Monday, November 6, 2017

Challenging the Concept of White Coat Authority

Changing Our Approach to Health

We have all been raised to believe that doctors rule. Because of the education they receive, their knowledge trumps everything else. They have all the answers, and their recommendations should be followed completely. The medical profession has dominated all other considerations for centuries, functioning as the ultimate authority where health issues are concerned. The doctor says to take these pills, and we do it because they know more than we do, right? We've all been raised in a culture that considers doctors to have the final say, and to question, let alone contradict their advice just isn't done.

Because of the emphasis in our society on education, we will automatically defer to anyone who has put in time in an institution of higher learning, and, often, justifiably so. And clearly, the basic training all doctors receive takes years, and does indeed make them more of an authority than anyone who hasn't had the training. Thank God for the men and women who have chosen to put in the hours and hours of classroom time learning what it takes to get that degree.

Doctor image is free clipart from Openclipart.


Trials and Statistics

Now here's the giant “BUT...” One of the problems with being dependent on the medical system and any doctor is that, first of all, medical training involves little or no training in nutrition which is now being shown to be a major factor, if not THE major factor in chronic disease. They are trained to diagnose symptoms and treat those symptoms with drugs. And this segues neatly into the point of this post.

The medical industry's whole approach to your treatment hinges on the accuracy of test results, statistics, and understanding how to read studies. Every medication decision your doctor makes is ultimately based on the results of trials and tests conducted back somewhere sometime, and on how those test results have been deciphered and presented in medical publications. How many people want to wade through this kind of literature, find the pertinent studies that actually got published and would be able to come up with an informed decision based on that information? Not many. This is why we depend on doctors- they're supposed to know these things.

But the system is terribly, terribly flawed with skewed results, unpublished data, cherry-picked data, etc., so that often your doctor can't possibly have the information he/she needs to make a truly informed decision on medications for specific conditions. Granted, there are tried and true treatments that are known to work for many, but in so very many cases, and particularly with the new, under-patent drugs that are VERY expensive and actively pushed by drug reps and television ads, real evidence of their efficacy is skewed at best. And, appallingly enough, the skewing of medical trial results is well known, well documented and generally accepted. Money is the bottom line, not your health.

Your medical treatment at a doctor's office is all wrapped up in clinical trials and how the results of those trials are interpreted and published. Statistics leave me cold; I don't want to have to deal with interpreting statistical data, and drug companies absolutely count on that. So we are at the mercy of those companies that present the test results that come out they way they want, not the ones that don't. And of course most studies are paid for by the companies that make the drug being tested. So no surprise there when results get skewed- even when results aren't quite what they want, it's easy to play with the numbers to make it look good to your average Joe. Most doctors don't have the time to research all this out even though they probably know they should. They just accept drug company information and go with it.

And sadly, many, many doctors take kickbacks for prescribing their drugs and devices. Payments to doctors are now required by law to be reported, and ProPublica has published all this data on their website Dollars for Docs, accessible to anyone for free.  Millions are paid out every year. Seriously, how can you trust your health to a system this horribly flawed, prejudiced and corrupt?

Graph is free image from Openclipart.

Want to know if your doctor takes kickbacks?


Want to know how much money Big Pharma paid out to politicians?
OpenSecrets.org Center for Responsive Politics


“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor”  Marcia Angell


"Evidence based medicine is completely worthless if the evidence base is false or corrupted."



No More Intimidation
Knowledge Is Power

Our best defense is education. And current research is pointing more and more toward very basic lifestyle changes that give you control over your health. The optimum scenario would be to stay healthy and never need medications in the first place, right? This is looking more and more like a real possibility as research is proving how our carb-heavy, processed food diet is triggering all manner of chronic disease. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's, all at epidemic levels, have all been connected to diets heavy on sugar and other grain-based carbs. 

Heredity? That kicks in when you abuse your body with processed "food" for years. Just because heart disease runs in your family, that doesn't mean you are doomed to follow in that path. Changing your lifestyle can greatly reduce your risk. But if you continue to feed on processed, grain-based junk, your body will pay the price one way or another and your heredity dictates which way it's apt to go. But there's also the possibility that you have inherited your mother's recipe box, not so much a genetic tendency. We tend to eat like our parents ate. Change your diet and your exercise habits, and you can change your health. It's your choice. Real food gives your body a fighting chance.

Doctors act on the information they have, and their information comes almost exclusively from drug companies looking to make more money, whether it's from the drug reps that troll the offices every day, medical conferences that they sponsor, or medical journals that are often bought and paid for by those companies. And even if they do take the time to research the clinical trials, chances are those results have been doctored, pun intended. Our undying trust in the medical profession is misplaced at best. You don't have to feel intimidated in the doctor's office ever again. They work for you because you are paying them, and you have the power to fire them and find another if they refuse to work with you.

We all need to take responsibility for our own health, and that means looking into our health issues for ourselves. But primarily it means taking charge of our own health by making the lifestyle changes that will promote health and not undermine it. Doctors are not the final authority.

Knowledge Is Power is free image from Wikimedia Commons.




