We've been guzzling sugar, refined carbohydrates, and industrial vegetable oils as never before, with devastating consequences for public health. In fact, poor diet now contributes to more disease and death than physical inactivity, smoking, and alcohol combined, according to The Lancet. It's also a tremendous waste of resources: In the U.K., the combined costs of type 2 diabetes and obesity to the National Health Service and economy now exceed £20 billion. Similarly, in the United States, the cost of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in recent years and is now well in excess of $200 billion a year.
The brutal fact is that the increasing burden of chronic disease will not be solved by even more conventional medicine. Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of NHS England, has pointed out that one in seven NHS treatments (including operations) should never have been carried out in the first place. The situation is worse in America, with an estimated one-third of all health care activity bringing no benefit to the patient. A "more medicine is better" culture lies at the heart of this, exacerbated by financial incentives within the system to prescribe more drugs and carry out more procedures.