Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Many of the diseases that cause a constant drain on health care budgets can be prevented by proper nutrition; so, why aren’t the big payors getting involved? I mean even like a 1 percent decline in excess body fat could alone save tens of billions. You’d think at least the health insurance industry would try to get people to eat healthier to try to pay out less money. Well, one could say the insurance industry actually benefits from high healthcare costs because these rising costs are simply passed on to both individuals and employers in terms of higher premiums, and insurers take a fixed percentage of these premiums as increasing profits. They get a piece of the pie; so, the bigger the pie—the unhealthier everyone is—the bigger their piece. As such, insurers have not done as much as they could to help reduce health care costs because lower costs would hurt their bottom line.

“What if there was a medication that could successfully treat and even reverse heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other chronic conditions without any negative side effects and offered the promise of dramatically reduced health care costs?” Imagine all the advertising there would be to promote it; imagine how much they would charge. A drug that could not just treat but cure diabetes and these other diseases? “Then, what if you were told this medication exists today, is available to everyone in unlimited quantities at a low cost, but the vast majority of the American public has never heard about it.” Do you want a solution to significantly reduce health care costs? The solution is to use food as medical treatment, specifically, foods made from minimally processed plants.

“One of the main barriers is simply the current widespread belief that once someone has a chronic condition, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes, there is very little that can be done to actually reverse the disease, and the best outcome possible is to maintain the condition so that it just doesn’t get any worse. The fact that a whole food plant-based approach provides a safe, effective, low-cost alternative to not just eliminating symptoms but potentially reversing the underlying condition without drugs or surgery is unknown to a vast majority of Americans. In contrast to the pharmaceutical industry that spends large sums to market new drugs,…there are not big profits in promoting a plant-based diet.”

The politics surrounding healthcare is who’s-going-to-pay-for-it, instead of what kind of healthcare is best, and the evidence is overwhelming that a whole food, plant-based diet provides the best opportunity to not only reduce the growth in spending, but actually decrease total health care costs more than any drug, medical procedure, insurance reform, or provider payment model out there.

Thankfully, the word is spreading. A review of the evidence published in Kaiser Permanente’s journal concluded that “[p]hysicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity. Kaiser has followed up with user friendly guides (freely available online) for both physicians and patients, explaining the benefits and practical aspects of implementing a plant-based diet.” So hey, why aren’t all insurers sending out such information to all their members? You know how all the drug ads are, like, “Ask your doctor if this drug is right for you.” Well, members could be prompted to ask their physicians about the ability of a plant-based diet to reduce or eliminate prescription drug use and reverse disease. Though of course, these materials would also have to list all the side effects. Side effects include: “increased energy, lower blood pressure, improved digestion, all while eating unlimited quantities of satisfying food.” Ask your doctor if plants are right for you.

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