This past Thursday, August 28th, I did a presentation in Portland, Oregon. Thanks to everyone who showed up!Here is the Powerpoint I promised to upload.Appropriate Lab Testing
Preventive health care has gotten a lot of wind from the people running for President of the United States. Hillary Clinton says, “focus on prevention: wellness not sickness.” Mike Huckabee said that focusing on prevention “would save countless live, pain and suffereing by victims of chronic conditions, and billions of dollars.” Obama added that “too little is spent on prevention and public health.” But what is preventive health care.
According to the pharmaceutical industry, it would be statin drugs to prevent heart disease, except, it really doesn’t do that but they won’t admit to that. Screening tests, like blood and urine are deemed too costly because they are used willy nilly and expenisve procedures like MRIs and PET scans are way overused. In a recent (February 14th) issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the Prospective omitted one type of prevention, nutrition.
Making our food supply real again would cut back on disease and would improve the quality of life more than anything out there. Eating real foods, not processed junk, would stem the tide of obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and cancer yet they talk about everything else instead of the cause of high medical costs. Stop subsidizing big agriculture and helping them make things that have no business being called food is one way. Another, is to help educate Americans about what real food is.
Unfortunately, the government is not where this is going to happen. It will only happen when each and everyone of us makes a conscious choice at the supermarket to buy real food and avoid junk. The dollar speaks mightier than the legislative pen. Buy organic, buy local, buy real.
Coming out soon is a book that Gary Taubes, a New York City journalist has written called The Diet Delusion by Vermilion. In it he writes that obesity is not simply eating too many calories but the abnormal effect on ones hormones. Taube wrote in the recent New Scientist magazine (January 19-25th, 2008) that “There is considerable evidence that the obesity epidemic is caused by a hormonal phenomenon, specifically by the consumption of refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars, all of which prompt (sooner or later) excessive insulin secretion.”
Furthermore, he skewers many in the diet industry by saying “Obesity researchers, nutritionists and health authorities have refused to contemplate this scenario, partly because it would imply that diet-book doctors advocating carbohydrate-restricted diets – Robert Atkins et al – were right all along. Instead, these alleged experts and guardians of our health have wasted a good part of a century on research based on a high-school misconception, watching their compatriots grow ever fatter while blaming everyone but themselves. In the process, they have created a field of clinical medicine that functions more like a religion than a science. It is time to put science back in charge.”
I agree with him that hormones are at the root of obesity but I want to add something he hasn’t looked at (or at least I don’t think he has which is the effect of environmental toxins on hormones and obesity. To me, it is the very cornerstone of why the world is getting fat. Toxins like phthalates, bisphenol A, benzene, toluene, and xylene, all have been shown to have an effect on hormones. Heavy metals which can also interfere with hormones as well so just putting the blame on bad carbohydrates, is only part of the story. I highly suggest reading the article in the New Scientist and getting a subscription while you’re at it.
The burger chain Hardee’s which has a history of producing artery clogging garbage has now introduced a breakfast burrito that not only has 920 calories but 60 grams of fat. Their Monster Thickburger is 1420 calories and even their chicken salad has 1,100 calories and an astonishing 83 grams of fat. Talk about heart attacks on a plate!
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based advocate for nutrition and health, has called the Hardee’s line of Thickburgers “food porn.” I heartily agree.
This is a company with no conscience, no care for their stakeholders and no respect for the people they serve. It’s all about money with no corporate responsibility at all. Legislation is needed to make companies like Hardee’s pay a health tax to help pay for their health damaging garbage. Just like smoking and alcohol, meals like this should be taxed and taxed heavily. Their marketing Brad Haley, has no shame and makes no apologies for pushing these meals. Shame on Hardee’s.
We continue to hear politicians running for President yap about health care reform and how our system is broken and doesn’t help millions of Americans which, on the surface is true, but they refuse to acknowledge another real dillema and that is the need for tens of millions of Americans to reform themselves first. The explosion of type II diabetes in our country is not due to the high cost of medical insurance, it is due to us eating too much fast food, drinking too much soda and thinking that exercise is the use of a remote control and standing up to go to the fridge to get a beer.
We can easily blame the food industry who sells us items they call food but we make our own decisions and many of them are obviously wrong. As I walk through Costco or Wall-Mart and look at the shopping carts of people who are so obese that they waddle, I notice very little in real food. Mostly I see chips, sodas, frozen pre-made meals, and all other sorts of junk with little in the way of fresh or healthy foods. These are the same people who we have to pay for when their open heart surgeries are done, when they line up at the pharmacy to fill their 5 or 6 prescriptions that cover up their decades of unhealthy living.
You want to eat junk, pay higher premiums. You want health care, act like it means something. When it comes to adults, we need to force people to accept responsibility for their actions. For children, we need to give them universal health care and health education. If their parents won’t change, teach the children to. If we don’t, our society will eat itself out of existance. What the terrorists outside our country want to do to us, we are already well on our way to doing to ourselves.
Seemingly coming from the University of the Obvious, a series of papers are hitting the journals this week further indicting soda drinking with the growing problem of obesity in children. Of course, if you want to believe in the industry’s side of the story, nothing of the sort is happening. Guess there are people willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder despite hurting people with their stances.
CNN’s website has an excellent article which explains the issue clearly and spotlights those with opposing viewpoints (all industry shills of course). The evidence though is so clear and striking that trying to deny the link between the increase of soda intake and obesity is to deny that your nose is used to breathe.
The estimates of the cost to society of the growing epidemic of obesity are staggering. Increases in type II diabetes even in children is growing quickly, something directly related to the increase in soda intake. Not only should every can of soda have a warning label on it, every school in the United States should ban it on campus. I would venture to guess that test scores would even improve more than adding additional teachers would.
How long will the soda industry keep claiming all is well with their products? Probably as long as big tobacco did with smoking.