The Physicians Committee

Does Your Doctor Discuss Nutrition with You?

  June 21, 2017    

heart health

Did you know that 80 percent of heart attacks could be prevented if we overhauled our diets and lifestyle?

Studies show that people who follow a plant-based diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and the lowest rates of heart disease. One study showed that 81 percent of patients with heart disease who switched to a plant-based diet experienced fewer symptoms and complications, while nearly a quarter reversed the disease entirely.

To put it in perspective, adopting a healthy lifestyle could prevent up to 80 percent of heart attacks, while statins—the most commonly prescribed cholesterol lowering drug—prevent up to 36 percent.

But cardiologists—the doctors tasked with treating, managing, and protecting us from America’s No. 1 killer—probably won’t tell you that and might not even know it themselves.

According to a new study, 9 in 10 surveyed cardiologists reported that they received little to no nutrition education during their cardiology fellowship training.

On top of that, the majority of cardiologists have very little time with their patients to discuss lifesaving nutrition interventions.

So what can we do? To truly begin tackling heart disease and the other lifestyle-related diseases that now account for 7 in 10 U.S. deaths, we have to start prioritizing prevention. It’s time for doctors to start leading the way in acknowledging the underlying causes of food-related illnesses. The Physicians Committee offers free resources for establishing nutrition education curriculum in medical schools, continuing medical education courses for current doctors, and hosts the International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine each year for health care providers.


our doctors- madness???

My husband has had polyps and went to his doctor recently due to abnormal liver function. I mentioned to the doctor that besides other lifestyle changes, my husband desperately needs to drink water. Naively expecting a doctor's support on this matter, what I got as a response from this doctor was: "well, some people get their water from the food they eat" !!!; ??? My husband undereats and is not even a vegetarian!!! I'm baffled that this Kaiser Permanente doctor couldn't even condone water drinking for health!!

Doctor and Nutrition

My doctor said I might not have to eat meat but people who do heavy work need to. I told him large work animals around the world are vegans; and when we fed cows meat, they got mad cow disease. He thinks I'm a case anyway....


my Man had a heart attack in 2014. By then we were on a plant based diet and he recovered well with the 3 by pass surgery. And his Dr told him he will have to take those stupid medicines the rest of his life and I told him and that we don't eat meat and cheese and sugar and we are not going to keep him on it all his life. Now he goes to the other Dr who helps the heart Dr and she told us she won't take him off the medicines. I took every book I have from all of the Doctors that have written and about going on a plant based diet. When she saw me she told me it was 15 minute session, no books. They are just all quacks and they don't know what they are saying. I was so mad but I didn't say a word and now he weaned himself off and we trying to find a better Dr. now.

HOW to get info to our doctors?

I would like to send a copy of the Nutrition Guides for Clinicians TO my cardiologist & oncologist. Is this possible? As stated, so many have LITTLE or NO nutritional training on this crucial connection to prevention/cure. Thanks, Wendy

Confused About Dietary Fat

Dear Dr. Barnard and Colleagues,

Recently, I watched a video in which Dr. Michael Greger was asked:

“Would you recommend a certain macronutrient ratio?”

To which Dr. Greger responded:

“I would not recommend a certain macronutrient ratio. All that matters is whole plant foods – high fat, low fat, any kind of fat – as long as it’s whole plant foods.”


I was surprised to hear Dr. Greger — an icon in plant-based nutrition — stating that a high-fat would be fine, provided it’s from whole plant foods.

Would Dr. Barnard agree that it's okay to eat a high-fat diet, if it's 100% plant fat?


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