Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Food as medicine

3 Comments

How many of you have seen memes like these?:

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imgres-1The sentiment is nice and all. Obviously a healthy diet is a huge factor in preventing and treating many illnesses. But to be honest, I loathe these sorts of memes. To me, they suggest that it’s your fault if you get cancer because you ate a bag of potato chips. It’s not. There are many factors that contribute the development of diseases. They suggest that that treats don’t have a place in a balanced diet. They do. Healthy food can be delicious but what’s a life without the occasional ice cream cone? They also imply that somehow you can cure any disease with food. I’m sorry, but eating more broccoli is not going to cure lupus, you can’t cure AIDS with apples. While food plays a role in health, medicine does as well. We shouldn’t consider replacing essential medications with food. Medicine is medicine. Food is food.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

3 thoughts on “Food as medicine

  1. Eh, I do not agree. I am probably the FIRST person to encourage a dessert on occasion. I truly believe that the occasional treat is a necessity in most people’s diet (obviously for mental/emotional reasons vs physical), yet I do not find these memes to be discouraging or negative. I have never read one and assumed it meant that those who have cancer do so because of the Oreo cookie they ate. I read them as being more general. That Oreo cookie did not cause cancer, no, but we do know that a diet consisting mostly of processed foods is a major contributor to cancer.

    I guess it depends on how you interpret them.

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  2. I think I’d have to disagree also. I ‘ve spent over 30 years working in traditional health care and wouldn’t hesitate to take a prescribed medication if and when necessary. For too long our society has depended on doctors and their prescription pads to address our health issues when we clearly could be doing so much more for ourselves through diet and lifestyle. Of course anything suggesting that “you can cure AIDS with apples” has no credibility. However, there is a big shift in thinking needed and that’s where these posts ,I believe, have value. It’s about getting people to take the time to educate themselves on what’s in their food and how smarter choices can directly impact their health. Stop eating all that processed food with hidden sugars and maybe you won’t need your metformin. for example. (Yes I’m as guilty as anyone) but when you witness upclose the human and society costs of decades of terrible choices and the downward complicated spiral of medication to treat the side effects of medications that are prescribed for the side effects of another medication, you start to think differently about it. Of course, people do get sick through no fault of their own. The reality is, however, that a huge percentage of our society’s illnesses are preventable and we can’t keep our heads in the sand much longer.

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    • I get what both of you are saying. I don’t disagree, obviously, as a dietitian I recognise the importance of diet in maintaining health. I just find that most of these sorts of memes are shared by groups who eschew western science and believe in things like Gerson Therapy. As I wrote, I do believe that food is important to health. It’s just not the only factor.

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