Years later, as a newly minted doctor on the wards seeing real patients, I found myself in the same position. I was still getting a lot of questions about food and diet. And I was still hesitating when answering. I wasn’t sure I knew that much more after medical school than I did before.One day I mentioned this uncomfortable situation to another young doctor. “Just consult the dietitians if you have a problem,” she said after listening to my confession. “They’ll take care of it.” She paused for a moment, looked suspiciously around the nursing station, then leaned over and whispered, “I know we’re supposed to know about nutrition and diet, but none of us really does.”She was right. And nearly 20 years later, she may still be.Research has increasingly pointed to a link between the nutritional status of Americans and the chronic diseases that plague them. Between the growing list of diet-related diseases and a burgeoning obesity epidemic, the most important public health measure for any of us to take may well be watching what we eat.But few doctors are prepared to effectively spearhead or even help in those efforts. In the mid-1980s, the National Academy of Sciences published a landmark report highlighting the lack of adequate nutrition education in medical schools; the writers recommended a minimum of 25 hours of nutrition instruction. Now, in a study published this month, it appears that even two and a half decades later a vast majority of medical schools still fail to meet the minimum recommended 25 hours of instruction.
“You can’t just keep writing out script after script after script of new medications when diet is just as important as drugs or any other treatment a patient may be using.”Let's make something very clear, I respect most doctors and I know there is a place for modern medicine in the care of sick people. Unfortunately, most doctors today are educated by pharmaceutical companies so they will in turn prescribe more of their drugs. The studies in the medical journals they read are funded by pharma companies. Their continuing education courses are funded by pharma companies. Their daily lunches are funded by pharma companies. It is a vicious cycle that doctors of America have to get out of.
It is time to learn how eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones can have more powerful effects than a drug. Drugs typically mask symptoms caused by food....they don't fix the problem. Changes in diet can fix the problem. For instance, comedian Drew Carey changed his diet and overall lifestyle and to quote him, "I'm not diabetic anymore. No medication needed." His daily medication couldn't do that. How about our own Don J's example of curing acid reflux? His drugs couldn't cure it.
Let's face it, most doctors aren't reading blogs like ours. Many of them probably do read the New York Times. Hopefully they will be influenced to spend some time learning more about nutrition as a first line of treatment and prevention.