Diet: When Your Doctor is Just Wrong.

A common mistake people make with their health is assuming their doctor knows anything relevant about nutrition. Very few do, because it’s barely covered in medical school. And, once they leave medical school, they don’t have to keep up on it at all. With as fast as nutrition information comes out these days, that means that most doctors are years behind the research.

I’m not saying this make doctors bad people, or unworthy of your time. It’s not really their job, and people shouldn’t expect them to know everything. Just as you wouldn’t expect a urologist to know cardiology, there’s no reason a cardiologist should know nutrition. While interrelated, they’re not the same thing.

What worries me are the doctors that don’t keep up on science who then offer nutrition advice as gospel to their clients, often to their client’s detriment. Some of these doctors do it because they believe they’re helping, some do it because the idea that nutrition science isn’t static is foreign to them, some do it because the drugs make them more money (yes, there are unethical doctors, just as their are ethical ones), and some do out of sheer misinformation.

Recent examples:

A client’s doctor told her grass-fed and pastured meats were unsafe, because the animal could “pick something up from the grass.” This is just silly on so many levels that I have to put it into it’s own post later, and not even the FDA claims this.

Pregnant women shouldn’t eat organic foods, because they might contain pests or other things harmful to the baby. Yeah, I wish I were kidding that a friend’s pediatrician actually told her this, but I’m not. Studies show many pesticides cross the placental boundary, many of which can inhibit fetal growth and cause a variety of neurological and biological damage. This isn’t junk science by some random blogger. It’s been shown by several research groups, including the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health in New York, UC Berkley, and others.

Nuts have fat, so people with high cholesterol or heart problems shouldn’t eat them. Again, this is just wrong. At one time, it was thought that fat was fat was fat. Many years ago (and by years, I mean decades), we figured out that there were different kinds of fats, and that nuts (in, as with all things, moderation) could actually help lower LDL cholesterol and be beneficial for arteries and the heart.

There are more, but you get the idea. It’s important to realize your physician is a physician, and likely not a nutrition expert (there are exceptions, of course). Do your research, and consider visiting someone who specializes in nutrition.

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