Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Doctors don’t know about nutrition but who could possibly teach them?

5 Comments

hand-wringing-intensifies

I came across this journal article in an email digest last week and I discovered that I do have enough fire left in my belly to keep blogging because holy shit y’all was it ever enraging!

The article title and abstract indicate that nutrition education is missing from the education of doctors and that doctors need this education due to the important impact of diet and nutrition on health and in many disease states. No argument here. However, they then go on to say, “Without properly trained trainers, we have no one to train the doctors of tomorrow. This is a “catch 22.” Okay, they must be planning to talk about how dietitians, you know that entire profession devoted to the study of nutrition, can play a role in the full text. I mean, it seems like a pretty obvious solution. But… I find the full text and there is nary a mention of dietitians in the entire article. It was then that my blood began to boil.

Is there some sort of rule that I’m unaware of that only medical doctors are qualified to teach medical students? Have the authors never heard of dietitians? The entire article is quite frankly baffling. I’m honestly appalled that the authors, one of whom appears to be a medical doctor, are incapable of such basic research as to be able to discover that there is in fact an entire regulated allied health profession devoted entirely to the study of nutrition. They’re worried that doctors don’t know about nutrition? Well, I’m worried that doctors can completed medical school without basic research skills. I’m also a little amazed that it was accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal devoted to “advances in nutrition” and no one thought “hey, hang on a sec… this is not actually a problem. Dietitians and nutrition scientists can teach these students. Maybe we can just tell them this and save them the embarrassment of publishing this drivel.” But no, apparently everyone was like, “yes. Very serious problem. Doctors need to know about nutrition but doctors don’t know enough about nutrition to teach medical students so future doctors will all continue to graduate without the foggiest understanding of human nutrition and women will continue to suffer from anemia.”

Good news: there are plenty of dietitians and nutrition scientists (not all nutrition researchers have the RD credential) who teach dietetic students who could also teach medical students about nutrition. While they’re at it they can also let them know that doctors don’t have to be experts in every area and they can in fact refer patients to dietitians when they require nutrition support.

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.

5 thoughts on “Doctors don’t know about nutrition but who could possibly teach them?

  1. You are so right about doctors (as well as most nurses) are not taught the nutritional sciences and physiology in college as we have been. Focusing on medical procedural care is more like it. When I worked with family physicians we always worked well as a team. (However one doctor was upset over my patient becoming healthy enough to get off Type 2 diabetic medication. “Well there goes my all expanse paid trip to NYC, thanks Ellie!” I blamed the pharmaceutical companies who place “carrot incentives” in front of patients, selling masses amounts of drugs verses educating, offering practical habits and healthier food choices. Another post well said!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Considering dietetics is the field I’m studying to go in to, this is one of the most engaging and quite frankly stupid things I’ve ever heard. I mean all you had to do was a simple google search!

    Like

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