Changing the conversation about health

Doctors should take cookery lessons to offer patients better advice on nutrition

GPs should consider taking cookery courses so they’re better placed to advise patients on healthy eating, which in turn could reduce the country’s Type 2 diabetes rate.

Britain’s obesity problem is currently the worst in Europe, with around two thirds of adults now overweight.

At a conference in Glasgow in October, Dr Abhinav Bhansali, of Culinary Medicine UK, said family doctors could do more when it comes to advising on nutrition.

GPs – and GPs of the future – should go on courses to learn more about nutrition, Dr Bhansali of Culinary Medicine UK, told doctors at the Royal College of GPs annual conference in Glasgow

Medical schools should also consider making trainee doctors learn more about the effects a poor diet can have on patients, he added.

Addressing the Royal College of GPs annual conference on October 12th, he said: “We want to start the conversation where GPs can talk to patients about the benefits of healthy cooking.

“We have this growing trend of chronic conditions and we’re not really equipped to deal with it.”

Culinary Medicine UK is a not-for-profit organisation that trains GPs at weekends on how to cook healthier food, with recipes including more nutritious versions of popular dishes, including curries and burgers.

Dr Bhansali explained: “One of the recipes is spaghetti bolognese. We cook different versions, from simple bolognese to something more wholesome with lentils, peppers, garlic and parsley.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said time restraints made it difficult for doctors to offer such advice but they would welcome “handy resources” that offered information that was easy to pass on to patients.

She said: “There is already so much to do within the confines of a ten-minute consultation, expecting GPs to do even more is unrealistic.”