Found at Doctors Shove Your Google Mugs You Know Where. Check out this blog post by Beaux Reliosis; it's great.

Stupid Mug


Yes, Beaux, I have found answers via Google that I couldn't get in a doctor's office.





We Need



Pinterest Boards

I am collecting useful websites that can help you in your journey to taking control of your own health. See my pinterest boards here:

Healthcare Watchdog Groups
Functional/Integrative Medicine
Nutrition, Prevention and Staying Healthy
Great Books- Health


Recommended Reading

Undoctored: Why Healthcare Has Failed You, And How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor by William Davis, author of Wheat Belly.  Absolutely at the top of my list, this is a book that exposes the "healthcare" industry for what it is with strategies to become "undoctored". According to Davis, the revolution has, indeed begun!






The Truth About the Drug Companies by Marcia Angell. One serious expose by a former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, exposing the profit-driven motives of drug companies in general.











Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients by Ben Goldacre.  The author exposes the profound flaws in our medical system.










Selling Sickness by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels- This book looks at pharmaceutical company motives- how they want EVERYONE on their products by turning minor problems into "disease" that needs to be treated with drugs.






Are Your Prescriptions Killing You? by Armon Neel. Full of valuable information about the over-prescribing of medications, especially to seniors who are particularly vulnerable to side effects. He devotes an entire chapter to the dangers of statins.






How Statin Drugs Really Lower Cholesterol and Kill You One Cell at a Time by James B. and Hannah Yoseph. This one explains all the deception involved for decades in getting this stuff approved in the first place, and then promoted as an absolute necessity for a huge percentage of the population. The Yosephs go into great detail on the nature of this stuff (a toxin), how it affects you at the cellular level, and all the gory details on the politics behind it all.





The Alzheimer's Antidote by Amy Berger- An excellent book with all the latest research documenting the dangers of the long-standing low-fat diet, and the benefits of the opposite- a low-carb, high-fat diet. Alzheimer's is being proven to be insulin resistance of the brain, and with that discovery, it's now known that diet changes can have a dramatic impact on brain health. Bottom line- Alzheimer's is being proven to be essentially insulin resistance of the brain.






Blog Posts

A Healthcare Revolution-  Science and research are making advances in diet and health, but the medical institution isn't. We need a revolution.

Alzheimer's, Dementia and Statins- Statins are dangerous drugs that cause memory loss and muscle damage.

Cholesterol- Mother of All Scams- The whole cholesterol scare has been based on faulty research and has been exploited by pharmaceutical companies to keep an otherwise healthy population on their drugs.

The Science of Weight Loss- Find out why the standard advice won't work and what will.

Breakfast Cereal Diets- Really??- Why eating cereal can't possibly help you lose weight for the long term.

Restless Leg Syndrome- Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms- My experience with RLS and what has helped me.

Sugar- The Real Villain- This was my first blog post on this subject; some information is repetitive, but there are other points made, as well as links and a list of sugar substitutes.

They Told Me He's a Quack- Several people I have found out about that have gone against the tide of public opinion and "expert" advice and have given thousands of people help and hope.

Water for Health- Why we need water to stay healthy.

Why You Can't Trust the Medical Industry- The entire medical industry has been corrupted by greed.  It pays to be skeptical.

Hormone Balance and Estrogen Dominance- Regularly prescribed HRT has serious side effects; there is an alternative.

Arthritis and Osteoporosis: They CAN Be Reversed- Two conditions that can be reversed naturally as proven by doctors who have treated their patients with natural supplements.

Phonics and Dyslexia- Information that can help dyslexic adults as well as children, and a post about the phonics-whole language wars and why phonics wins every time hands-down.

Quill pen is free image from Wikimedia Commons.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Healthcare Revolution

A Shot of Reality

The fact that the healthcare system is broken is not exactly news. Everyone knows that medical expenses are out of hand and things cannot go on the way they have been. We need a revolution.  (This is my revolution fist.)

I believe there are two major issues to deal with- the first is the profit-driven system that treats symptoms rather than going after the cause of the problem; the second being the cause of the problem which can be traced back to long-standing faulty official dietary advice.

As things are now, a medical diagnosis and your treatment are dictated by a system that exists to separate you from your money. The entire system- from the FDA, to the medical journals that publish studies, to the drug companies that more often than not fund those studies, to your doctor's office- are all corrupted by the underlying motive- profit. Drug companies fund the studies to assure that the results they want are made public, generally by misrepresenting statistics, something your average Joe is not going to understand. And those drug companies troll local doctor offices every day with free samples and promises of healthy kickbacks. Let there be absolutely no misunderstanding:
Drug companies rule the roost, and they exist for profit only. They do NOT have your health as their primary motivation. Indeed, they don't target drugs that fix anything; they target drugs that you'll take until you are 6 feet under.
But to take it back a step, and in defense of most doctors, the training they receive is based on the “treat the symptom with drugs” model. It's all they know. And so-called continuing education is paid for by drug companies hawking their latest miracle drug, some concoction they hope will be the next blockbuster.

