Before you read on, take a second and ask yourself...
How many hours of nutritional education do you think the standard Medical Doctor (MD) goes through during his or her years of intense education?
Seriously, take a moment and think about this question. Is it…
- Over 200 hours? That's over five weeks of nutritional education!
- How about 100 hours? That's over two and a half weeks of nutritional education.
- Okay, let's consider 50 hours! At least a week of nutritional education, right?
And the answer is…less than 24 hours!
According to an NCBI study, the average medical doctor receives less than 24 hours of nutritional education over the course of his or her entire medical training.
And according to the Harvard Business Review, less than 20 percent of medical schools have a single required course in nutrition.
That’s actually frightening considering nutrition is what we put into our bodies every day and is what gives us energy and what creates and maintains health.
Of course, we value and love our doctors; but the data is clear that, unless they actively seek additional education in this area, they do not deeply study nutrition and diet.
And it makes sense how the mainstream medical community currently gives nutritional advice and the views towards health supplements. If doctors are unfamiliar with something, work in an industry with a lot of litigation, and they know that supplement products have little to no regulation, they’re going to err on the safe side and steer clear of supplements. Wouldn’t you?
Let me share with you a recent situation in which I was visiting a friend of mine who is battling esophageal cancer. As we were catching up, he took out a box of something and started drinking it. I asked what it was, and it was a mainstream product to help give someone (usually older people) energy, calories and nutrition. Of course, I grabbed it and flipped it over to read the ingredients. This was the product that his Doctor recommended to get calories and nutrients for his body while fighting cancer—the nutrients that his body would use for building new cells and dealing with chemotherapy and radiation. I should also share that he could not swallow any solid foods.
List of ingredients:
WATER, SUGAR, GLUCOSE, MILK PROTEIN, VEGETABLE OILS (CANOLA, HIGH OLEIC SUNFLOWER AND CORN, OILS), SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, CALCIUM CASEINATE, SODIUM, CASEINATE, SALT, MICROCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE, SODIUM, CARBOXYMETHYL CELLULOSE, SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR, CARRAGEENAN, DIMETHYLPOLYSILOXANE, VITAMINS (VITAMIN A, ..
If you have been hanging out with us for any length of time you know that reading this label scares the bagivies out of us and saddens our hearts that this is what is on the market and touted as quality. We know from this label the ingredients are most likely synthetic, because they do not indicate details about the ingredient. Companies that use high quality ingredients state the details such as methylcobalamin (bioavailable form) versus cyanocobalamin (synthetic). The problem with synthetic is that it’s harder for your body to use; and for my friend, his body doesn’t need any more challenges, just healthy ready to use nutrients. (Read more about reading supplement nutritional labels.)
I believe his doctor is a very educated person and means to do no harm. He wants to see his patients heal and recover quickly. Unfortunately, our doctors are exposed to the same information that mainstream media and marketing use to sell products; and without significant formal training, they do not have other information to know better, to provide healthier solutions.
So, What Does This Mean for You?
It means that unless you are working with a Doctor who has specifically expanded their education into the area of nutrition and functional health, they may not be the best expert to ask about your diet, weight loss, or exercise routine.
Where do you get nutritional information you can trust?
First, doctors are essential. You absolutely need to talk to a doctor about your general health, especially if you’re taking prescriptions.
Keep in mind that for diet, nutrition, and health supplements specifically, you should consider the professional training and experience of the healthcare practitioner you’re talking to—that means considering actual nutritionists, dieticians, and doctors who have had specific experience and education in nutrition.
It is important to remember that if your doctor isn’t confident in something like nutrition, they would rather say "No" or default to current institutions, than take a risk. In their eyes, supplements may be a risk in an unregulated world.
There is another element to consider in this situation. There is a “cycle” in the current medical scheme of things. The FDA and pharma companies are sponsoring trials and programs in medical schools to support their pharmaceutical drugs. This directly influences medical students’ familiarity and knowledge of drugs versus natural remedies. It creates a cycle where doctors don’t break out of the pharmaceutical/institutional industry to promote more natural, healthy, and nutritious solutions to basic health problems and diet issues.
For diet, nutrition, and health supplements specifically, consider the professional training and experience of your healthcare practitioner. We know that we must supplement our diets for optimal health and absorption of nutrients and vitamins as a result of today's environment and food industry practices (read more on current food values in our Myth Two: I Can Get All the Nutrition I Need From My Diet). A good place to start is doing a bit of your own research on how to find quality ingredients for nutrition (See our Rejuvenation Blog for more articles on quality ingredients and reading labels), finding an expert in the field of nutrition to consult with, while also continuing to consult with your doctor.