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    Diet review: Picking the best diet for your patients

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    Having a family with medical issues, primarily gastrointestinal issues, combined with the difficulty that comes with timely diagnosis, has taught me quite a bit about diets. We have tried many diets in an effort to calm stomach pains as well as reduce inflammation and certainly found truth in the adage, “You are what you eat.”

    I came across an article on diet which reported, “According to a 2015 study, over 71% percent of medical schools failed to meet the recommended National Research Council goal of providing at least 25 hours of nutrition education to medical students.”1

    I do not remember much about nutritional education in optometry school. I think it was limited to “diabetics should not eat sugar” and “eat fish.” So, I have taken it upon myself to review it for you here, while eating carrots, drinking water, and riding my exercise bicycle with a built in desk.

    Previously from Dr. Schroeder-Swartz: Risks associated with omega-3 supplementation

    The most common doctor prescribed diets are:2

    • DASH

    • FODMAP

    • Mediterranean

    • MIND

    • Weight Watchers

    DASH diet

    If you thought it was Weight Watchers, you have been brainwashed by your television. The correct answer is the DASH diet. “DASH” stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and it is the diet most commonly prescribed by physicians. The diet emphasizes limiting salt while eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

    Related: How diet and nutrition affect disease

    The DASH diet includes foods high in protein and fiber along with low-dairy foods. It is low in saturated fats, total fats, and cholesterol, as well as low in sugar so it is good for diabetic patients as well.

    A guide to this diet can be found here: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/hbp_low.pdf.

    Tracy Schroeder Swartz, OD, MS, FAAO
    Tracy Schroeder Swartz currently practices at Madison Eye Care Center in Madison, Alabama. She serves as Education Chair for the ...


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