Medical Diets for People with Specific Dietary Needs

February 13,2019

Confused as to which diet you should adopt? If so, ask your doctor. Many of the so-called fad diets actually evolved from earlier versions of medical diets designed to meet a patient's specific needs for dietary intake. Unfortunately, today's media seem committed to delivering great food photos for the cover shot and catchy marketing messages but without content to explain why one diet is more effective for a particular group than others are. For example, the popular Mediterranean Diet is based on the ancient food triad of wheat, olive oil and wine.

Adults Often Have Unique Needs

Greek physician Hippocrates noticed thousands of years ago that the luxury foods of the elite class appeared to have "cause and effect" for gout and bowel disease. Listed below are medically related diets that evolved over time:

  • Diabetic Diet (low carb, high fat) - John Rollo was Scottish military surgeon, who in 1797 wrote Notes of a Diabetic Case, where he described the benefits of a heavy meat diet for patients who suffered from diabetes mellitus. The high fat, low-carb medical diet likely influenced food research that led to the ketogenic diet over a hundred years later as well as low-carb spinoffs like Atkins, South Beach Diet and other LCHF Diets.
  • Low-Carb Diet (low carb, high protein) - The first published diet is credited to an overweight British undertaker named William Banting. In his 1863 pamphlet Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public, Banting recommended low-carbohydrate (no sugar or starches) diet of meats, greens, fruits and dry wine. Weight loss became so popular that Europeans would ask others "Do you Bant".
  • Ketogenic Diet (high fat, no carb) - Likely the most popular fat-burning diet today, the keto diet was originally developed as a medical diet in the early 1920s to help treat pediatric patients with epilepsy who did not respond to conventional approaches. Ketogenic diet therapy has also been medically used for metabolic dysregulation, such as cancer and Alzheimer's.
  • DASH Diet (low fat, low carb) - The DASH diet is promoted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as a dietary plan to lower the risks of heart disease by helping people prevent and control high blood pressure. DASH followers are encouraged to eat fresh veggies, fruits and whole grains along with low-fat dairy products and meats while limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.

Why Should People Follow a Diet Plan?

Obviously, the politically correct answer is to restore their good health and wellness. Nonetheless, dieting most often follows bad lifestyle choices and poor eating habits that result in unwanted weight gain. Unfortunately, that means you need to eat better and exercise more. On the other hand, did you know that weight gain is closely linked to hormone imbalances and other medical conditions? That's why we recommend you ask your doctor which diet would work best for your body's unique needs. Moreover, a quick study of dietary history can help explain why one diet may have eliminated a certain food or restricted the percentage of fats consumed or avoided acidic foods completely.

Our board certified physician will conduct an annual physical, order some lab work, review your medical history, discuss your goals for weight management and recommend a safe and effective dietary approach. To schedule your visit at our Jacksonville, St. Augustine or Orange Park office, call 904.269.0500 today.