Doctors’ Nutritional Ignorance

Doctors’ Nutritional Ignorance
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Medical education continues to underemphasize clinical nutrition.

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The World Health Organization blames literally millions of deaths every year on inadequate fruit and vegetable intake. Almost as deadly as smoking. So if we care enough about ourselves and our families to not want to die a horrific death from smoking, we should put the same effort into eating more fruits and vegetables. We should eat fruits and vegetables as if our lives depended on it, because in a way they do.

Why haven’t many of us heard of this change from 5 A Day to 9 A Day? Well, the Federal Government spends about $10 million a year to educate people about healthy eating. Candy corporations spend about twice that amount just launching a new candy bar. Okay, but why don’t most doctors pass this information along? Because, odds are, your doctor never learned any of this. Less than a quarter of medical schools have even a single dedicated course on nutrition, and less than six percent of graduating physicians may have received any formal nutrition training. Out of thousands of hours of pre-clinical instruction, your doctor may have gotten an average of three hours of nutrition training. There was even a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that pitted doctors versus patients in a head-to-head test of basic nutrition knowledge—simple true or false questions. Guess who won? The patients. People off the street knew more about nutrition than their doctors, yet people still ask their doctors for nutrition advice.

What doctors may be telling their patients to eat may be killing them. It wasn’t too long ago that doctors were advising pregnant women to smoke cigarettes to help with morning sickness. Until doctors are taught more about nutrition, their advising us about diet may be physician-assisted suicide.

There is one doctor though, everyone trusts. Perhaps the most famous physician of all time: Dr. Benjamin Spock. Always on the forefront of important social issues. And in the final edition of his book, the bestselling book in American history (second only to the Bible), he recommended that all children be raised on meat- and dairy-free diets to prevent diseases like cancer.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Alex Proimos via Flickr.

The World Health Organization blames literally millions of deaths every year on inadequate fruit and vegetable intake. Almost as deadly as smoking. So if we care enough about ourselves and our families to not want to die a horrific death from smoking, we should put the same effort into eating more fruits and vegetables. We should eat fruits and vegetables as if our lives depended on it, because in a way they do.

Why haven’t many of us heard of this change from 5 A Day to 9 A Day? Well, the Federal Government spends about $10 million a year to educate people about healthy eating. Candy corporations spend about twice that amount just launching a new candy bar. Okay, but why don’t most doctors pass this information along? Because, odds are, your doctor never learned any of this. Less than a quarter of medical schools have even a single dedicated course on nutrition, and less than six percent of graduating physicians may have received any formal nutrition training. Out of thousands of hours of pre-clinical instruction, your doctor may have gotten an average of three hours of nutrition training. There was even a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that pitted doctors versus patients in a head-to-head test of basic nutrition knowledge—simple true or false questions. Guess who won? The patients. People off the street knew more about nutrition than their doctors, yet people still ask their doctors for nutrition advice.

What doctors may be telling their patients to eat may be killing them. It wasn’t too long ago that doctors were advising pregnant women to smoke cigarettes to help with morning sickness. Until doctors are taught more about nutrition, their advising us about diet may be physician-assisted suicide.

There is one doctor though, everyone trusts. Perhaps the most famous physician of all time: Dr. Benjamin Spock. Always on the forefront of important social issues. And in the final edition of his book, the bestselling book in American history (second only to the Bible), he recommended that all children be raised on meat- and dairy-free diets to prevent diseases like cancer.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Alex Proimos via Flickr.

17 responses to “Doctors’ Nutritional Ignorance

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  1. Wow, this is something I have become acutely aware of in the last year. Now the BIGGEST challenge I have is finding firing my current doctor and finding a physician who is well educated in both naturopathic AND allopathic treatments, and will provide me with my preferred method of naturopathic nutritional advice!

    1. The issue with saturated fat is only one of many. Chickens actually do not have zero animal fat
      http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/703/2

      as for other components, an example with skim milk could be xenoestrogens
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/xenoestrogens-early-puberty/

      with chicken there is arsenic and many other contaminants
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/arsenic-in-chicken/

      and with all animal products there are ineherent endotoxins
      http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=endotoxin

      Continue to search this website and you will find many other issues with animal products.

  2. There is a php error that just poped up on your site:

    Warning: preg_match(): Unknown modifier ‘(‘ in
    /var/www/nutritionfacts.org/wp-content/plugins/mobile-client-detection-plugin/mobile_client_detection.php
    on line 459

  3. I have been a long time proponent of the science-based, low-fat, vegan diet, but it appears that at least the low-fat part has come under assault lately with the promotion of the Mediterranean diet. In doing more research it seems as though the link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease is either tenuous, or small since the studies seem to be inconclusive. It seems clear that low-fat diets produce great results based on longitudinal studies, but those have so many confounding factors. What is the specific evidence against saturated fat and CVD?

