Ham&High Podcast: Why nutrition is a medical issue, with Dr Ally Jaffee

Ally Jaffee

Dr Ally Jaffee - Credit: Diarmuid McDonald

Should doctors be telling patients what to eat? 

According to the guest on this week's Ham&High Podcast, the answer is a resounding yes.

Dr Ally Jaffe set up Nutritank in 2017 to promote the importance of food and nutrition in medicine, something she feels was left out of her own medical training.

During medical school at the University of Bristol, the Childs Hill doctor and fellow student Dr Iain Broadley felt the profession is too quick to jump straight to pharmaceuticals and surgery.

Instead, Dr Jaffee wants patients to "empower themselves" to learn things about diet and lifestyle changes to help their own physical and mental wellbeing.

She said: “We thought this was a bit of a weird gap in medical education and we really wanted to change it – that’s why Nutritank came about."

For Dr Jaffee, food has always played a major role in how she feels. 

“Growing up I was a very fussy eater, but I was always being fed vegetables, lots of fresh fruit, and never really any processed food," she said.

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“My mum’s a fabulous cook so always taught me the importance of cooking from scratch and she would always bake.

“So food was a very big thing for me growing up. I’m part of a Jewish household and food is a huge symbol for us.”

Earlier this year, Dr Jaffee’s efforts to change training given to medical students were recognised when she received a Diana Award from the charity of the same name. 

The awards are given out to just a few people around the world each year for “going above and beyond in their daily life to create and sustain positive change”.

“It was an absolutely out-of-body experience – I was just so humbled”, she said.

“To be part of that community and to be associated with the name Diana who is someone my family and I just admire so greatly was just such a wonderful achievement.

“She so supported young change-makers and people who went against the status quo, as she did.”

To hear the full interview, listen and subscribe for free to the full podcast via https://podfollow.com/hamhigh/. You'll also be able to find interviews with previous guests including Sir Keir Starmer, Michelle Collins and Esther Rantzen