconception is prevalent. Just like including a good amount of vegetables and whole grains, and drinking plenty of water, are all essential in a balanced diet, incorporating adequate exercise, physical activity, and regular rest days is part of a healthy workout regimen.
Exercise is a physical workload imposed upon your body, and for it to have the most significant effect, the type of exercise and intensity (low, moderate, or high) should vary. And to let your body have sufficient time to repair from these different workloads, you should incorporate regular rest days.
The benefits of rest days include:
- Alleviating muscle pain and soreness
- Repairing and building muscles
- Replenishing the body’s glycogen energy stores
- Prevents injury
- Allows the mind to reset
Nutrition majors usually understand that resting and recovering are essential to a person’s exercise routine and healthy lifestyle. Therefore, you’ll find that many do not work out every single day. And many have found an exercise regime that works for them and with their schedules.
Are You Considering Majoring in Nutrition?
Clinical nutritionists are dedicated, hard-working, and passionate about health. As a clinical nutritionist, you will be able to promote healthy lifestyles and help others best utilize their diet and nutrition to treat, manage, or prevent illness.
Learn more about the online Nutrition master’s degree at UB today. Enrollment is now open, and financial aid is available.