Sue Radd

The food doctor

Friday, November 18, 2016
Dietitian’s cookbook a prescription for helping prevent disease

Sue Radd is an award-winning dietitian and now doctoral researcher based at her Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic in Castle Hill, Sydney. The published author, a long-time food columnist for Signs of the Times, has a new cookbook entitled Food As Medicine: Cooking For Your Best Health. Signs Publishing Book Editor Nathan Brown asked Radd about her work and about her passion for good nutrition.

What’s the background to Food As Medicine as a project?
As a health professional of nearly 30 years, I’ve always been interested in the potential to use food as medicine. Now the scientific evidence is strengthening for using a plant-based dietary pattern to not only prevent chronic disease or better manage it but to even reverse some diseases. I wanted to share this information in a practical and delicious way.

Why is Food As Medicine an important book?
Because the information in it can save your life—and make you a better ambassador. It can help you maintain your wellbeing and for those already afflicted with a medical condition, like diabetes, it can help reduce complications or even reverse their condition. The book promotes a variety of plant-based dietary patterns and gives plenty of options because not everyone is at the same stage of their wellness journey. It contains everything you need to know to stay healthy, such as how to stock a wellness pantry, which cookware and storage containers to use to minimise exposure to potentially harmful chemicals that can leach into your food, and information on topical issues ranging from raw foods to paleo diets. And it’s something you can share easily with your family and friends.

What is unique about the book?
The foods and recipes in it don’t focus on single nutrients, like high protein or low sugar, or even individual medical conditions. Rather, they simultaneously target multiple underlying processes that drive most chronic diseases. This means, in most cases, you don’t need to cook separate recipes for different members of the family and everyone can benefit by eating the same meals.

Tell us about your current research and what it’s adding to your understanding of nutrition and wellbeing.
I’m a PhD candidate at The University of Sydney studying the effects of the Mediterranean diet on memory and thinking. There’s good observational data that a plant-based dietary pattern may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease—and dementia generally—by almost 50 per cent! I’ve developed a tool to measure adherence to the diet and relate this to clinical outcomes among people at risk of cognitive decline. Dementia is the second-leading cause of death in Australia and projected to become the primary cause in the future. But we believe there’s an opportunity to intervene early with diet and other lifestyle measures like physical activity to slow down progression once a person starts experiencing memory decline.

How does Food As Medicine fit with the Seventh-day Adventist health message?
Adventists are pioneers in preventative medicine. This book is part of the next wave of lifestyle medicine interventions, now increasingly recognised and promoted by scientists and health professionals. The plant-based dietary patterns the book promotes are consistent with biblical dietary principles and backed by evidence-based nutrition science. Simple, low-cost lifestyle interventions are just as powerful—or more powerful—for some diseases as drugs or medical devices.

Food As Medicine in print

Food As Medicine: Cooking for Your Best Health is available from Adventist Book Centres in Australia and New Zealand and from

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Food As Medicine online

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Nathan Brown

Nathan is Book Editor at Signs Publishing. He is a former magazine editor, a published writer and an author or editor of a dozen books. He is also a co-convener of Manifest, a community exploring, encouraging and celebrating faithful creativity.