Most deaths in the United States are preventable, and related to nutrition. According to the most rigorous analysis of risk factors ever published—the Global Burden of Disease Study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—the number one cause of death in the United States, and the number one cause of disability, is our diet, which has bumped tobacco smoking to number two. Smoking now only kills a half million Americans every year, whereas our diet kills hundreds of thousands more.
What we eat is the number one determinant of how long we live. What we eat is what determines most whether we’ll die prematurely. What we eat is what determines most whether we become disabled or not.
So, if our diet is the number one cause of death and disability, if most deaths in the United States are preventable, and related to nutrition, then, obviously, nutrition is the number one thing taught in medical school. Right? Obviously, it’s the number one thing your doctor talks to you about at every visit. Right?
Unfortunately, doctors suffer from a severe nutrition deficiency—in education. Most doctors are just never taught about the impact healthy nutrition can have on the course of illness, and so they graduate without this powerful tool in their medical toolbox.
Now, there are also institutional barriers—such as time constraints, and lack of reimbursement. In general, doctors aren’t paid for counseling people on how to take better care of themselves. Of course, the drug companies also play a role in influencing medical education and practice. Ask your doctor when’s the last time they were taken out to dinner by Big Broccoli—it’s probably been a while.