Heres scary news. Next time you visit your doctor looking for advise on staying healthy, you may be surprised to find out just how little they actually know. According to a 2010 survey, medical schools dedicate an average of only 20 hours of a students 4-year training to nutrition education. Further evidence that you need to do your own research when it comes to health and nutrition. The information in the survey also states that much of that instruction focuses on learning biochemical pathways, or chemical reactions, and even memorizing the steps in glucose metabolism. Is that even useful information when trying to counsel a patient on foods that can lower cholesterol or blood pressure? Oh thats right. Why do that when they can prescribe medication? Can you say, Pharmaceuticals?
Have you ever experienced this? Your doctor tells you to eat more foods high in calcium, or iron, or fiber, or whatever he/she is advocating to help with a particular health condition, but then fails to tell you what those foods are? Thats because they dont really know. And in serious and critical settings, doctors are laser-focused on a patients hydration status, but they rarely ask about it during a routine office visit? My 80-year-old Mother-in-law recently experienced this. Chronic, low-grade dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and constipation and contribute to more serious problems like kidney stones and kidney disease. Make sure youre sipping enough water and other liquids everyday to produce urine that is pale and straw-colored instead of looking like amber beer.
The good news is, there are groups of dedicated physicians that are challenging the issue and hoping to bring about a change in the comprehensive nutrition education during medical training. But these changes are happening far too slowly. Our front line health care providers need to understand basic nutrition science and guidelines in order to offer the best care possible to their patients, so theyre able to educate them, not just treat the illnesses brought about by years of eating poorly.