  4. Recently a friend posted/forwarded the following on Facebook,
    and since I could not find any mention of the plant on your website, I
    am hoping that you’d be able to shed some light on those claims:

    ==========================================

    The Sour Sop or the fruit from the graviola tree is a miraculous
    natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo.

    Why are we not aware of this? Its because some big corporation want
    to make back their money spent on years of research by trying to
    make a synthetic version of it for sale.

    So, since you know it now you can help a friend in need by letting
    him know or just drink some sour sop juice yourself as prevention
    from time to time. The taste is not bad after all. It’s completely
    natural and definitely has no side effects. If you have the space,
    plant one in your garden.
    The other parts of the tree are also useful.

    The next time you have a fruit juice, ask for a sour sop.

    How many people died in vain while this billion-dollar drug maker
    concealed the secret of the miraculous Graviola tree?

    This tree is low and is called graviola ! in Brazi l, guanabana in
    Spanish and has the uninspiring name “soursop” in English. The fruit
    is very large and the subacid sweet white pulp is eaten out of hand
    or, more commonly, used to make fruit drinks, sherbets and such.

    The principal interest in this plant is because of its strong
    anti-cancer effects. Although it is effective for a number of
    medical conditions, it is its anti tumor effect that is of most
    interest. This plant is a proven cancer remedy for cancers of all types.

    Besides being a cancer remedy, graviola is a broad spectrum
    antimicrobial agent for both bacterial and fungal infections, is
    effective against internal parasites and worms, lowers high blood
    pressure and is used for depression, stress and nervous disorders.

    If there ever was a single example that makes it dramatically clear
    why the existence of Health Sciences Institute is so vital to
    Americans like you, it’s the incredible story behind the Graviola tree..

    The truth is stunningly simple: Deep within the Amazon Rainforest
    grows a tree that could literally revolutionize what you, your
    doctor, and the rest of the world thinks about cancer treatment and
    chances of survival. The future has never looked more promising.

    Research shows that with extracts from this miraculous tree it now
    may be possible to:
    * Attack cancer safely and effectively with an all-natural therapy
    that does not cause extreme nausea, weight loss and hair loss
    * Protect your immune system and avoid deadly infections
    * Feel stronger and healthier throughout the course of the treatment
    * Boost your energy and improve your outlook on life

    The source of this information is just as stunning: It comes from
    one of America ‘s largest drug manufacturers, the fruit of over 20
    laboratory tests conducted since the 1970’s! What those tests
    revealed was nothing short of mind numbing… Extracts from the tree
    were shown to:

    * Effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer,
    including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer..
    * The tree compounds proved to be up to 10,000 times stronger in
    slowing the growth of cancer cells than Adriamycin, a commonly used
    chemotherapeutic drug!
    * What’s more, unlike chemotherapy, the compound extracted from the
    Graviola tree selectively hunts down and kills only cancer cells..

    It does not harm healthy cells!

    The amazing anti-cancer properties of the Graviola tree have been
    extensively researched–so why haven’t you heard anything about it?
    If Graviola extract is

    One of America ‘s biggest billion-dollar drug makers began a search
    for a cancer cure and their research centered on Graviola, a
    legendary healing tree from the Amazon Rainforest.

    Various parts of the Graviola tree–including the bark, leaves,
    roots, fruit and fruit-seeds–have been used for centuries by
    medicine men and native Indi! ans in S outh America to treat heart
    disease, asthma, liver problems and arthritis. Going on very little
    documented scientific evidence, the company poured money and
    resources into testing the tree’s anti-cancerous properties–and were
    shocked by the results. Graviola proved itself to be a
    cancer-killing dynamo.
    But that’s where the Graviola story nearly ended.

    The company had one huge problem with the Graviola tree–it’s
    completely natural, and so, under federal law, not patentable.
    There’s no way to make serious profits from it.

    It turns out the drug company invested nearly seven years trying to
    synthesize two of the Graviola tree’s most powerful anti-cancer
    ingredients. If they could isolate and produce man-made clones of
    what makes the Graviola so potent, they’d be able to patent it and
    make their money back. Alas, they hit a brick wall. The original
    simply could not be replicated. There was no way the company could
    protect its profits–or even make back the millions it poured into
    research.

    As the dream of huge profits evaporated, their testing on Graviola
    came to a screeching halt. Even worse, the company shelved the
    entire project and chose not to publish the findings of its research!

    Luckily, however, there was one scientist from the Graviola research
    team whose conscience wouldn’t let him see such atrocity committed.
    Risking his career, he contacted a company that’s dedicated to
    harvesting medical plants from the Amazon Rainforest and blew the
    whistle.

