Have you ever considered that we are in a pill-popping society?
The first line treatment for many of the medical problems that walk through our doors is a medication.
Forget about avoiding the foods that cause your symptoms – just take a pill.
New diagnosis of diabetes?
We give lip service to lifestyle modifications and then dispense patients some metformin.
Hypertension? Diuretics, ACE inhibitors, AREBs, beta-blockers – take your pick and then make the obligatory mention of weight loss.
We all realize that there’s a time and place for medication…… I acknowledge that.
I raise two questions:
- When are we going to emphasize the quality of our food choices to the degree that it deserves?
- When are we going to move away from that non-descript, half-hearted nutrition advice “you need to eat healthier” to actually prescribing food as medicine?
As pharmacists, we don’t get much nutrition education throughout our training.
Has our profession washed its hands of this problem?
Achieving a thorough and complete solution involves a steep uphill climb.
- It would require changes to our pharmacy education to include comprehensive nutrition education.
- It would take counselling time, and as we know, time is money and time interferes with productivity.
From a patient perspective, it would involve access to affordable quality foods.
And it would require mass adoption of newly received education by the general public.
The self-regulated food industry has no interest in this outcome.
But what can we do? We can:
- Take an interest in our own nutrition.
- Implement that by educating our patients.
In summary let’s take a closer look at our own dietary habits, educate ourselves in the nutrition realm, make healthy eating a top priority, and share our knowledge and enthusiasm with our patients.