Medical nutrition holds pride of place in lifestyle medicine because unhealthy eating is the most important cause of non-infectious chronic illnesses. If the treatment of these illnesses is coupled with a healthy diet appropriate to each illness, that is the most effective way to get an improvement
Medical nutrition is an integral part of medical treatment in almost all areas of medicine, for all ages and during all of life’s processes.
Medical nutrition is present in both western evidence-based medicine and in alternaive medicine. It is one of the main branches of naturopathy as practised since antiquity.
Unfortunately, medical nutrition is not taught to medical students on their basic training or to doctors on the courses they take when they are specializing. This leads to doctors not having a scientific and evidence-based knowledge of diet, just a knowledge acquired in the same way as any lay person, from culture, social interaction, hearsay and personal tastes.
Modern western medicine is good at:
- Public health (hygiene, sewage management, food quality controls)
- Vaccines against certain diseases
- Fighting infectious disease with antibiotics
- Treating all sorts of emergencies, especially accidents and traumas
So, what are chronic diseases?
Chronic non-infectious illnesses are difficult to treat with western medicine. They include:
cardio-vascular diseases like acute myocardial infarction, angina, stroke….
certain skin diseases
most gastro-intestinal diseases
In general, specialists agree that 80% of non-infectious chronic diseases can at minimum be prevented, and in the majority of instances can also be treated and reversed, through a healthy lifestyle, especially through medical nutrition in combination with a treatment, and a healthy diet relevant to the disease in question.
Illnesses are called “chronic” because they are apparently incurable.
The problem is one of “too much” and not of “too little”, and so medicines and food supplements do not on the whole work.
This is where lifestyle medicine comes in, because it treats the causes of these illnesses.
However, a change of lifestyle requires a long term change in order to be effective.
It is difficult !
- To be different requires effort: time, money and motivation
- Discipline and persistence
- Going against cultural and social norms