It's late. You're tired, but your car needs gas. So you pull up to the station and sleepily pump a tank full. Except you accidentally put premium into your regular tank. Now your engine is knocking and the car is slowly destroying itself.
"Dying to Have Known" is a documentary about the Gerson Method, a diet centered around plant-based foods that reportedly cures most degenerative diseases, such as cancer or multiple sclerosis. The reasoning behind it is much like the example above about the car. Humans are putting the wrong gasoline in their tanks. We're filling up with diesel when we only need regular.
The statistics presented are absolutely disturbing. Cancer rates have exploded. Men in the US have a 45% chance of developing cancer in their life with women trailing at 38%. That's 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women who will develop cancer. 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women will die of their cancer.
The accepted method for treating cancer is chemotherapy. Chemotheraphy is like washing your hands with sulfuric acid. The idea is that radiation will kill the cancerous cells. But radiation doesn't specifically target cancerous cells, it targets every cell. Hair loss, weight loss, and a diminished immune system are just the average side effects to this treatment-- similar to the side effects of poisoning. The Gerson Method suggests that diet and elimination can cure cancer without poisoning the body. The idea is that a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients will boost the immune system enough to fight off any disease.
It makes sense. Eat organic foods that nature created for us, have a body functioning as nature intended. Eat a fatty, preservative-rich diet of processed foods that don't occur in nature, get sick. Bring obesity and diseases like diabetes into the mix, and the point of nutrition affecting health could not be more obvious. So why do doctors recommend pills over food? Simple, they don't know about nutrition.
It's not the doctor's fault. The National Academy of Sciences recommends 25 hours of nutrition education as a requirement to receive a medical degree. To put that in perspective, I have spent more than 25 hours researching nutrition to write my blog posts from the past month. Unfortunately, the National Academy of Sciences cannot force universities to change their curriculum, so some schools make nutrition courses optional.
That partially explains why the skeptical doctors in "Dying to Have Known" refused to believe the successes of the Gerson Method. If something contradicts everything you've ever been told, then of course you'll assume said non-sequitor is a quack. Doctors study medicine, they study ailments and the medications that fix them. They study what to do when things go wrong, not how to keep things going right.
Nutrition education is limited at best and completely absent from most curricula. There is a shocking gap in our national intelligence that needs to be filled lest our hearts and bodies reap the unfortunate fruits of ignorance. "Dying to Have Known" is an excellent medium of primary sources of the effect of nutrition on our health.
Source: American Cancer Society, NY Times