It is common knowledge that a diet high in sugar increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes. That a diet high in fat increases your risk of high cholesterol, strokes and heart disease. New evidence is constantly emerging supporting the theory that diet has a complex role in many other chronic conditions, even cancer. As there is abundant evidence for the link between food and health it is shocking that medical practitioners rarely ask about diet, nutrition is not a substantial part of their training and, most often, medications are prescribed to ‘fix’ your problem.
Tulane University School of Medicine in Louisiana have launched America’s first med school-affiliated teaching kitchen. Here chefs are the student’s full-time instructors as they learn how to grill, bake and boil delicious homemade meals. The aim of the program is to translate the principles of nutrition to real life dishes. Third and fourth year medical students go on to specialise, focusing on dietary needs for those with specific ailments such as HIV and celiac disease.
Sam Kass, a former White House chef and senior nutrition policy advisor says “the fact that doctors are now learning to cook is like a revolution”. Program directors imagine a future where doctor’s prescriptions include recipes and insurance companies treat food as a reimbursable expense.
With rates of obesity, diabetes and chronic pain complaints ballooning across the world in recent years, it is obvious that people need an education on nutrition. It should be made common practice that on a doctor’s visit eating habits are discussed. An average University student’s diet tends not to be brimming with fresh veg, fruit and protein. Imagine if, on a visit to Unity Health with a cold complaint one isn’t prescribed Lemsip and paracetamol but told to pop to Nisa for a bag of oranges, herbal tea and a recipe for easy, tasty homemade chicken soup. I’m sure two days’ rest from YUSU club nights and some hearty nutrition would do the average patient better than chemically suppressing their symptoms.