Way back in 2008 it was estimated that obesity costed our health care system 150 billion dollars. Health care hasn’t gotten cheaper in the last six years, nor have less people become obese in that time. It’s worse now.
Doctors are not trained to counsel patients on diet or nutrition.
In a recent survey, physicians reported that fewer than 25 percent felt competent to discuss diet and exercise, and that fewer than one in eight visits included nutritional counseling. The most recent survey on nutrition education in medical schools, which is being done every five to six years, found that only 25 percent (down from 30 percent in 2006) of medical schools provided a required nutrition course, and that students received on average 19.6 hours of nutrition instruction (down from 22.3 hours in 2004).
Nutrition information is hindered by the drought of actual scientific study done on cause-and-effect relationship between foods, ingredients and obesity. There is no “FDA” for food, like there is and “FDA” for drugs.
Clinical nutrition continues to diminish its own credibility by insisting on denying the weaknesses in the research upon which we base our recommendations. I am too often embarrassed to have to explain why we have changed our mind about dietary recommendations (again), because we sounded so certain when we promoted the last set of recommendations. Proper nutrition research is difficult, expensive, and takes years and thousands of subjects willing and able to comply with the intervention. Most nutrition recommendations are based on observational or epidemiological research, which is easier, less expensive and can be accomplished in shorter order, but cannot establish cause and effect relationships.
Wait on the research if you want to. If you can’t change your weekly menu until your doctor can tell you what to eat, then keep on eating the way you are. Maybe it’s not the foods you are eating that are giving you high blood pressure or type II diabetes.
You can just start shopping on the outside edge of the market. Vegetables and fruits, whole and fresh should be the first thing in the cart. Next, cruise the meat case, where you can get fish, beef, pork, chicken. On to the dairy case where you can find milk and eggs, cheese and yogurt.
Are these the items in your local grocery the absolute best, safest, healthiest choices? No. They are, however, one hundred percent healthier than the mystery foods found in bags, boxes and bottles lining every interior shelf of the market.