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Diet watch

A dietitian carries out qualitative analysis of the food being consumed, not only till the time of consumption, but even after it is eaten. S/he should have knowledge of human physiology, varieties of food, nutritional aspects, calories, etc.

education Updated: Feb 22, 2012 09:35 IST

The lowdown
A dietitian carries out qualitative analysis of the food being consumed, not only till the time of consumption, but even after it is eaten. S/he should have knowledge of human physiology, varieties of food, nutritional aspects, calories, etc. S/he has to check a patient’s medical records and genetic patterns and suggest modifications in the diet. Some specialise in particular fields such as obesity, paediatrics or diabetes. There is no major difference between dietitians and nutritionists. Generally, people working with hospitals stick to the tag of dietitian whereas those working in other set-ups such as healthcare centres call themselves nutritionists

Clockwork
8am: Plan meals for patients, start work
9am: Leave for office
10am: Meet patients. Make modifications patients’ diet plans
Noon: Check medical reports. Make next day’s plans. Compile reports
4pm: Attend patients’ calls

The payoff
Entry level: A fresher with a diploma can get anywhere around Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 a month. Those with a master’s degree can expect Rs 11,000 to Rs 15,000 a month. With experience, there is no limit to the money one can earn

Skills/TRAITS
* Analytical mind with scientific approach
* Interest in learning new things

Getting there
Take up a home science programme after Class 12. This is offered as BSc (home science) or BA (home science). Then go in for a master’s degree in home science with specialisation in food science and nutrition. Some agricultural universities, too, offer BHSc and MHSc programmes. Preference is given to candidates with science in Class 12

Institutes and URLs
* BSc/ MSc home science (food and nutrition), Institute of Home Economics, University of Delhi
www.ihe-du.co.in
* PG diploma in dietetics and public health nutrition, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi
www.ladyirwin.edu.in
* BTech/MTech (food and biochemical engineering), Jadavpur University, Kolkata
www.jadavpur.edu
* Postgraduate diploma in nutrition and dietetics University of Madras, Chennai www.unom.ac.in/ice.html

Pros and cons
* Knowledge is applied throughout life
* Scope is unlimited

It involves treating patients with food therapy. So, application of what you have studied is must Ishi Khosla, clinical nutritionist, author and director, Whole Foods India, New Delhi