When patients work closely with dieticians or other nutrition-oriented providers, they report an over 20% increase adherence to dietary interventions, citing more involvement in their own treatment plans and a sense of control over their health outcomes.
Nutrition counseling in primary care may empower patients to make positive changes to their dietary behaviors. A study of diabetic patients found that nutrition counseling significantly improved diet quality, blood glucose markers, and increased weight loss when compared to controls. Part of the reason for these improved outcomes may be the personalized care and patient-centered approach, both tenets of Functional Medicine.
The patient’s perception of empathy and feeling of connection toward their provider impacts the effectiveness of nutritional counseling and the likelihood of long-term adherence to prescribed dietary changes. Implementing a food plan with patients is a prime example where the therapeutic partnership can be nurtured. Customizing a dietary intervention requires the clinician to practice empathy and carefully consider the patient’s individual dietary needs and preferences in context of any other medical treatment.
There must be collaboration when developing your health plan with the entire primary care team, but specifically include your pharmacist, nutritionist, Health Guardian, and others who are involved with what you eat and drink.
Your Food Plan should include a comprehensive guide providing an overview of the rational for the plan, as well as clear guidance on therapeutic foods, customization for specific conditions, expected interactions between currently prescribed drugs and the planned nutritional effects of the planned diet.
The weekly food planner should be paired with a food list for easy shopping which enables you to take charge of your own health and budget. A robust bibliography could provide the research background for how and why this food plan would have such an effect on health outcomes. Motivation is a big part of a collaborative food plan.