Nutrition has the biggest impact on our health, over 80% of the immune system resides in the digestive tract, yet the doctors children see for health care have little-to-no training in the field of nutrition. In spite of their inadequate nutrition education in medical school, doctors continue to give out nutrition advice. As a result I hear over and over from families that their pediatrician said:
The eczema their child suffers from has nothing to do with diet; it is only a skin condition.
The recurrent ear infections their child suffers from have nothing to do with diet; surgically implanting tubes is the best option.
Only food allergies will impact health (food sensitivities aren’t real), and food allergies only appear as hives, difficulty breathing, bloody stools, etc.
The acid reflux their baby suffers from is not impacted by diet; acid reflux medications are the best course of action.
The asthma their child suffers from has nothing to do with diet; an inhaler is the best option.
Leaky gut syndrome does not exist.
The chronic runny nose their child suffers from has nothing to do with diet; it’s just something some kids have and will probably grow out of with age.
The runny nose, eczema, ear infections, asthma and reflux their child suffers from are not related. And again, they have nothing to do with diet.
All of these statements are FALSE and when I hear moms and dads tell me about their pediatrician’s nutrition advice (or lack thereof) my ears start steaming and my head wants to explode. I usually excuse myself from the conversation and go take a time out in the corner to compose myself. Now of course there are exceptions to the conventional MD rule, many insightful medical doctors are now seeking out nutrition education to incorporate into their practices. That’s why we are seeing more and more MDs specializing in integrative and functional medicine. If one of these progressive doctors is your pediatrician (or you see a naturopathic doctor), then read no further because you are likely in good hands. Those exceptions aside, these are the top 3 reasons to STOP taking nutrition advice from your pediatrician.
Conventional medical doctors receive less than 20 hours of nutrition education TOTAL in medical school (and the MAJORITY receives ZERO TOTAL HOURS of nutrition education).
That’s right, less than 20 hours of nutrition education is offered in most medical schools. And that’s being generous. A recent study polled 127 accredited medical schools and found that only 25% of the schools studied required a dedicated nutrition course. That means nutrition education is optional in the other 75% of schools. Bottom line, there is a good chance your pediatrician may never have taken a nutrition course in medical school.
If MDs receive any nutrition education in medical school it comes from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association).
For the few doctors who take nutrition courses in medical school, the curriculum is influenced by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This association is backed by companies like Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper, General Mills and Monsanto. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes things like the ever-changing food pyramid, sugar-free toxic sweeteners (like Splenda), fat-free pasteurized dairy products and discourages the consumption of saturated fats (that are necessary for growing brains!). None of these things promote health or healthy eating habits. Instead they are dangerous guidelines, especially for children.
Conventional medical doctors treat symptoms, and they treat these symptoms separately.
Conventional medicine’s first course of action is to treat symptoms. Your child has eczema? Here’s a prescription for a steroid cream. Oh now an ear infection? Here’s a prescription for antibiotics. Are these two things related? The answer from your doctor is no, but the correct answer is probably yes. MDs are not taught to view the body through a holistic lens. A holistic view sees that all disease originates from an imbalance in the body and the CURE for disease is not to suppress the symptom with drugs but rather to find the root cause and bring the body back into balance. Finding balance (and curing disease) is always aided by focused holistic nutrition.
Are you interested in finding a medical doctor with nutrition education? Start here.
Interested in working with a naturopath? Start here.
Looking for a holistic nutritionist? Start here.
Want to find a registered dietician with a holistic approach? Start here.
Interested in learning more? These are 2 of my favorite books written by MDs with holistic nutrition education:
Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food