The lack of nutritional education for physicians is actually part of a larger problem, which is that medical practice is dramatically out-of-step with today’s needs. Doctors still play Sherlock, which means we wait until we’re sick, we present with symptoms, the doctor tries to diagnose a condition, and then prescribes a treatment. This worked OK when we mostly were concerned with contagious diseases and had just invented antibiotics. But it’s a disastrous approach today when more than 80% of ailments are chronic, not acute.

There’s plenty of research showing that good diet plus regular strenuous exercise play a huge role in preventing chronic ailments, but no doctor is ever educated in these areas and few have the spare time after completing their internship to keep up with the relevant literature. Most doctors get their information when pharma companies detail their latest greatest drug, and that’s it.

We need to move from the current wait-till-they’re-sick approach to a far more proactive preventive approach if we want to reduce the vast unnecessary suffering that’s presently clogging our health care systems around the world. Alas, this would require individuals not only to listen to their doctors but to act on recommendations and there’s precious little sign that the majority of people are willing or able to do so.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.