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Career as a Nutritionist in India

nutritionist 300x199 Career as a Nutritionist in India

Nutritionist

“People now realise that healthy and nutritious diet boosts immunity, prevents diseases, spurs mental and physical development of children, among other things,” says Rekha Sinha, executive director, International Life Sciences Institute, India.
This then has to be the best time to be a nutritionist or a dietician. They are the new age knights in shining armour who ensure healthy weight loss (or gain) and rescue people from everything ranging from diabetes to social ostracism.Hospitals have always been one of the highest employers of dietician. A dietician is usually conditioned by the doctor and plans the nutrition of the patient accordingly. “A doctor who has also studied nutrition is becoming a great boon for the medical industry as that person is well-versed with the nuances of a particular medical procedure,” says Dr Suneet Khanna, an obesity management nutritionist in Delhi, who has also done M.B.B.S.Food processing industries and nutraceuticals companies are also emerging as leading employers. Here dieticians work in tandem with the biomedical team to come up with the right product.Residential schools, airlines, gymnasiums, spas are other avenues where a nutritionist is highly sought after. A trainee dietician can earn between Rs 12,000 to Rs 25,000 per month.Being a consultant dietician is a lucrative option for established names in this business. “I am a consultant for six restaurants in Delhi. Most restaurant and hotels take advice from a nutritionist before planning their menu,” says Khanna.Practitioners in this field must have a working knowledge of biology, chemistry, microbiology and physiology to name a few areas. Most employers insist on a post graduate education. A high people-orientation and empathy for the patients are the soft skills essential for this career. One cannot really expect a vegetarian to start eating chicken, or a South Indian to entirely quit rice. So keep the cultural aspect in mind when dealing with clients.Ishi Khosla, Clinical Nutritionist and Director, Whole FoodsMy interest in food was generated during my teenage years. That was the time when I had to battle my own obesity. I researched a lot on food and got hooked on to this subject. The experience made me switch my career path from medicine to nutrition. I did my Msc in Food and Nutrition from Lady Irwin College, Delhi, in 1986. Since then and today, there has been a vast change in public perception towards nutrition. Earlier, people visited us reluctantly and believed that our job is to make them starve. Now, everyone wants to look good and lead a healthy lifestyle. I set up my own practice in 2001 and launched Whole Foods, which sells healthier food options commercially. We have never advertised, but such is the interest that we have grown and expanded tremendously. We have even opened health cafes in Delhi.I feel that if a young person wants to enter this field, first they have to practice what they preach. So maintain a healthy lifestyle. Also, nutrition is a science which is constantly evolving, so keep yourself updated.

Career options

The avenues available are hospitals, health clubs, airlines, schools or international organisations such as WHO or FAO. Food and pharma companies are also emerging as leading employers. One can also be a consultant for hotels and cafes.

Starting salary

  • Rs 1.8-2 lakh per annum

Institutes