Why is my doctor against mango ?
Some facts –
a) Doctors don’t study nutrition or at best have limited exposure to nutrition science.
b) Nutrition science is constantly evolving, and is now way beyond making food recommendations based on a single nutrient – e.g. sugar, fat, omega 3, etc.
Your doctor will continue studying and updating in his core competency – endocrinology/ cardiology/ nephrology, etc., to ensure that his advice is not limited by bookish knowledge and to keep pace with the latest advancements in one’s field. But some of them feel threatened if you question them about food or they simply (and ridiculously) indulge in fear mongering of all local, native, traditional eating habits. Be it Mango, dal rice or ghee.
Before we lose heart, the Karnataka chapter of ‘The association of Physicians of India (API)’ put out a good study on Mango and other local fruits in the hope that others in their profession let go off the prejudice against local fruits (link – https://goo.gl/3LFBRp). But it brings us back to the fact that our doctors are not up to date with latest in nutrition science (not that it’s their job to be so) and that our dietitians are either not vocal or confident or hardworking enough to dig deeper beyond the little tiny bits that they have been taught in college (which is outdated and skewed – link -https://goo.gl/Mvzumh).
It is now well documented and accepted that food and dietary recommendations should be based on region, culture and people. Health- Economy- Ecology is the main parameter here and not carbs, protein and fat. Countries like Brazil are already making their dietary guidelines based on this multidisciplinary approach (link – https://goo.gl/LRPoYn). It’s time ancient civilisations like India, who regard Mango as the king of fruits not just for its taste and nutrients but also for its therapeutic value, follow the lead.
Truth be told, the best way to know if you are on track is to listen to your dadi, not doctor or dietitian. They are the bearers of the multipronged approach to food, health and well-being. The only bias we have against them is that they are women and speak in vernacular languages. Unknowingly, we have made men and English (even aggression) as the language of science. But the gold standard in nutrition research across the top academies in the world is to take the grand Mom’s lead.
To cut a long story short, if it’s in season, it’s local and it’s a part of your food heritage, daro mat, khao. Be it Mango or anything else.
By Rujuta Diwekar
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