“Let food be thy medicine”: teaching physicians cooking

Mental health researchers Bonnie Kaplan and Julia Rucklidge recently collaborated on an article published on the mental health website Mad in America. In it, they discuss the approach of physicians toward nutrition’s role in our health.

One item of particular note is their citation of an America study that found nutrition is missing from many of the curricula in medical schools. Some important highlights from the study include:

  • Only 25% of schools in the study required a dedicated nutrition course
  • Students received under 20 hours of nutrition instruction during their entire study period
  • The National Academy of Sciences recommends a minimum of only 25 required hours
  • Only 1 in 4 schools meet that minimum

All that being said, Kaplan and Rucklidge also pointed out a innovative teaching program at the Tulane University Medical School in New Orleans: for the last 3 years, they’ve been teaching their medical students how to cook.

This program helps these students help their future students make better food choice because it teaches them how to cook wholesome food using fresh ingredients.

What’s even more encouraging is that 9 other medical schools are on board with the Tulane program. As the program spreads and becomes more widely accepted, hopefully we can see a new generation of doctors who have nutrition top of mind when they are diagnosing and prescribing.