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Thread: Why do doctors tell us to eat stuff that's clearly bad for us? page

  1. #1
    God's Avatar
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    Angry Why do doctors tell us to eat stuff that's clearly bad for us?

    Why is it, that doctors and various other health "experts" tell us to eat stuff that's bad for us? These goons spend 10 years in school learning about how to heal the body and they don't even know what we're supposed to eat? Is anyone else concerned about this?


    I've become really... disillusioned with mainstream medicine. They can't even get a basic thing like diet right, so what kind of authority on health are they? Who are they to be advising us on matters of health?


    Do you guys think it's just plain incompetence? Or maybe something more sinister? Time to put on your tinfoil hats!


    Think about it. Who benefits from us eating high-carb low-fat grain-based diets? Well, let's see. Eating a grain-based diet causes disease and disease is generally treated (remember, only treated, never cured) by pills. Pharmaceutical companies make pills. So that's one multi-billion dollar industry that has motivation to make you suffer.

    That's not all though. Big Agriculture has an even bigger interest in keeping people eating grains, for obvious reasons.


    There's other businesses and organizations that benefit from our demise but I won't go into it here.

    But where's the government in all this? Shouldn't they be protecting us from getting raped by Big Pharma and Big Agriculture? Well, they seem to be in on it. They're telling us to eat grains too. So that indicates they're not working for the people, they're working for big business.



    This whole grain thing has made me realize how deeply corrupted society is, and how full of shit most "experts" are.


    I'm keen to hear other people's thoughts on this.

  2. #2
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    dude. they don't know any better. what they are taught in school is not their fault.

    if there is a lot of money to be made in the "primal" way of living, you'll bet big corporations will explore it. for now, conventional wisdom dominates. and it's not even close.

    but the paleo/primal way is growing rapidly. once enough (big) people jump on board, you'll see primal nutrition courses in universities.

    the world isn't flat afterall!

  3. #3
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    Complex problem, but if you know the truth and your family and friends do as well, why sweat it? You can't change it as money rules and at the moment most of the world can't afford to eat Paleo. Grains & beans are cheap eats, so that is the only way to feed most.

    Doctors are for setting broken bones, no way I'd ask them nutrition related advice.

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    In the pre-industry world the health challenges didn't change much from century to century. Now the rate at which chemicals are approved to enter the environment and food supply is much faster than their effects can be studied so even a sincere doctor would struggle to keep up with his patients' symptoms (see rates of diabetes, autism, specific cancers, etc.) I don't think big Med and big Ag necessarily meet in smoky rooms to gloat but industries clearly know how to influence each other for profit.

    The modern West does seem uniquely bad about ignoring diet. Classical Greece, India, China, and other places were more holistic. The part that upsets me is when a friend says something like "i'll start eating right after I shake this depression/anxiety/lethargy"--they can't see the chicken & egg because daily junk is so normalized.
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    Well, seeing as I am a physician and wrote a post awhile back exactly to answer this, here goes. It's long. Skip it if you prefer for incredibly complex societal ills to be explained in 3 sentences

    Nutrition, Doctors, and the Scapegoat Effect

    In my time on forums and in-person discussions over the years, I have repeatedly heard one derivation or another of the following refrain:

    “Doctors don’t even talk about nutrition and know nothing about it. That is why we listen to other people to get our dieting advice. To add to this, they are full of standard-issue conventional wisdom on nutrition, and are stuck in their ways about counseling it.”


    The above sentiment is both painfully true and amazingly naïve, at the same time….but it reveals one of our biggest tendencies as a culture: picking one or two groups to scapegoat our larger societal problems on, all in order to create useful public villains and divert responsibility away from the actual power brokers in any given area.

    In discussions of crime, it is useful for each side to pin the blame on either the police or a given minority community, depending on your slant. In discussions of economics, it is useful to blame either ruthless corporations or “socialist” business regulation. In politics, the extreme right or left is blamed for every malady the country endures or ever has endured….We do this with nearly everything….and the goal is always the same:

    The goal is to convince each side of the dangers of the other side controlling policy, to generate fear, to depict a boogey man that is out to get them or otherwise not looking out for them in the least.

