When you need advice on nutrition where do you go? Most of us go to the only place we feel we will receive sound, reasoned well thought out advice … our doctors! We think, well, he’s been to medical school where he’s received deep and extensive training on the functioning of the human body. He is the most knowledgeable person I know when it comes to nutrition.
Is that true though? Sure, he’s clearly been thru years of training to prepare him for a medical career. But did that training include nutrition? Shockingly, most of the time the answer is no, it did not. At least not training of any meaningful depth. Did you know that you could learn everything the average doctor knows about nutrition in one long weekend of study?
Your Doctor is NOT a Nutrition Expert
Did you know that only a minority (25%) of medical schools require ANY classes on nutrition? And that when they do require some training in nutrition it is less than 20 hours of instructions out of thousands of training hours? Check out this video for all the details:
So, if that’s the case who can you trust for reliable information on what is healthy to eat? Especially for you specifically? Can you turn to experts on nutrition for reliable, detailed advice on what to do?
Tons of Really Bad Nutrition Advice Out There
There are lots of nutrition experts out there of all different kinds and varieties, with widely diverging opinions and levels of training varying from extensive 4 year programs down to having read a book last weekend ;-). To outsiders the nutrition field looks like one giant raucous argument. I think that’s one reason why people rely so heavily on M.D.’s for information. It’s just too hard to figure out who’s reliable.
For myself, I use history and food culture as the best guideline to what I and my family eat. My brother likes to say that on the internet you can find authoritative quotes to prove anything you want! And boy howdy is that true in the field of nutrition! Check out this joke post on the dangers of kale ;-). Just one small example. Your food culture taken as a whole is the best guide you have on what is good for humans to eat.
I don’t pay a lot of attention to the macro-nutrient wars, i.e. low-carb, no-carb, low-fat or the more recently designed diets like paleo or veganism or raw foodism. None of these diets have been eaten historically by any culture. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the dietary recommendations from the media. These usually come in the form of ‘scares’ about specific foods. I simply try to eat as closely to the way my great-grandmother ate as I possibly can with my time and budget constraints.
Nutrition is TOO Important, Do Your Own Research!
This is your life and your health! The single most important thing you will do that determines your future health and that of your family is making good decisions when it comes to food. That is simply too important to be left to others. You can’t just ask experts yes and no, black and white questions about food! The answers you get back will not be that helpful for you in your specific situation.
Instead we all have to do our own research and come to our own conclusions. And then do our level best to follow thru on what we find out. We may in fact decide that the expert recommendations we’ve received from medical professionals are in fact the best thing for us. But then we reached that conclusion for ourselves!
What do you think?
Photo by National Cancer Institute