Using food as medicine: Food for Fuel program

Tue, May 23, 2017

“We’re looking to prevent and manage disease by changing what we take into our bodies as food,” Dr. Lynn Wagner, an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic, tells NBC 26’s “Wisconsin Tonight.”


What does it mean to use food as medicine?

Simply put, it’s using food and eating as a source of fuel and energy for your body, not as a crutch or something we do when we are bored. The food-as-medicine notion isn’t a new concept. It’s an idea that has been around for many years. It is, however, experiencing renewed interest as more doctors, like yours truly, are making food a formal part of healthcare and stepping back from a sole reliance on medications. We’re looking to prevent and manage disease by changing what we take into our bodies as food.


What are signs we need to change our diets for the better?

There are six signs your body may show that tell us you should change your diet:

  • Aches and pains: Aches and pains can signal that your body is inflamed. Inflammation can be caused by highly processed foods, foods high in sugar, and foods containing unhealthy fats.
  • Hair loss: Hair loss could be the result of not getting the right vitamins and minerals in your diet.
  • Change in hormones: For women, a poor diet can result in a disrupted monthly cycle. For men, a poor diet can result in estrogen dominance and a lowered sex drive.
  • Body shape changes: An excess collection of fat can be a signal that our body isn’t properly nourished.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or sluggish for no apparent reason could be the result of putting bad foods into your body.
  • Poor moods: Poor eating can lead to poor moods and energy crashes.

We’re largely a prescription and over-the-counter medication society. How do you convince people to quit that and give food a try?

No amount of medication can make up for damage caused by an unhealthy diet. For example, fatigue caused by unhealthy eating can temporarily be fixed with an over-the-counter pill, but you will soon find yourself feeling sluggish again when the effects wear off. By taking steps to improve your diet, you are creating lasting results instead of temporary fixes. You’ll find yourself feeling and looking better because of using food as medicine.


What changes can we expect when we use food as medicine?

You’ll notice several physical changes, such as:

  • A difference in your body shape and how it feels
  • Clearer skin and improvement in overall complexion
  • Increased energy
  • Improved sleep
  • Better concentration and moods

 Aside from the physical changes, you’ll also develop a healthier relationship with food as you start to enjoy foods you may have avoided and stop counting calories.


You have a program designed to help people along this track?

We do! The Food for Fuel program was created to help people develop healthy relationships with food. The program helps to form better eating habits, clean your palate, and give people a sense of what their body needs to thrive. It’s a four-week program that includes recipes, meal plans, worksheets, and videos.


More information

Visit or call 920-327-7056.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.