Dr Suzie Edge on 21st century nutrition and health

We treat the NHS the way we treat Type II Diabetes. Really badly.

We treat the NHS the way we treat Type II Diabetes. Really badly.

We treat the NHS the way we treat Type II Diabetes and our priorities are all wrong.

With T2DM, a condition brought on by years of sugar and carbohydrate loading, we continue to shovel in more refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars. We hope it will be OK, we tell people it is a progressive disease and we just cover it with fancy expensive drugs and then insulin once it gets bad enough. Where there are real concerns we just cover them with a band-aid. When it becomes too much for the sticky plasters to handle, we have to cut off the limbs that are beyond saving.

This is a strategy that is not working.

As for the NHS, creaking as it is at the seams, we continue to pour in an increasingly unhealthy population with chronic western lifestyle diseases that are entirely preventable and in some cases reversible. We think that the solution to this problem is treatment with more money. More money for drugs and technology and nurses and doctors and beds. When there’s no longer enough money to cope, we cut off the departments, selling what we can to private companies.

This too, is a strategy that is not working.

The solution to both of  these crises is to stop cramming in the things that caused the problems in the first place and guess what? They are the same things.

T2DM can be prevented or reversed by putting a stop to the onslaught of dietary carbohydrates and the subsequent hyperinsulinaemia and insulin resistance. Many of the western lifestyle associated diseases can be thought of in the same way. Decent, researched lifestyle advice, uninfluenced by the food and drug industry’s lobbying, needs to be put in place to bring a halt to the onslaught of an increasingly sick population’s need for more NHS care.

Prevention of T2DM, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, gout, osteoarthritis, some aspects of mental illnesses, maybe even Alzheimer’s and some cancers is all possible with nutrition and lifestyle interventions. That is what will solve so many problems for the NHS, not the fancy new drugs and technologies that cost us millions and make only a handful of people their fortunes.

We need to start prioritising prevention or we will reach a point where there are no longer any limbs left to cut off and the inevitable will happen.


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