Nutritional Therapies | Food as Medicine

Food as medicine, also known as “food is medicine” is defined as a therapeutic method in which food and nutrition are used in the prevention and treatment of chronic, non-communicable disease (also increasingly recognized as diet related chronic disease).

The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, in its 2019 Global Burden of Disease Report, analyzed data from more than 190 countries and found that what people eat, and fail to eat, is the leading cause of disease and death globally.

However, food and nutrition education in medical school as well as nutrition education and support for health care professionals is lacking.

In fact, only 27% of medical schools in the U.S. provide the minimum 25 hours as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences since 1985. Furthermore, only 14% of medical residents (physicians in training) believe they possess the knowledge and training to provide nutrition counseling to patients, nor do they know the guidelines for diagnosing and treating obesity.


In support of the recent White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, The American College of Lifestyle Medicine is offering 5.5 hours of free online CME/CE coursework to healthcare professionals, introducing them to lifestyle medicine, a powerful treatment tool for chronic disease.

The 5.5-hour CME/CNE/CPE/CE/MOC-accredited “Lifestyle Medicine & Food as Medicine” course bundle includes:

  • “Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine” module (1 hr)
  • “Food as Medicine: Nutrition for Prevention and Longevity” module (3 hrs)
  • “Food as Medicine: Nutrition for Treatment and Risk Reduction” module (1.5 hr


The American College of Lifestyle Medicine is committed to raising the level of competency in food as medicine for all health care professionals. We fully recognize that healthful eating patterns not only impact disease progression but encourage overall well-being, influencing a patient’s success in other lifestyle pillars. It just so happens that this dietary lifestyle pattern is also what is best for the planet.

For the treatment, reversal and prevention of lifestyle-related chronic disease (also known as diet related disease), ACLM recommends eating a plant-based predominantly whole food dietary pattern with a focus on consuming a variety of minimally processed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

ACLM is pleased to offer a breadth of  CME/CE educational courses, research, tools and resources to support health professionals and patients in their journey to use food as medicine.

ACLM’s CME/CE Food as Medicine Courses and Research

Created by the foremost experts in lifestyle medicine and food as medicine, ACLM’s array of food as medicine CME/CE courses and research address the need for quality, evidence-based nutrition education, missing in medical education.


Of the six pillars of lifestyle medicine, the nutrition pillar is one of the most powerful lifestyle interventions for the prevention, treatment and reversal of many chronic diseases.

The Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition is a comprehensive 11 article blog series that reviews the evidence supporting the use of a whole food plant-based diet for optimal human health.

Throughout this series we review the overall benefits of plant-based nutrition as well as the benefits for use in specific clinical settings and for prevention and treatment of specific disease states.


Food as Medicine Patient Resources

Tools and support to help patients use food as medicine are critical to patient success.

ACLM has compiled a number of downloadable print resources including our free Food as Medicine Jumpstart Guide and a Whole Food Plant Based Sample Menu Plan that contain delicious recipes, tips and advice that can be used to augment your food as medicine.

Annual Lifestyle Medicine Conference

Every Fall, ACLM hosts the premier continuing education event focused on lifestyle medicine – the therapeutic dose of proper nutrition, regular physical activity, social connection, restorative sleep, stress management, and avoidance of risky substances.