In the last few decades, we have seen a huge onslaught of lifestyle diseases most of which boil down to (pun intended) better managing our food choices.
I was recently having an informal conversation along these lines with a cousin of mine (who also happens to be a renowned endocrinologist). He states that the role of a dietitian/nutritionist/health counselor in advising his patients with respect to their food choices is pre-eminent.
Read an excerpt of his typical conversations with his patients to get a feel for it yourself:
Patient: Doc, I have diabetes. What should I eat?
Doctor: See my dietitian
Patient: Umm….what all should I avoid?
Doctor: Please see my dietitian
Patient: Okay, but…you’re my doctor, you tell me about the diet
Doctor: Here is a generic info. sheet. Follow this till you make an appointment with the dietitian
Patient: Doc, my cousin has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes…..what should he do?
Doctor: Aside from seeing a dietitian urgently to learn about healthy eating, he should aim for a 5 to 10% fat-loss if he is overweight/obese. This will prevent the progression of the condition to diabetes, and even potentially reverse it to normal
Patient: Thanks…and his sister has PCOS. Is there a specific diet for that?
Doctor: She too must aim for a similar approach if she carries excess body fat. Weight control through healthy eating and increased physical activity is paramount
Patient: Gosh doc, the whole world seems to have a weight problem!
Doctor: Yes, it is indeed the plague of this millennium. It will wipe out our race if we don’t take control of it now. For the first time in human history, there are scientific predictions that parents will outlive their offspring!
Patient: Oh my goodness! But doc, aren’t there any medications to help lose weight?
Doctor: Unfortunately, none that are safe and effective. Those that exist have obnoxious side effects. Others have marginal efficacy, and the newer ones lack long-term safety data
Patient: So does that mean we are screwed?
Doctor: Essentially, yes. Only dietitians can save the world now
Me: *hides smirk* *puts on cape and gown*
P.S. He may have exaggerated the ending but we enjoyed it nevertheless