Diet has been identified as the single most important risk factor for morbidity and mortality in the United States1, yet most health care providers spend relatively few hours learning about nutrition during their training2,3 The nutrition education that is offered is often primarily didactic and focused on the biochemistry of nutrients and health consequences of deficiency states. This focused approach is of limited use in a clinical setting where most of the population faces overnutrition due to high intake of ultra-processed, calorie-dense foods and face several diet related diseases.
Culinary medicine is an emerging, evidence-based discipline, which aims to positively affect public health by improving eating behaviors through integrating nutritional science with food preparation. It brings together nutrition and culinary knowledge and skills to assist patients in maintaining health and preventing and treating food-related disease by choosing high-quality, healthy food in conjunction with appropriate medical care 4.
In the past decade, there have been a growing number of educational initiatives that focus on culinary medicine and are designed for clinicians or directly for parents, children and communities5. These range from Continuing Medical Education trainings 6,7 and formal medical school curricula8 to outpatient shared visits, live online courses, and remote video coaching.9
Watch the videos below on the role of Culinary Medicine
Ben Chipkin is a food-minded future physician who is passionate about empowering healthcare providers and their patients with healthy lifestyles. He views nutrition, physical activity and the environment as central to our health and strives to transform medicine through this lens. Currently a third-year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Ben dedicates his time outside the clinic to patient education at JeffHOPE, developing the culinary medicine curriculum at Jefferson and serving on the Board of Directors of Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia. He holds a Master of Science in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
Dr Rupy Aujla is an NHS doctor who believes modern medicine is fundamentally missing a focus on nutritional medicine. Despite diet being an essential ingredient to our well-being, medical students in the UK often receive just a few hours training in nutrition. Rupy’s TEDx talk explores the medicinal effects of different ingredients and debunks some common ‘diets’, focusing on how we can make ‘culinary medicine’ rather than fad diets the default option.
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