Doctors and diets

by 1675 · March 29, 2012 at 01:17 AM

Has anyone had a discussion with their doctor about the diet? I'm just wondering what a doctor would say to a patient when there is some medical responsibility to give good medical advice. If the paleo diet flies in the face of current dietary guidelines (and it does), can they ethically endorse a diet that does so? What has your doctor told you?

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7 Replies

695 · May 10, 2010 at 09:08 PM

If you want to bring the diet up to your doctor, I would start by telling him that you want to eat more nutrient dense food like fruits, vegetables, and grass fed meats. I would then mention that you want to eliminate all processed foods from your diet. Any doctor that argues with you on those 2 points should be listened to with a critical mind (which you should be doing anyways).

I would then say that you've heard some success stories of people getting off of gluten, legumes, and grains due to their high anti-nutrient content. Ask him if he would be supportive of you trying such a diet for a month and monitoring your progress via bloodwork. There will be no denying your success when the numbers come back improved as every person I've heard of who has gone paleo has experienced improved bloodwork numbers. Your success could lead to opening the mind of another member of the medical community to a whole new way of eating.

7709 · May 10, 2010 at 08:47 PM

I have Crohn's Disease.

My gastroenterologist of a few years looked like she had just heard that her whole family died in a horrible car accident when I told her that I was off the medication and feeling great on a vlc diet. She repeatedly warned me that I was going to have a flareup unless I went on some medication. She repeated this a couple of times on the phone talking about test results.

So I switched to a new gastro who basically said, "Huh. Have you hear of the Maker's Diet? People have had success with that too." then when he heard what medication I WAS on, he said, "Oh there's some debate as to whether that does anything at all." So I'm extremely glad I switched. He seems to be slightly bemused by my approach but willing to support me in doing it. Maybe he'll even be interested in the results. Who knows.

Basically it's going to depend on the doctor's previous experiences and personality (open versus "I know best shut the hell up"). Those that have explored dietary approaches or have been exposed to them by a decent number of previous patients are going to respond better than those who never have. My previous doctor seemed to take it as an affront when I went and stopped taking my medication - I think some doctors really don't like being told you think they're wrong, however obliquely you do it. And never forget that saying, "I'm going to try a diet" is basically a rejection of the doctor's years of expertise; most people don't take that well and someone who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get where they are is, if anything, going to be more invested in the idea that they're right.

1220 · May 10, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Who cares what your doctors think?

Doctors are the gatekeepers for subsidized diagnostic testing and treatment, if necessary.

2505 · May 10, 2010 at 08:43 PM

My doctor had not heard about the diet, and upon initially hearing me explain it, asked how I was feeling; he wasn't judgemental at all. I told him about how great I'd been feeling, gave him the information on both The Paleo Diet and Primal Blueprint, and he said he'd check them out.

I personally thought it was great that though it defies convention, my doctor was open-minded enough to accept that it was working for me, and that he'd dig deeper to learn more himself!

10 · May 10, 2010 at 08:11 PM

My doctor actually told me about the diet -- I don't think I'd have discovered it otherwise. He gave me a list of encouraged foods and foods to avoid, and told me I ought to buy The Paleo Diet and have a read. At the same time he also recommended a Mediterranean diet as second-best. I haven't discussed this with any other doctor since, but I don't think I'd expect a good reaction.

80 · March 29, 2012 at 01:17 AM

My doctor suggested it and gave me a list of resources. He is on a modified version of it because he eats cheeses.

135 · May 13, 2010 at 02:34 AM

My doctor suggested a low carbohydrate diet (less than 30 grams CHO/day) when I had some blood sugar irregularity. She seems to be on top of the research and is willing to investigate gluten sensitivity as a cause of hypothyroid. BTW, I listened to the advice and blood sugar is normal. The low carb diet led me to MDA and the paleo lifestyle.

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