This is really important. Nutrition education needs to be incorporated into medical schools. A lot of medical students need nutrition because a lot of diseases (especially chronic diseases) are related to nutrition, diet, lifestyle, and exercise. Gout, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, most cancers, and obesity are caused by an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. It is very appalling that medical schools are not including nutrition into their curriculums.
There could be possible reasons for why they do not include nutrition. Medicine focuses a bit more on treating the disease than preventing the disease. For instance, they would focus on hypertension medications instead of diet and exercise. Although a lot of doctors do advise their patients to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise, they were taught more to prescribe high blood pressure medications than help them prevent the disease in the first place. Most doctors would be taught to tackle the disease by “mopping the floor” instead of “turning off the faucet.” Another factor could be the pharmaceutical industry that wants to advertise the drugs and medications they develop. The pharmaceutical industry starts to influence medical students as soon as they start medical school all the way through their residences and when they start their medical practices. They influence the doctors on how they should practice and to use their drugs to treat diseases. Finally, allopathic medicine focuses on treating the symptoms of the disease instead of the root cause of the disease.
Now not all doctors are like this. There are a lot of vegan doctors out there advocating for a whole-foods vegan diet. Here is a list of them:
Michael Greger, author of How Not To Die
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who was featured in Forks Over Knives and is the son of vegan firefighter Rip Esselstyn
Dr. Garth Davis, a vegan bariatric surgeon who also competes in marathons and Ironman triathlons, and is the author of Proteinaholic: How Our Obsession With Meat Is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It
Dr. John McDougall, author of The Starch Solution and founder of the McDougall Program
Dr. Michael Klaper, whom I met at Plant Power Fast Food in San Diego State University as shown in this picture:
Dean Ornish, author of Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, Eat More, Weigh Less, and his other work The Spectrum
Dr. Neal Banard, founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine who is also featured on Forks Over Knives
Dr. Matthew Lederman, who was also featured on Forks Over Knives
Dr. Milton Mills, who is very outspoken about the vegan diet and known for debunking dairy and the low-carb diets. I enjoyed his talks on Plant Based News.
I could list more, but this is a lot of vegan doctors. They still did research on nutrition and lifestyle. Some of them said that medical schools do not teach nutrition education and that medical schools need more of it. Dr. Michael Klaper talked about that while speaking at Plant Power.
But going back to this article, I agree that medical schools need more nutrition education. A lot of diseases are connected to how we eat, exercise, and our lifestyles. We need to think about preventing chronic disease instead of managing it with medications and treatments that have a lot of side effects. The pharmaceutical industry means well, but diet and lifestyle are “faucet we need to turn off” so we do not need to “mop the floor and clean up the mess.” Preventing chronic disease should take higher priority than treating it. For me, this was one of the reasons I decided not to go to medical school and to pursue a Master’s of Public Health in Nutrition instead. I want to “turn off the faucet,” not “mop the floor and clean up the mess.”