    The same is true with doctors and nutrition. The truth is always somewhere in the middle, with both sides being correct about certain aspects. In the case of nutritional guidance in regards to doctors, here is the reality:

    What we are up against

    - As in many areas of our society, given groups are pinned with the blame on what are actually HUGE, multi-factorial, societal ills. In any discussion of nutrition, it is a dishonest endeavor if money and lobbying power are not brought into the discussion….in other words, discussing food without discussing money and politics is not a real discussion. As a practicing physician that must give out nutritional advice almost daily, here are the main three monsters I am up against.

    1) Multi-national corporations with huge advertising campaigns, the ability to lobby (read: bribe) Congress for laws beneficial for them financially, and immunity from lawsuit in controlling all ends of production. This includes GMO use, their ability to make heavily processed foods very cheaply due to subsidies, and their ubiquity/monopoly of almost all places where food is bought.
    2) A for-profit insurance system and government-run system that rewards only treatments to disease, not prevention of disease….as a doctor, I get paid for pills, surgeries, or exams that I give you. I do not get paid for you sitting at home eating an apple and never needing a doctor. It was setup this way in the early 70s under Nixon, with his "revolutionary" HMO idea, as a means to entice private ownership of hospitals. (They lost money for the gov, so this was much preferred) The way to make them profitable was to charge for rote services, not a person's entire care.
    3) Decades of research, mostly done in the 70’s and bought into for political reasons, that give very bad advice in regards to nutrition. Seeing as many of these recommendations served BOTH political and profit-driven reasons (Nixon's food prices problem as well as Agri-Business boom by selling this hyper-processed garbage), it was taken up. In the years since, both forces are essentially still at play. Money + political power = unquestioned truthiness.....that is not news

    So, other than that my job is really easy.

    My question when I get into these discussions is always the same: which one of those drivers up there is the fault of the medical community, and which are the fault of society?

    We could live in a country with this in place for each of the problems above….

    1) We COULD create patient pools, done at random, in which a given set of doctors and facilities are charged with the care of. There would be a flat rate paid to each doctor in the performance of preventing these people from poor outcomes….no more getting paid per surgery or per patient seen; incentivize health care, not disease care.
    2) We COULD repeal the massive subsidies given to companies like ConAgra or Monsanto that give monopoly power to them, as well as allow them to make the worst food in the store also be the cheapest. A bag of cheetos is cheaper than a head of lettuce because of the lobbying power behind that bag. That is the ONLY reason, and it is that way because we allow it to be.
    3) We COULD subsidize organic producers and small-time fruit/vegetable producers in the same fashion we do corn and wheat. (Many corn-growers sell at less than cost of production. Tax dollars alone give the processed food poisoners profit, not the market. THAT is socialism.)

    My point, as in almost any big discussion, is that this kind of this does not happen in a vacuum. Everything is connected.

    So in closing, here is my reply to the sentiment I wrote in italics earlier.

    “Doctors are at the end of the spear in combating an epidemic of terrible health in America. For this reason, we are often blamed for a part of it….The reality is that an entire apparatus of government and corporate power serves to maintain our food system the way that it is, and is by far the biggest contributor to our health crisis. To stand against this tidal wave we are armed only with some rudimentary pills to control symptoms, a lot of paid for government-backed information, and a legal system that will spit us out the other end the second we practice in a different way. Those that do, like me, do so at their own peril, daily. Society need not look to us to blame. They need only look in the mirror. They made themselves sick and bought-off, and now they are upset that our profession cannot sufficiently save them from their own undoing.”


    In other words, attacking doctors for the food system and what is recommended by it is like blaming lead producers for gunshot deaths....it is a completely tilted table we work with, and the reasons it is so toxic are the same reasons that much of our society is toxic. To blame this singularity, nutritional advice, on what it in reality a systemic, to the root problem in our country, does not accomplish anything.
    Last edited by TheyCallMeLazarus; 12-23-2013 at 08:27 PM.
    "Man is born free.....but everywhere he is in chains."

