Cut Through Nutrition – ‘Food is Medicine’; benign statement or harmful rhetoric?


This is a new podcast I’m really enjoying and learning a lot from. I’ve just listened to their third episode where they go into the basics of nutritional science and why it’s different from the biomedical model – I learnt a lot. Whilst I thoroughly recommend this episode, I’m not sure how geeky you want me to get. I’m a nerd and proud of it but understand discussing the nuisances of biomedical vs nutritional research isn’t everyone’s cup of tea!
I’ve therefore chosen for my podcast of the week a really interesting discussion @thenutritional_advocate and @drjoshuawolrich have on the whole ‘food is medicine’ rhetoric.
I put my hands up and admit, when I first heard the food is medicine rhetoric I got swept up and used the phrase a couple of times before I fully considered the meaning of this phrase and potential implications.
This taught me a lot about thinking deeply about a message before I share it.
What I really like about this episode is how @thenutritional_advocate and @drjoshuawolrich discuss
how the public perceive the ‘food is medicine’ message rather than what some good intentioned but potentially misguided health professionals intend – for example replacing medicine with food.
I do think that knowing a bit more about nutrition will make us better doctors yet rest assured @thenutritional_advocate and @drjoshuawolrich, just because I’m a GP trainee doesn’t mean I’m trying to take the jobs of dieticians or nutritionists or become and super combined GP, nutritionist, physiotherapist single unit, I value grately the knowledge and resource that nutritionists and dieticians provide and think we should be utilising them more where appropriate and possible. Not only to utilise their experience, but honestly I’m not sure how much more we can fit into 10 minutes.
Unfortunately many patients don’t have the funds to go privately to see a nutritionist and access to dieticians or nutritionist on the NHS can be limited in our stretched services, with some referral criteria being so stringent that ultimately GPs do end up discussing some elements of nutrition our patients.Therefore being able to impart some knowledge to our patients will be helpful.

I absolutely 100% support the notion that food should NOT replace medicine. In my professional life I have sadly witnessed a case where a patient wanted to lead an organic life and refused chemotherapy, right up until the last moment when it was too late. A haunting case that demonstrates the harm that can come from the food is medicine rhetoric.

I also thoroughly recommended their first ‘welcome’ episode where they introduce the rationale behind and upcoming themes of the podcast.