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November 1, 2019

90-Second Nutrition Lesson

By Joanne Fruth, MD


Diet is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths worldwide, and the statistics in the US are even worse.

So how does a busy physician teach a memorable dietary lesson in 90 sec? Here’s my pitch:

First, I draw a circle on the paper, then a line to divide the circle in half, and then a small line to divide half the plate in half; on the ½ plate section I write “F and V”

“Half of you plate should be beautiful, color fruits and vegetables. Eat the colors of the rainbow every day.”

Then I write “No 4WPs”

“Avoid the Four White Poisons: Salt, Sugar, White Four and Grease. If it’s white, think twice”

Then I place a “P” in the quarter plate

“A quarter of you plate should be lean, healthy proteins. I happen to be an advocate of plant-based protein”

Then I shade in the last quarter of the plate and place a “W”

“I’m shading this in to represent that dark place in your body called your colon. This is where you want to be kind to your colon. Eat whole grains. Brown rice, not white rice; whole grain breads and pasta”

A lot of physicians and advanced practice providers don’t think our patients listen when we give them nutritional advice.  I think if we change some people’s eating habits by just a little, and even for a short period of time, we can move the needle of our nation’s health. And improvement by just a little can help thousands of lives.

My advice to Clinicians: The most important thing to remember is to find YOUR voice. What we tell your patients matters to THEM! Remember:  FOOD IS MEDICINE.


Dr. Fruth is a family physician with a mission to promote the benefits of primary care and especially Family Medicine (#FMrevolution).  As Medical Director at Avance Care, Dr. Fruth uses her years of experience and passion for teaching to inspire other clinicians to make each primary care visit one which builds the foundation good health

Dr. Fruth loves hiking, trips to Broadway and seeking adventure (or a quiet evening) with her emergency physician husband. She has three adult children on their own missions to make the world a better place.

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