With the sheer volume of superfoods, smoothie bowls and sugar-free bakes clogging up social media feeds, you’d be forgiven for thinking we had our fill of experts espousing the link between nutrition and health. But much as their upbeat posts on avocado on toast might pay for rent (and brunch), the vast majority of ‘influencers’ lecturing us on diet have no training, no qualifications and a patchy understanding of human physiology at best.
Which is what - among other things - sets them apart from doctors. Blisteringly bright doctors who undergo seven gruelling years of medical training, tested up to their eyeballs on every bone, muscle and fibre in the human body. And yet, as Doctor’s Orders: Getting Tomorrow’s Medics Cooking (Radio 4, 26 March, 3.30pm) revealed, hardly any are given a proper grounding in nutrition.
For Dr Rangan Chatterjee it took nearly losing his son to an entirely preventable mineral deficiency to realise the extent of nutritional science simply not being taught to doctors, while for Dr Michael Mosley it was a diagnosis of diabetes, which he was able to reverse by slashing his body weight and lowering blood pressure, that proved a turning point.
With preventable lifestyle-related illnesses now costing the NHS upwards of £11bn each year, all on the show agreed it was time for a change. The science of food might be problematic, as clashing advice leaves most of us thoroughly confused on whether to swap butter for coconut oil or sugar for sweetener, but who better than doctors to provide clarity?