What to Ask Your Doctor About Nutrition

Topics: Environmental Health, Wellness and Health
I was interviewed last week by Oxygen Magazine about the New York Times coverage of nutrition in medical school (or rather, the declining hours given in U.S. medical schools to the subject: full scientific article here.)
The questions were very good, and so I thought I’d offer my answers to you too.

1. How important is food in preventing disease?

Food is the most powerful clinical intervention against chronic disease doctors have.  We should be able to write recipes on prescription slips, just like prescription medication.  And every doctor should know how.

2. Should people ask their doctor how they feel about nutrition? If so, what kind of question(s) should they ask?

a. What should I eat for my (specific condition)? {By specific, I mean fill-in-the-blank: high blood pressure, diabetes, gout, arthritis, depression, optimal health}
b. Where can I learn about what to eat for my (specific condition)?
c. Where can I find easy, healthy recipes for my general health by someone you trust?

and more generally

d. Do you think nutrition and what I eat are important for my (specific condition)?

If you get a “No” or “I doubt it” to question d, ask “Why”? There might be a good reason. But if there isn’t, consider looking for a doctor who says “Yes, I do.”

  • Great advice. Unfortunately, well before I got into the health and lifestyle business, I can remember my doctor telling me that I was eating properly because I ate salads.

    After changing my lifestyle, my current doctor advised me that my lipid test might not change much because of genetics. Well, I was one of those lucky ones … my total cholesterol went down 25% in six months. The only change I made was in my diet…no meds.

    I recommend that people become their own health advocates.

    Thanks for the information,

    Ken Leebow