The role of Dietitians in Eating Disorders

This article was written by Associate Registered Nutritionist (ANutr) Cherie Ko, and reviewed by Registered Dietitian, Sarah Idakwo

Dietitians play a crucial role in health and wellness and expert guidance on nutrition and diet. While it is commonly known that they provide basic dietary advice, it is not common knowledge that some dietitians do have specialist areas of expertise. Examples include IBS dietitians, Coeliac dietitians, and of course Eating disorder dietitians.

If you want to know more about the role of dietitians in eating disorders who specialise in eating disorders actually do, you are at the right place!

This blog post explores the role of dietitians in eating disorders and how they are part of the journey during eating disorder recovery. 

What do Dietitians do?

Dietitians are highly trained professionals specialising in food and nutrition. Their expertise covers a wide range of areas, from general wellness to specific health conditions. They utilise evidence-based practices to help individuals make informed food choices and develop healthy eating habits (1).

Specialised Knowledge in Eating Disorders

One area of specialisation for dietitians is in the management of eating disorders. Dietitians that specialise in eating disorders undergo extensive training to properly assess and treat eating disorders. This training includes training in nutrition and diet, but also physiological and mental aspects of the eating disorders and disordered eating training like trauma counselling, motivational interviewing, DBT, CBT which are all vital in this space. 

Dietitians as part of the Eating Disorder recovery  

We know what the role of dietitians are, now let’s find out how they can support you during your recovery journey. 

Dietitians work closely with individuals suffering from eating disorder through these key aspects:

  • Assessing eating behaviours 
  • Provide nutrition education as well as psychoeducation
  • Creating individual nutrition plans
  • Supporting patients develop a Healthy Relationship with Food
  • Long term nutritional support 

They also work closely with other healthcare professionals, including mental health professionals, therapists, doctors, and nurses, as part of a multidisciplinary team to ensure the patient achieves the best health outcomes (2).

The role of Dietitians in Eating Disorders

Let’s dive deeper into what dietitians do to support your recovery journey. 

Assessing eating behaviours 

Dietitians will evaluate an individual’s dietary intake, eating behaviours and current nutritional status. This assessment allows dietitians to identify potential nutritional deficiencies and eating behaviours that could impact optimal health. It also helps dietitians identify potential areas that need improvements, especially issues that could be fatal or lead to health complications like refeeding syndrome or long term health complications like osteoporosis and infertility, and to involve other healthcare professionals necessary to help treat them. 

Personalised nutrition plans

After conducting nutrition assessment and evaluation, dietitians are now able to design a personalised nutrition and lifestyle plan to support the individual to optimal health and wellbeing. This could involve developing unique meal plans, teaching patients how to cultivate a peaceful and balanced approach to eating, and also working together to build healthier eating behaviours.

Nutrition education

Dietitians offer comprehensive nutrition education to empower patients with the knowledge they need to make informed food choices and understand the vital role of a balanced diet. We would also explore any unhelpful food rules you may have picked up along the way that may be negatively impacting how you eat. 

Building a Healthy Relationship with Food

Eating disorder dietitians work closely with individuals to identify and address harmful beliefs and behaviours they may have about food. This is essential to shift focus away from restrictive behaviours and towards a more intuitive and positive/peaceful relationship with food.

This can include working with patients to:

  • Dispel myths or misconceptions they may around certain foods or food groups
  • Identify and address potential triggers of the eating disorder
  • Supporting patients in recognising hunger and fullness cues
  • Promoting mindful eating practices
  • Overcoming negative relationships and behaviours associated with food

Long-Term Support

Recovery from an eating disorder is an ongoing process that requires continuous support. Dietitians play a critical role in monitoring their clients’ progress and make necessary adjustments along the way to prevent relapse. This is not to say relapse is not a normal part of recovery. We are also available to ensure that when you do relapse, we are there to support you in moving forward 

Dietitians provide ongoing care to ensure that patients remain on their recovery journey, if this is what they feel they need. This could mean adapting plans based on any changes or circumstances that could arise, and empowering and working with patients to sustain their progress. 


Dietitians are essential in promoting health and wellness through expert nutritional guidance and personalised care. Their roles extend beyond simple dietary advice, to ensure they are able to offer holistic support, especially during the treatment of eating disorders. 

Take the First Step Towards Recovery Today!

Do you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder? Reach out to our team here to take your first step towards recovery.

About Me

I’m Sarah, a UK registered dietitian and eating disorder specialist. I am passionate about helping individuals and families overcome the challenges of eating disorders, disordered eating, and mental health conditions. My expertise lies in supporting families and individuals with a history of trauma, including domestic abuse, and guiding children and teenagers through the complexities of eating disorders, particularly those stemming from adverse childhood experiences.

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