The Real Reason Doctors Don’t Talk About Nutrition

Why are more doctors not talking about nutrition? Have you ever asked your physician about certain nutrition questions and didn’t receive the answer that you were looking for? It’s because it was not in our basic training as doctors. The great news is that many doctors are now seeking outside training to add to their toolbox. Listen to what a Mayo Clinic trained cardiologist has to say about doctors and nutrition.

When I ask my patients what they eat, they are often surprised.  Most tell me no one has asked before – and certainly not their doctor.  To ignore food is not simply an oversight, it is a failure in care because what we eat has a profound effect on our health. Poor nutrition is a cause or major contributor to at least 80% of illnesses including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  So why does food take a back seat to everything else?  Here’s the dirty little secret: most doctors don’t discuss nutrition because they have no training in it.  That should shock you, especially given how critical good nutrition is to prevention and healing.  

During my 14 years of medical training at institutions that included Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, the total time devoted to nutrition education was a whopping – wait for it - 0 hours.  That’s not a typo.  Zero. Medical schools and residency programs are beginning to incorporate nutrition into their curriculum, but we’re a long way from doctors actually being as expert in advising which foods to eat as they are in advising which drugs to take.

And yet, we set ourselves up for failure if we don’t wholeheartedly embrace food as a cornerstone of disease care and prevention.  It was this realization that propelled me to learn everything I could about the healing properties of food and to begin sharing that information with my patients. I also launched Step One Foods, the first and only scientifically based therapeutic eating system that is an alternative for people who don't want to take prescription medication. Here are some tips to carry with you when you visit your doctor:

1.Be Prepared
Know the subject of what you want to ask nutritionally. For example, if you want to know about natural ways to lower cholesterol, then you can talk to them about concepts like niacin and red yeast rice. If they don’t have a good answer, have some research articles for them to read and then give their professional opinion. No one knows body physiology like your family doctor. Help them, and they can in turn better help you.

2.Talk About Diet
Ask your doctor to discuss better eating methods. If they don’t offer an answer that you are looking for, then seek to find a lifestyle specialist or registered dietitian that can help.

3.Discuss Whole Food Supplements
When it comes to the world of supplements, there is a difference. Quality does matter. Our standard in medicine is a good multi-vitamin should be all that we need. However, there is so much more. One of the reasons we developed Step One Foods is to provide natural, tasty options on giving your body the essential nutrition that it needs. 
Elizabeth Klodas, MD FACC
Step One Foods




Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.