How to slash nat’l health care costs through education, nutrition, & a ban on junk food
November 4, 2007
Want a real solution to skyrocketing health care costs? Forget about all the so-called “cost saving” schemes dreamed up by politicians, drug companies and HMOs. All they do is create new levels of bureaucracy that don’t address the real problems of why health care costs are so high in the first place. In this article, we’ll look at how to fundamentally cut health care costs by 90% nationwide — while simultaneously enhancing the quality of life for all Americans — through a program of education and disease prevention that starts with changing the way doctors are educated.
I find it absolutely appalling if not downright ridiculous that the people in our country who are responsible for health don’t understand the fundamentals of nutrition. That med schools don’t teach nutrition is I think one of the strongest statements yet about the sad state of conventional medicine. These people need to be taught nutrition.
It was Hippocrates himself who said, “Let thy food be thy medicine.” And in fact, the history of medicine is steeped in the use of plants for health and healing. The very word pharmaceutical means “medicine from plants.” And yet today, conventional medicine has not only ignored plants and nutrition, it has actively sought to discredit it. This is one reason why, in my mind, physicians have little or no credibility whatsoever when talking about health and disease prevention. They are, technically, ignorant. Dr. Andrew Weil, author of Spontaneous Healing and many other books on health and healing, even calls conventional doctors, “nutritionally illiterate.”
Medical schools have no credibility either, because they are basically conduits for teaching the use of drugs, pharmaceuticals, chemotherapy, and surgical procedures to an army of doctors who, in practice, are often little more than glorified drug dealers. So if we are going to adopt nutritional strategies and actually prevent disease in the United States, we’re going to have to start teaching our doctors about foods. This crucial knowledge has been ignored thanks to the dominance of this highly corrupt industry we now call “conventional medicine.”
The next step in slashing the skyrocketing costs of health care is to outlaw foods and food ingredients that promote disease. It makes no sense that food companies should be able to sell products that directly promote obesity and chronic disease. One of the first things we can do in this area is ban the advertising of such foods. There shouldn’t be soft drink ads on television or in magazines. It should be illegal. We should also ban vending machines, especially from public schools and work places when those vending machines offer junk foods that contain ingredients known to promote disease.
We can also tax foods by levying things such as the junk food tax. Although I’m not a big fan of increasing taxes or using taxes for social reform, it is true that taxing junk foods would make them less affordable to most citizens and might cause some people to choose alternative sources of food such as healthy snack foods. In other words, if we made unhealthy snack foods the same price as healthy snack foods by taxing the junk foods, people would have a more balanced choice of what they want to eat.
Another proposal that I especially like is requiring warning labels on foods similar to the warning labels now posted on cigarette packaging. If you buy a pack of cigarettes in the United States, the label warns you that this product causes cancer or other chronic diseases. The same sort of warning labels should be required on foods and soft drinks and other products that contain ingredients known to promote disease. This is the only way the average consumer will be made aware of the correlation between these foods and their long-term health impacts.
If someone picks up a six-pack of soft drinks, they should notice a warning label that says, “Warning: This product promotes obesity and diabetes.” That’s the plain truth about soft drinks. No scientist or doctor in his right mind would argue against such a statement. Of course, the soft drink industry would and so would practically everyone under the influence of the soft drink industry, which includes the USDA and many legislators and regulators in the federal government. So this won’t be an easy task.
Yet another excellent strategy for slashing national health care costs is to allow nutritional supplement manufacturers to tell the truth about what their supplements do for your health. This is something the FDA has disallowed for decades. They have never allowed manufacturers of nutritional supplements to make true statements about what those supplements can do for your health. In fact, the FDA battled vigorously against the DSHEA Act in 1994 that finally allowed nutritional supplement manufacturers to make qualified statements on their products, as long as such statements were followed with the quote, “This statement has not been endorsed by the FDA.”
We should allow supplement manufacturers to tell the truth about what their products do when it is based on available clinical evidence. It shouldn’t be illegal to speak the truth about the relationship between nutrition and chronic disease.
Another thing we should do is halt the persecution of nutritional supplement companies by conventional medicine and the FDA. The FDA continues to attack and even persecute companies that manufacture and promote nutritional supplements.
There are countless examples of this, but one of the most recent is a company called Lane Labs that was selling a product called MGN-3 which contained medicinal mushrooms well known to boost immune system function and treat cancer in humans. The FDA didn’t like this company selling a product that actually worked, so they attacked the company and effectively put it out of business through lawsuits. This is, of course, part of the FDA’s strategy for protecting the profits of the pharmaceutical industry to which the Fraud and Drug Administration answers.
This sort of activity by the FDA should be halted and investigated by the FBI so that nutritional supplement manufacturers can operate in a free environment, without having to watch their back to wonder if the next federally approved “inquisition” is on its way.
