Doctor's Note

 Be sure to check out all my other videos on the medical profession.

Also be sure to check out my associated blog posts for additional context: Health Food Store Advice: Often Worthless or WorstNutrition Education in Medicine: a Doctor a Day Keeps the Apples AwayTreating Breast Pain with Flax Seeds; and Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Be sure to leave any ask-the-doctor type questions and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And please be sure to check out all the videos on the medical profession.

  • gfortcher

    25 hrs of nutrition training…sad. If I just watch your short videos each day I will get approximately 10 hrs across the year. And I’m not in it for the money. But, maybe that’s the problem. They are.

    • DrDons

      Unfortunately part of the problem dates back to early in the 20th century when public health schools were separated from medical schools. Many instructors in med schools are involved in research not related to nutrition. The clinical faculty don’t know the studies. So even if nutrition was added to the curriculum it would not necessarily be taught well. Of course the reimbursement aspect of medicine as you mention is an issue but it doesn’t explain why prepaid health care isn’t doing more in this area… it is complex. You can help by making health care professionals aware of this website and you might even give them printed copies of abstracts of articles cited by Dr. Greger which are related to your questions or concerns.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670735069 Tan Truong

         Hey Dr. Dons. I was thinking that talking about this to doctors could offend them. What’s your experience with your colleges concerning this issue? I’m guessing it won’t be so bad coming from a fellow doctor, but what if a patient brings it up?

  • LouiseF

    That is criminal! So instead of telling a patient to lower cholesterol via a plant based diet because they never learned about nutrition, they will prescribe stains instead.
    I have asked 3 doctors in the last 3 months what they think about the China Study. All 3 said they had never heard of it!!
    Thank goodness for people like Dr. Greger, Dr. Barnard, Dr. Furhman, Dr. Campbell, etc. that are educating not just the masses, but doctors as well.
    Thank you!
    Louise F.

  • JTodd

    I’m afraid I’m one of those guilty docs who never filled in the nutrition knowledge gap that medical school left me with. NutritionFacts.org has been such an eye-opener, and I am already seeing some quasi-miraculous changes in some of my more motivated patients. Where else would you suggest I go to supplement my training in nutrition?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      My favorite source for continuing medical education credit is nutritionCME.org. It’s co-sponsored by the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. In fact they currently have my swine flu presentation up as one of the featured offerings!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670735069 Tan Truong

      This testimony gives me hope!

    • Mariel

      I like GreenMedInfo.com because they have the science/research information they base their articles on at the end of each article. It is one of my “go to” websites as well as LEF.org.

    • JuliSu DiMucci-Ward

      develop a close professional relationship with a top clinical RD – registered dietitian in your area!

      JuliSu DiMucci-Ward MPH, RD,LD, CDE

  • Chrysanthemum

    When they specify 25 hours, are they referring to 25 physical hours, or 25 credit hours?

  • Joan, RD, CDE

    Thank you for bringing this issue to light.  As a registered dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, I am occasionally in the uncomfortable position of having to tactfully correct well intentioned but erroneous nutrition advice that a physician has given a patient.  Some patients tell me the doc has far more education than the RD, so he/she must know better.  Sigh:(

  • BIrigoyen

    What would you say is the #1 medical school (or in the top 5) for nutritional education?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

      My guess would be Loma Linda, but when I was applying Tufts had the most (19 hours), which is one of the reasons I chose it over the other 18 MD/PhD programs I was accepted at.

  • Ronald Chavin

    Does Dr. Greger have any advice for people like us who are willing to eat only extremely healthy foods and practice a moderately healthy lifestyle with regards to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?

    Should we go naked on medical insurance and pay the annual fine or should we buy the plan with the lowest monthly premium with the highest deductible?

    • JackZ

      Ron,

      If it were me considering those two options, I’d buy the cheapest plan with the highest deduction. I’ve known far too many very healthy people who have had various accidents, were inadvertently exposed to serious diseases, mugged, or just tripped on the sidewalk. By the time they were released from the hospital the ones who were insured were sad they didn’t have more insurance, but the ones without insurance were bankrupt and in debt.

  • Žiga

    My girflirend is looking into nutrition. Could you please recommend the best plant based nutrition courses/schools? (She has no previous knowledge or medical background, but would like to work in this field someday. We are from Europe, so maybe online courses would be better, although she is open to study abroad). Thank you.

    • MarthaLA

      http://nutritionstudies.org/
      T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
      Online through eCornell, a subsidiary of Cornell University.

  • Michelle Nicholson

    The doctors that I see these days are a joke! They don’t know anything about anything. All they want is give me more prescriptions every day. There’s a huge need for changing the way they teach medicine in this country. What a shame!!! I lost 20 lbs and my bp is back to normal and I don’t need to poisen my body with medicine….They really think that we are stupid!!!!

  • http://www.theplaceofjoy.com Strat Goodhue

    This is amazing. it’s astounding that people think their doctors are experts on nutrition! It’s interesting that in the 2012/2013 school year, the situation hasn’t changed (71% of medical schools “fail to provide the recommended minimum 25 hours of nutrition education; 36% provide less than half that much. (source-http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jbe/2015/357627/)

  • Amanda

    What would be the optimal plant-based daily diet for over 50s, in terms of food groups, portion size, supplementation (i.e. B12, vitamin D, fatty acids…)?

    • Thea

      Amanda: There are a few different ways to get at this. I think all of them are good. The one that would be right for you would be the one that speaks the best to you. I recommend looking at all of them. Note that all plans recommend a B12 supplement. The link to the NutritionFacts Optimum Nutrition Recommendation page below gives details on how much B12 and how often.
      .
      The very simplest recommendation would be the PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) Power Plate which divides foods into 4 simple food groups. Here is the Power Plate: http://www.pcrm.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/health/Dietary-Guidelines-high.pdf. The idea is that if you eat those whole foods in about those proportions by the end of the day–and just eat until you are full–you don’t have to worry about portion size. Your body will eat the right amount. And you will be getting the right amount of various micro and macro nutrients. I found this simple diagram when I was getting started to be very comforting. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all.
      .
      The next level plan that gets into a bit more detail, but is still a very high-level simple overview is Dr. Greger’s general recommendations on this website: http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/ The link says that the recommendations are from 2011 and originally they were. But I believe the page has been slightly updated since then. And once again note that the general idea is that if you eat a variety of those whole plant foods (no oils, no processed foods, no meat, no dairy, no eggs), your body will automatically eat the right amount/portions–assuming you don’t eat past being full. And with the variety, you just won’t have to worry about getting all the nutrients. You will.
      .
      The next level above that is Dr. Greger’s new “Daily Dozen” plan. The Daily Dozen plan is very popular and is explained in detail in Part 2 of Dr. Greger’s new book, How Not To Die. The book is available in libraries (at least my library has it). But if a book is not on your agenda and if you have a smart cell phone, you can download a free ‘app’ for the Daily Dozen. More info about that there: http://nutritionfacts.org/2015/12/31/free-app-for-android-and-iphone-and-top-10-videos-of-2015/. The difference in this plan is that you get a lot more details on how much of each type of food to eat compared to the previous two plans. And the Daily Dozen is very specific to the information presented on this website.
      .
      Finally, I will refer you back to PCRM for a different kind of plan. PCRM’s free 21 Day Kickstart plan is also recommended in Dr. Greger’s book. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions. If you went through the 21 Day Kickstart program, you would have a very good idea of exactly what to eat in terms of an optimal plant-based daily diet.
      http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
      (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
      .
      Hope that helps!