Food As Medicine

The Lempert Report
April 13, 2022

Phil: Food and medicine is a term that we keep on hearing a lot about. In fact, the FMI board endorsed it as an initiative and on March 30th, just last week, there was a food is medicine, how food and diet impact the treatment of disease, indeed disease management conference. They issued a report, which I think is so interesting. It's divided into five parts. I'm not gonna go through all those five parts, check it out, but I'm gonna tell you what the key findings were. And I think when we, when we hear these key findings, it's really very telling of what we've gotta do to improve our health medical schools across the country. Do not require that students take basic nutrition courses. Social media has facilitated the hijacking of food as medicine, as disease treatment. 

Phil: Therefore it has become pseudo scientific altern of medicine. And this has alienated a lot of healthcare providers from adopting the food. As medicine programs, websites are incomplete and inaccurate with their information, uh, the increased popularity of dietary supplements paired with the lack of regulation of those supplements from the federal government has caused a lot of confusion. The American dietary guidelines have long been influenced by large food companies and interest group, and do not reflect the state of the science regarding the relationship between diet and health marketing and health claims that are printed on food packages can confuse consumers research under by the food industry has skewed public understanding of the impacts of certain foods on individual health. Marion Nestle, our friend, is focused on that not only in her books, but in her daily newsletter, really, um, revealing who funding certain studies and then having some great commentary. 

Phil: If you don't get food, food politics now from Marion as a free newsletter sign up for it, it's really important. Um, nutrition, incentive programs, um, medically can be an effective tool to combat food, nutrition insecurity. So that's one good thing. Uh, food is medicine need increased government funding, um, produce prescription programs that we've talked a lot about can provide a financial incentive to increase access and consumption of fresh, um, fresh fruits and vegetables among targeted patient populations. This report is, is a well of information and it's really every food retailer, every food company's obligation to read this as we're getting into the food as medicine trend. 

Sally: Yes. And you know, something else, Phil we're here, we've been hearing a lot about, um, food being equitable. And th this were report talks about that. And what's interesting is at the, the conference this past week, the virtual, the RDBA virtual experience, I attended a session, um, adopting a heart healthy diet for today's consumer that was led, um, by the American heart association. And one of the focuses of this was that their 2021 dietary guidance to improve cardiovascular health is not only addressing eating habits, but it's also calling out challenges to patterns such as structural racism, neighborhood segregation, food insecurity, targeted marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages and opportunities for precision nutrition in this area. 

Phil: Yeah, that's so important. And both on the RDBA side and the SupermarketGuru side, we're gonna be doing a lot more on DEI, um, and, and really delving into the whole food diversity and what you're describing now, over the next few months. It it's a very serious problem. And I agree with you, American heart did a fabulous, uh, session and a great way of explaining it. And they've got great tools also, by the way, even if you're not a retail dietitian, even if you didn't come to the conference, go to and you can visit the expo booths that are out there, um, over the next 30 days. And then we'll be taking them down, but you can access those resources as well.