Therapeutic diets: What are they and do they work?




As a nutritional therapist I work with clients that are desperately looking for a resolution to their health issues or they are working to invest in their future health and wellbeing, after all going into middle or old age with chronic illness is no joke! Many clients have struggled for years with chronic pain, discomfort and lack of self-esteem, which could in part have something to do with their poor food choices.



Whatever the reason, part of my job is to take a detailed account of their past medical history, their eating habits and piece by piece put the jigsaw together to form a picture of where they have been, where they are now and where they would like to be. I take a food first  where I make some modifications to their diet. These eating plans are sometimes called therapeutic diets, which are basically modifications of a normal diet by manipulating nutrients to improve medical conditions and improve general health and wellbeing.



There are hundreds of therapeutic diets out there, some are widely used such as a low GL diet for diabetics or a low calorie diet for weight loss. Some are quite specialist such as the liquid diet for patients with gastric cancers. Some are coined as therapeutic diets but are quite faddish such as the cabbage soup diet, which used long term can actually be dangerous. The common denominator for most therapeutic diets is that they are a short term measure to correct imbalances and once the client or patient is feeling better or healed they can resume  a regular healthy eating plan. There are exceptions to this, for those that have on-going issues such as the inability to digest fats for example or low carbohydrate diet for diabetics.



I understand, changing your eating habits and instilling new ones isn’t easy. Lots of people need support with this as it is normal to fall off the wagon occasionally. So is it worth the trouble?



In most cases it is, however one factor remains; that it is difficult to stick to a restrictive diet, after all we live in a world with a lot of temptations.  It is well documented that a low GL diet is beneficial for those with diabetes but let’s be honest, there are many variations of a low carb diet with a plethora of fabulous cook books to choose from, so there is really no excuse not to make really tasty, healthy low GL foods. Then there are low fat diets with an amazing array of convenience foods, such as ready meals, cakes, biscuits, yogurt and milk, unfortunately sugar and salt are added to make up for the lack of flavour in these foods from removing the fat.. Confused? You should be! I will be totally honest with you that there is no right or wrong answer, we simply do not know enough about the effects of foods to have a definitive therapeutic diet for each medical condition.  However, one thing is for certain, Mother nature knows best, and eating food as close to nature is the best you can choose.



Over the next few weeks I am going to examine some or the most popular diets at the moment; Low Carbohydrate, Low Fat, Vegan, low FODMAPS and more. I do have my own view’s but I will try to give a balanced account of what I find in the literature, the pro’s and con’s and hopefully you can make an informed decision for your own body, health concerns, likes and dislikes.



If you would like to know more about my nutritional therapy program then please contact me.