Food is medicine | @theU

What you eat is one of the most important factors for your health. But far too few healthcare professionals take the time to discuss preventative measures like healthy eating with their patients, said Dr Marion Nestlé.

She plans to highlight this issue in a future speech at the next “Virtual conference “Food is Medicine”, hosted by the University of Utah College of Health and the Utah Community Nutrition Center (UCCN).

Nestlé is a consumer advocate, nutritionist, award-winning author and internationally renowned scholar specializing in the policy of food and diet choices. She will deliver the keynote address, “Diet and Health: What Healthcare Professionals Should Tell Clients About Diet and Nutrition,” at the September 11 conference.

Healthcare professionals, their patients and our diet

Marion Nestle
Photo by Bill Hayes

Nestlé’s talk will focus on the impact healthcare professionals can have on preventive health just by talking to their patients about diet. Unfortunately, Nestlé said, too few medical professionals are doing this.

“Doctors are lucky if they have 15 minutes with the patient,” Nestlé said. “It’s not enough time to find out what people are eating or talk about what they should eat.”

This is a particularly urgent problem, as many patients who see a doctor have problems with diet.

“There is a huge need for doctors to advise patients on diet, but there is no time to do so,” Nestlé said. “There is a tremendous amount of evidence that the people who have the most influence on changing people’s diets are their people. [health providers]. “

Examine the links between diet and health

The link between diet and health is one of the main areas of study of the RVCU. UCCN was founded at the University of Utah in 2017 to combine ongoing nutrition research with community outreach to improve the health of Utahns, said Dr Julie Metos, executive director of the UCCN.

Part of this awareness is the “Food is Medicine” conference for healthcare professionals and students. The conference is also open to anyone interested in learning more, Metos said.

Other conference topics will range from convenient food preparation, how low-income people can meet their nutritional needs, to other integrated wellness and health practices and sessions for professionals. health, Metos said.

Simply start for a lasting effect

“We live in a pretty toxic environment when it comes to nutrition; the things available to us in offices, schools, churches… the way we set up our neighborhoods with fast food, ”said Metos. “Our environment does not encourage us to eat healthy.

Nestlé said the increase in “ultra-processed foods” is one of the recent contributors to poor health. Ultra-processed foods are a specific category of junk food associated with weight gain, chronic disease, and higher mortality.

Ultra-processed foods are easy to recognize:

  • It is produced industrially
  • Its ingredients are things you don’t recognize and can’t be bought in grocery stores.
  • You can’t do it in your kitchen at home

For example, Nestlé said, corn on the cob is not processed. Frozen or canned corn is minimally processed, but corn chips are ultra-processed and unhealthy.

People might be tempted to go cold turkey and quit meats and processed foods altogether. Following such a rigorous diet could be difficult to maintain, Metos said. Small steps are the key to success.

“Can you make one meal a day without meat?” Said Metos. “Or a Monday without meat?” All of these things can make a pretty big change.

The conference aims to help participants walk away with reasonable and achievable nutritional goals:

  • Choose options that are avant-garde
  • Choose drinks wisely
  • Pay attention to portion sizes
  • Practice Mindful Eating, and more

While the problem with our modern diet is complicated, Nestlé said the solution is simple.

“Michael Pollan could say it in seven words,” Nestlé said. “Eat food, not too much, mainly plants. “

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