We should also overhaul our school lunch programs. Currently, school lunches offer terrible nutrition to students. We feed our students refined white flour, added sugars, dead foods, processed foods, hydrogenated oils, and then we send them back to class and wonder why they can’t learn or pay attention. Instead of giving them good nutrition, we as a nation just dose them up with Ritalin, a powerful narcotic that masks the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. What we need to do is feed our children foods and nutritional supplements that support stable blood sugar, optimum brain function and a positive learning environment. These foods are readily available and our school lunch programs should be serving those foods.
We should also remove cow’s milk from school lunch programs. Cow’s milk is a terrible source of nutrition for anyone who isn’t a cow. While it is outstanding nutrition for baby cows, it is nutritionally freakish when it comes to human nutrition. For some reason, everybody in the country continues to look at cow’s milk as good nutrition. But in fact, in children it promotes chronic sinus problems, stagnation, constipation, hardening of the arteries and even heart disease. It even contributes to infant deaths. This is something that we should stop serving our children as quickly as possible. (The dairy industry would disagree, of course…)
We should also ban junk foods and fast foods at schools and hospitals. I think it’s crazy that some schools have fast food chains right in the cafeteria where children can buy disease-promoting foods for lunch. It is just as crazy that our hospitals, which are supposed to be institutions of health and healing, also serve the same junk foods. There are actually hospitals with McDonald’s restaurants inside the hospital!
Were people out of their minds when they allowed these restaurant chains into our schools and hospitals? Were they willing to give up any sense of ethics in exchange for royalties on the sales of such products? Clearly somebody lost their minds when they allowed these junk food chains to enter our public schools and hospitals. They should be immediately outlawed and yanked out of these institutions of learning and health.
Another thing we should do as a nation is fund public education advertising campaigns that teach parents and the public about good nutrition. We need to have television ads, radio ads, and magazine ads that counter the billions of dollars in advertising promoting soft drinks, snack foods, fast foods, and other junk foods that cause obesity and chronic disease.
One way to battle that is to run public service announcements that counter the hype with the truth about health and nutrition. Of course, doing so will cost taxpayer dollars, but it will also serve as an investment and ultimately will save billions of dollars in long-term healthcare costs. Remember, investing in prevention is a good investment. It’s money well spent at both the personal level and national level.
Moving on down the line here, another fantastic idea for improving the nutrition and health of our nation is to end the subsidies on corn and sugar. There’s no sane reason why corn and sugar need to be subsidized in this country. By subsidizing them, we are only making these food ingredients cheaper. And since ingredients derived from these products (such as high-fructose corn syrup) are precisely those ingredients that promote obesity and chronic disease, we are actually making the consumption of foods that promote disease more affordable to the average citizen.
This is economic insanity. If anything, we should be making unhealthy foods more expensive to create a disincentive to their purchase. We should immediately end the subsidies (corporate welfare) to Big Sugar. We should stop subsidizing the growing of corn. By doing so, we will make healthy foods more attractive to consumers while reducing the consumption of foods made from corn syrup and added sugars.
Another idea for enhancing the nutrition of the nation is to create incentives that reward good nutritional strategies among the public. One idea would be to have insurance rebates for people who attain and maintain certain health milestones. If a person can get under 15% body fat, for example, or get their cholesterol below 130, or maintain a healthy body weight, they should have rebates on their insurance compared to people who choose not to follow healthy lifestyles. This would create a financial incentive for people to pursue healthful dietary and exercise strategies.
And the long-term result is that everyone’s insurance rates would go down, because healthy people cost a lot less in terms of medical expenses. They don’t need as much surgery, they don’t need medical care, and they don’t need vast quantities of expensive prescription drugs that are largely responsible for driving up health insurance costs today.
There are many other fantastic ideas circulating out there. What I’ve presented here are just a few ideas that, if implemented, could save us billions of dollars as a nation. We would have far greater productivity. We would all live longer. We would have a higher quality of life. We would have lower rates of crime due to better balance of mental function — especially among young males who are highly susceptible to behavioral disorders associated with the consumption of refined carbohydrates.
As a nation, we could invest a few pennies in prevention and save hundreds of dollars in medical costs. We could significantly cut the cost of treating our nation’s health disorders. We could slash the number of people who are diagnosed with chronic disease. We could end our dependence on pharmaceuticals and end the drug racket now being hyped by the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA. All that is required is to have the courage to do what is right. And that is to outlaw the sale and marketing of foods that promote disease, to invest in teaching the public the fundamentals of nutrition, to overhaul our medical schools so that doctors are taught the basics of nutrition, and to reform the nutritional strategies pursued by public schools and hospitals.
If we are going to be a healthy, vibrant nation, this is what we’re going to have to do. Should we follow the current path being pursued — the path of chronic disease, obesity, and skyrocketing medical costs associated with the treatment of disease symptoms — we will end up diseased and bankrupt. We will be a nation of poverty and disease rather than the nation of health and wealth we could create if we had the courage to make the right decisions today.
This article is an excerpt from the book, The 7 Laws of Nutrition by Mike Adams.