The role of nutrition in supporting health or mediating illness is undisputed. Yet for many patients, major dietary changes can seem to be an enormous barrier in many dimensions. Changing food patterns affects cost, time, comfort, familiarity, family dynamics, and more. In the video below, Vincent Pedre, MD, an IFM certified practitioner (IFMCP), shares how he uses one of the IFM Toolkit items to gain understanding of a patient’s current nutritional patterns.
The Functional Medicine tool that I have found to be very powerful for improving patient compliance, surprisingly, is a seven-day food journal. Because people’s recall of what they actually eat is not that great when they come in to talk to you. So it’s way better to give them the seven-day food journal and have them document everything that they eat over those seven days.
You find that in a seven-day period that they might be less honest in the first two days, but as it goes on, they become more and more honest. You can get a really good idea of how the person eats, not just over the weekend but also during the work week when things might be a little more rushed and they might pick things up on the go.
And what’s great about it is that it’s a conversation initiator, where I can go back with the patient and point out, “You know, you said you didn’t eat a lot of sugar, but let’s look at these foods that turn into sugar, these simple carbs that are here, here, and here in your diet.”
So it’s really illuminating—not just for me to find what’s missing, but also to help the patient see.
[Many patients] probably are not as aware of the foods they’re eating as they think they are.
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