Just published “Healthy nutrition. A guide for psychiatrists and their patients ” whose authors are Gemma Safont, Martina Ferrer and Susan Judas, biosanitary specialists in psychiatry, medicine and nutrition; and that has also had as editors Gemma Safont, collaborator of CIBERSAM and Miquel Bernardo, group leader of the CIBERSAM at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.
The purpose of this guide is review, in a very simple and clear way, the existing information, analyze and break the different myths that exist about nutrition, giving a rigorous vision, while novel, and propose concrete actions for monitoring and intervention on diet for the promotion of global health of patients with mental illnesses.
Likewise, useful tools are given that can serve them on a day-to-day basis, such as universal tips to improve their eating habits, and finally many simple, affordable, and “psycho-healthy” recipes have been added for the nutrients they provide, as defined by its authors.
Miguel Bernardo, one of the editors of the guide, explains the need for this approach. “Doctors, and particularly psychiatrists, know that our patients have unhealthy habits, that they are sedentary, consumers of toxic substances, they have a diet rich in ultra-processed foods, in sugars, refined flours, trans fats and very poor at a nutritional level, but We do not have enough knowledge to carry out basic advice in this regard and we certainly know very little or almost nothing about nutrition ”, he acknowledges.
The expert remarks that “we have been taught that the healthy diet is the Mediterranean diet, but misunderstood, that“ you can eat everything in moderation ”; Our nutritional model is based on a food pyramid that today, with the evidence we have, is not supportedWe still believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that you have to eat five times a day, that fats are bad and make you fat, and that without continuous inputs of external glucose our brain and muscles will not work well ” .
However, he clarifies that there is “nothing further from reality.” “The truth is that diets based on cereals, light products, and fat-free are a failure, and right now we have a pandemic of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular risk factors, etc., which are beginning in earlier stages. , which are especially prevalent in the mentally ill population, and which lead to a poor quality of life, high comorbidity and early mortality ”, he warns.
Modifiable risk factors
At the same time, he adds that “these risk factors are largely modifiable, some lead to others, and addressing them from appropriate health strategies is a need that must be addressed by psychiatrists and mental health teams, in coordination with primary care teams, which can and should lead this intervention ”.
Bernardo remarks that it is necessary to “do prevention from the beginning, empower both patients and their families, and provide them with all the necessary information to avoid, reverse or improve, if they have already appeared, these health problems ”. “Psychoeducation focused on healthy lifestyle habits should be part of the day-to-day in our consultations, and tools as powerful as adequate nutrition or exercise, which are the basis of good health, must always be present in our recommendations ”, He emphasizes.
Sustainable recommendations over time
The expert emphasizes that it is basic “begin not only to become aware of it, but to be proactive in this regard, have basic knowledge, based on evidence, founded and updated, to be able to make clear and concrete recommendations to our patients about their diet ”.
In the same way, she considers that it is not much use to tell them that they have to eat healthy and stay there, because, “what does it mean to eat healthy? Spend your life having whole grains and juices for breakfast, eating and dining boiled vegetables and grilled chicken, accompanied by 50 grams of bread? ”He asks. His conclusion is clear: “That is not eating healthy and there is no one who can endure it beyond a few weeks,” he says.