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheyCallMeLazarus View Post
    their ubiquity/monopoly of almost all places where food is bought
    I liked the whole post but especially mentioning this. They successfully made fresh food weird and unfamiliar.

    I had a recent heartbreak when a 20-something student said I inspired her to get serious about health and she asked my opinion of the best choice from the lounge vending machine. I examined it closely--over 50 items all based on refined oil/sugar/grain. Every single one. She didn't know where else to go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by picklepete View Post
    I liked the whole post but especially mentioning this. They successfully made fresh food weird and unfamiliar.

    I had a recent heartbreak when a 20-something student said I inspired her to get serious about health and she asked my opinion of the best choice from the lounge vending machine. I examined it closely--over 50 items all based on refined oil/sugar/grain. Every single one. She didn't know where else to go.
    That is scary....but not a coincidence.

    It's my fault though, don't you know? I control what is in those machines......the WORLD IS MINE!!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Ok, sorry.
    "Man is born free.....but everywhere he is in chains."

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    Quote Originally Posted by God View Post
    Do you guys think it's just plain incompetence? Or maybe something more sinister?
    There are longer and better answers above but basically incompetence combined with the fact that they don't have control over anything. Doctors in the West are just slaves to the corporate profit making machine same as employees in every other industry; saying anything outside the party line is going to get them into deep "doo doo".

  9. #9
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    Honestly, if we are talking MDs I don't even consider that their domain. They deal in meds.....hell its right in the title is it not? They treat disease with medicine....right? I like Laz, but I think his answer is coming from the very peculiar perspective of a medical doctor who actually DOES talk to his patients about lifestyle change, so he feels the need to defend the rest of his profession in that regard. I get that. It's kind of a pain to hear people put down your entire profession when you know there are some good ones (including yourself) in the mix. Tough to hold that position though when you also know that you are in the minority. Not saying the system itself isn't against us all in the health field, but if your caving to it then thats on you....be it consumer or health care provide. You still have a choice...perils or not.

    Oh, but I didn't read the OP till just now.....no they don't serve up poor advice on purpose. For the most part any person in any profession is likely there to be of positive service. I wouldn't get all conspiracy theory about it. Its just that some professions tend toward a certain treatment/intervention while others tend towards different ones....usually due to personal history or evaluation of current knowledge (kinda like on this forum).
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 12-23-2013 at 10:31 PM.

  10. #10
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    Some years ago, my weight was high and not surprisingly, my blood pressure was rising. My doctor advised me to lose 27 pounds in the next four months. He never told me how. On the way out, a nurse asked me if I wanted a pamphlet on weight reduction. I declined because losing isn't an issue for me, (maintenance is), and another piece of paper lost in my backpack isn't necessary. But the point is, he never said a word about nutrition or what I should eat.

    I'm not a big defender of doctors or any other professionals for the most point. But in doctors' defence, I've read that a full 30% of patients don't listen to doctors' advice anyway. Additionally, I don't know the ramifications for a doctor if s/he advises in a way that goes against CW. And finally, except for the worst of the worst diet advice, no one really advocates for a lot of highly processed foods.

    I didn't realize 'til I started reading here at MDA how many people were getting so much of their "food" from fast food eateries, popping shrink-wrapped microwave dinners in, and believed that not eating a sweet every day was deprivation.

    Not for anything, but doesn't just a tiny bit of common sense tell a person that the powdered cheese (or foil wrapped yellow goo) in a box of mac and cheese can't be as good for you as a decent well-made cheese? Or that a microwave dinner with an inch and a half of ingredients can't be as good for you as a home-made meal?

    About 40 years ago, I read an underground illustrated booklet that showed the 10 companies that provided over 90% of the food in this country. I'm not sure (but it can be googled) but it's down to maybe six companies now.

    The simple fact of the matter is that if most of us ate like our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents (depending on one's age), we'd be pretty close to Primal without many changes. If we've prioritized our health so low that we can't take the time to make our own meals, and we think that bright colored drinks in plastic are sustenance, and we boo hoo at the lack of dessert one day, is it really fair to blame one group of people for our chronic bad health?
    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

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    Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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