Food vs. Medicine


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Food vs Medicine

Should diet changes come before prescriptions?

Everything is wrong:

○ 70% of Americans are on prescription drugs
■ 69% Percent of adults are overweight or obese
■ 31% of adults have high blood pressure
■ 33.5% of adults have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol

Everything being wrong is expensive:

■ Costs of obesity-related illness: $190.2 billion/yr
● 21% of annual medical spending in the United States
● Price tag for childhood obesity: $19,000 per kid
● If current trends continue obesity spending will quadruple to $344 billion by 2018
■ Costs of High blood pressure: $47.5 billion/yr
● Reducing sodium intake from 3,400mg to 2,300mg per day may reduce cases of high blood pressure by 11 million and save 18 billion/yr
■ Costs of cholesterol medications: $18.7 billion/yr
● High cholesterol is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and specifically for coronary heart disease (CHD).
● Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S

Healthcare costs are high because pills are expensive:

■ The United States spends far more per capita on medicines than other developed countries
■ Drugs account for 10 percent of the country’s $2.7 trillion annual health bill
● Should simple diet changes comes before prescriptions?
○ A vegetarian diet can reduce blood pressure by about half the drop expected from medication
○ Eating vegetarian is cheaper than buying pills
■ Plus you get the beneficial side effects of:
● Lower cholesterol
● Weight loss

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan to lower blood pressure by up to 10 points:

■ Keep fat intake under 27% of total calories
■ Eat many servings of fruits and vegetables
■ Choose whole instead of processed grains
■ Include low-fat or nonfat dairy products
■ Should you eat meat, choose small portions of poultry or fish as your primary source of protein
■ Make nuts a source of protein

Food vs Medicine