BANT response to the BMJ re misrepresentation of Registered Nutritional Therapy Practitioners

In response to the BMJ article ‘Vitamin D intoxication and severe hypercalcaemia complicating nutritional supplements misuse’ BANT would like to draw attention to the inconsistencies in the purported title of the practitioner cited in the case report; referred to as a ‘private nutritionist’ by the author, changed to ‘nutritional therapist’ in the published BMJ press release (1), leading subsequent media reports to also use ‘nutritional therapist’. The distinction between the two is critical to the reputation of Registered Nutritional Therapy Practitioners, versus the ambiguous title ‘private nutritionist’. Only Registered Nutritional Therapy Practitioners and Registered Dietitians are trained and qualified in clinical practice to meet national standards and work in a one-to-one setting (2) in contrast to a ‘private nutritionist’ whose training and qualification cannot be readily quantified which would be consistent with the harmful advice given to the patient.

Furthermore, BANT practitioner members are required to be registered either with Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) or be statutorily regulated. CNHC holds a register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA), an independent body accountable to the UK Parliament. Registration to this accredited voluntary register acts as a safeguard to protect the public and ensures practitioners are bound by the highest standards of conduct (3).

The primary function of BANT is to assist its members in attaining high standards of education and professional practice, in order to protect the client’s interest, and the professional reputation of nutrition and lifestyle medicine. BANT therefore finds it regrettable to see the incongruent use of nutritional therapist in the BMJ article and the detrimental amplification of its use in the media. On behalf of BANT’s 3,500 members we would kindly ask the BMJ to verify how this term was mis-adopted in their press release in contrast to the author’s use of ‘private nutritionist’?


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The British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) acts as a professional body for Registered Nutritional Therapy Practitioners in one-to-one clinical practice and as a self-regulator for BANT Registered Nutritionists®. BANT oversees the activities, training, and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of its practitioners and has a governing council, who may be non-members but whose professional experience lies in the medical, scientific or educational area of nutritional science.

Registered Nutritional Therapists are regulated by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) that holds an Accredited Voluntary Register (AVR) for the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA). A report by the Royal Society for Public Health and the Professional Standards Agency made a key recommendation that AVR practitioners have the authority to make direct NHS referrals, in appropriate cases, to ease the administrative burden on GP surgeries. BANT Nutrition Practitioners are the key workforce asset to harness 21st century lifestyle medicine to tackle the rising tide of stress-related fatigue, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, dementia and other chronic diseases.

To find a BANT Nutrition Practitioner, please click here



The BANT Wellbeing Guidelines are specifically designed to provide clear, easy to understand general information for healthy diet and lifestyle when personalised advice is not available.

BANT launched its “Food for your Health” Campaign in February 2021 to provide open-access resources to help guide the public towards healthier food choices in prevention for diet-induced disease. Download a wide range of food and lifestyle guides, recipes, infographics, planning tools and fact sheets and start making healthy choices today.


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