    Miracle unleashed
    When researchers at the Health Sciences Institute were alerted to
    the news of Graviola,! they be gan tracking the research done on the
    cancer-killing tree. Evidence of the astounding effectiveness of
    Graviola–and its shocking cover-up–came in fast and furious….

    ….The National Cancer Institute performed the first scientific
    research in 1976. The results showed that Graviola’s “leaves and
    stems were found effective in attacking and destroying malignant
    cells.” Inexplicably, the results were published in an internal
    report and never released to the public…

    ….Since 1976, Graviola has proven to be an immensely potent cancer
    killer in 20 independent laboratory tests, yet no double-blind
    clinical trials–the typical benchmark mainstream doctors and
    journals use to judge a treatment’s value–were ever initiated….

    ….A study published in the Journal of Natural Products, following a
    recent study conducted at Catholic University of South Korea stated
    that one chemical in Graviola was found to selectively kill colon
    cancer cells at “10,000 times the potency of (the commonly used
    chemotherapy drug) Adriamycin…”

    ….The most significant part of the Catholic University of South
    Korea report is that Graviola was shown to selectively target the
    cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched. Unlike chemotherapy,
    which indiscriminately targets all actively reproducing cells (such
    as stomach and hair cells), causing the often devastating side
    effects of nausea and hair loss in cancer patients.

    …A study at Purdue University recently found that leaves from the
    Graviola tree killed cancer cells among six human cell lines and
    were especially effective against prostate, pancreatic and lung
    cancers Seven years of silence broken–it’s finally here!!!

    ==========================================

    A cursory search of the Internet seems to indicate that there is at
    least some truth to some of the above claims.

    * http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1054-graviola.aspx?activeingredientid=1054&activeingredientname=graviola
    * http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23889049
    * http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400299/graviola-a-worthwhile-botanical-against-cancer

    But, as you can see, some of that information is somewhat dated. If you
    would be able to post detailed coverage of graviola, this might help to
    put some of the more spurious claims to rest while allowing your readers
    to identify the true benefits of the plant, if any.

    1. Thanks so much for reposting this question. I am not familiar with the plant, but it seems the potential health benefits are being exaggerated. For example, there have been no clinical trials conducted on humans from what I can find, so all we have are cell and animal studies, which cannot translate to humans. If interested in more research these studies mention graviola. I often see many studies or articles that claim there is a “miracle” fruit or plant in the universe offering protection from cancer, but the truth is all plant foods have their place. What’s important is loading up on a variety of foods. Incorporating a more plant-based diet assures the intake of an array of protective compounds that help fight cancer. I am not saying this plant is not healthful (I think I even tried it in Haiti last year and it was delicious!), but focusing on one food is not ideal for optimal health.

  5. Great Piece. Interesting your whispering again ;-) I haven’t heard you whisper on a video in over five years. Just so you know it’s OK to just shout it out there!!! Eat more plants!! ;-)

  6. Hello Dr Greger,

    I’ve been following your work for a while and bought your books to my parents and friends. Thank you for all the great work you’ve done.

    I’m trying to help my friend (in Germany), he’s a great athlete who also follow a healthy plant based diet and made many aware of your work.

    My friend’s wife (35yr old) has been diagnosed with level 4 cancer a few months back (she was up until then, a very healthy and active dancer!) and since then he has managed to convert her to a very strict plant based diet.

    Recently her doctors (including a nutritionist in her hospital) told her to go back to eating meat, dairy and eggs (as long as it’s all organic) and she of course, tends to listen to them. My friend can only convince her to a certain point but eventually she will listen to her doctors.. Could you please recommend a German speaking authority who can help my friend challenging these docs and nutritionist on the science behind what they’re saying? Potentially this could save or at the very least prolong a young level 4 cancer patient’s life.

    Any advice on how to tackle this would help!!

    Hope you could reach out soon.

    Many thanks!!!

    1. Hi, AK! I am one of the site’s health support volunteers. Thank you for your comment. Most (if not all) of the videos here on Nutritionfacts.org have a German subtitles option! Just click on the settings button in the lower right corner of the video screen; then click on “subtitles” and choose “German”. Below is the link to the cancer topic page which will contain many relevant links. I hope this is helpful!
      https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/cancer/

      1. ​Hey Lea,

        Thank you so much for the quick reply.

        The info on your website and your videos were a tremendous help so far and of course, up to a certain point she herself watched and implemented the information with great confidence.. But she will end up listening to her doctors.. Any chance you could recommend ANY authority (Germany based or elsewhere) who can help specifically challenge ​her physicians in Berlin? I should be able to retrieve their emails or at least write to them.

        Thanks again and all the best, AK

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