June 8, 2008

The Missing Link

The latest video uploaded to the Small Bites YouTube channel is a short and not-so-sweet one.

In it, I briefly mention a concern of mine with many medical schools in the United States -- their lack of nutrition education.

Doctors who are knowledgeable about about nutrition had to seek out that information elsewhere, mainly by spending even more time in school and getting the appropriate degrees and accreditations.

This explains why so many general practitioners prescribe fiber pills to constipated patients (rather than explain how this can be managed through food or at the very least rprovide a referral Registered Dietitian) or deal with high blood pressure by immediately recommending medication (instead of initially considerig appropriate appropriate dietary changes).

Surveys of incoming medical students to various universities show that they are interested in learning about the topic, so why are so few institutions doing anything about it?


Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this post!

I belong to an online "dieting support" community and I'm getting sick of hearing girls who are 200-250 pounds post that their DOCTORS put them on 1000 calorie a day diets.

When you bring up nutrition and starvation, they counter with "well my DOCTOR said it's what I should eat - neener neener neener."

What is your take on doctor-supervised extremely restricted calorie diets for people who are not super morbidly obese?
What can someone say to explain to these girls that their doctor is starving them and the weight loss won't be permanent?

Andy Bellatti said...


I have seen many doctors put patients on similar diets, low in a variety of nutrients and impossible to maintain.

The best thing to tell these patients is to seek out the advice of a Registered Dietitian in order to make their weight loss achievable and PERMANENT.

I want to clarify, too, that there are many doctors who ARE skilled in nutrition.

However, it is no surprise that such a large percentage of practicing doctors have no clue what to do when asked for nutrition advice.

There needs to be more unity among doctors and dietitians, especially for patients' sake.

Anonymous said...

I am a student in a med school, and I can tell you why future physicians are left in the dark about nutrition: MONEY. The big pharmaceutical companies fund more and more of the research in these places, and they pay to make sure the students will prescribe their products. Many of the researchers express open skepticism about nutrition (even while stating that they fed the typical American diet to rats/mice, and 10 weeks later the animals developed cancer, diabetes,etc, when mice fed normal plant-based chow did not). It's mind-boggling that they want to discover medications to "reduce the burden of lifestyle modification"! If the researchers teaching med school courses have this attitude, how are their students supposed to know any better? Keep up the good work.

Andy Bellatti said...

How discouraging. Some people I know who have gone to med school have expressed similar experiences. In fact, many of them thought nutrition would be a more integral part of their curriculum.

The sole idea of a "fiber pill" makes my blood pressure shoot through the roof (for which I do NOT want a pill, thank you!)