Nutrition training is practically non-existent in standard medical educational programs. So they do all they know to do- whip out the prescription pad. And when doctors go against standard medical advice and attempt to promote non-drug approaches, they are met with serious opposition, so pressure to conform is high. And to add to the mix, there seems to be no end to the supply of doctors who think they know it all. I've read many accounts of people who have been met with downright hostility when the doctor's recommendations are questioned.

Kickbacks- Does Your Doctor Take Payments?
If you want to find out if your doctor takes kickbacks and if so, how much and for what, just go to Dollars for Docs and put a name in the search field. Once you find your doctor, everything in the list that comes up is clickable. Law requires payments to be reported, and this site tells all. Unfortunately this is a practice that is all too common.

Raised Fist is free image from clker.



How We Got Here
The Short Version

So there the poor patient is, sucked into a system that knows nothing but to throw drugs riddled with side effects at symptoms leaving little or no hope of actually getting to the cause of the problem. And the cause of so very many chronic disease problems is now being shown to originate in lifestyle issues- diet and exercise. But it is misplaced blame to point a finger at the patient, because most of us have only been doing what we've been told to do for decades. So a nutshell history of how we got here will help to paint the big picture.

The “fat is evil” dogma was established back in the 1960's and into the 1970's as a result of bad research. Findings were skewed to demonstrate the desired results- cholesterol causes heart disease and dietary fat raises cholesterol. The government hopped onto the bandwagon with dietary guidelines and subsidies for grain farmers, the processed food industry conformed by cranking out low-fat "foods" with increased sugar content, and it's been a slippery slope ever since. The press got into the act- specifically Time Magazine- with its plate of 2 fried eggs and frowny bacon face in 1984, and the cholesterol/heart paradigm became thoroughly entrenched. We had the government via the USDA, various foundations like the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, the educational system (the Food Pyramid and My Plate), the processed food industry, and of course the entire medical system led by pharmaceutical companies marching in lockstep to see to it that we all conform to the low-fat, high carb diet that was supposed to improve our health and prevent heart disease.

50 years later, it's appallingly obvious it hasn't worked.  Just walk into any grocery store and look at the "food" offerings. There are multiple aisles loaded with grain-based, boxed, bagged products, entire aisles of nothing but sugar-based junk- candy and carbonated drinks, all sold as "food".  Our stores are awash in junk masquerading as food. Obesity is epidemic with its accompanying insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke; and now Alzheimer's is being connected as well. All of this is now being shown to be preventable and in many cases reversible by lifestyle changes, NOT medications. Something Big Pharma fights vigorously.

Research is now proving that the low-fat high-carb diet is the problem, not the fix. Thousands of people are proving that weight loss occurs when processed food carbs are limited or entirely eliminated. A certain amount of good fats provides the satiety- the sense of “full”- that you need to stop eating constantly. Carbs are addictive, they put you on the insulin spike roller coaster, and leave you feeling empty just a few hours later. And because insulin is what moves fat into fat cells, carbs are fat makers. It seems contradictory, but dietary fat does not make you fat, carbs do (though you CAN go overboard and defeat the purpose by eating too much fat.) There is a big trend now that is moving people into the higher-fat low-carb type diet simply because it works. Books, websites and blogs abound with information. And now wheat is specifically being targeted as a major source of inflammation and disease. (Think gluten.)

We are learning more and more all the time about how the body responds to food, changing our thinking about diet and health. Nothing stays the same; knowledge is indeed power. We need to change with the times, even though most doctors may not.

Beer Drinker is free image from 1001 Free Downloads.



What's With Wheat?
Official Trailer at Youtube






Your Health: A Reflection 
of What You Have Been Eating

There are 2 truths that rule: 

1. Everything you put in your body will affect it for good or bad; and 

2. Everything your body does is for a reason, a response to what you've put in there.

We have assaulted our bodies for years and years with processed, sugar-laden, grain-based products that have slowly taken their toll on our health. The cumulative damage is immense.

When processed foods are replaced with real food, many health issues begin to resolve. There are personal stories all over the internet that confirm the efficacy of diet change coupled with a decent exercise program. To put it bluntly, our health is slowly being chipped away by the processed food industry and the drug industry that produces the concoctions that are prescribed to treat the resulting health problems from eating the officially sanctioned diet pushed on us for decades. The giant low-fat, high-carb diet experiment of 50 years has proven to be a giant failure and we have paid the price in spades. The junk we've called food has given us sickness. It's time to look at the actual causes and initiate change where it counts.

Retrolady is free clipart from Open Clip Art.


A Big Paradigm Shift
The Challenges

This kind of complete shift in thinking will more than likely take place mostly at the grassroots level, with people making their own decisions to change. But one of the biggest problems is the simple fact that giving someone general advice to “lose weight and exercise more” is pretty much useless. We are surrounded with bad food and a society that has been trained to think according to the old paradigm. People need specific direction, specific help, and support to make the changes they need to make to regain control of their health. Many people have done this on their own, but I imagine they are the exception rather than the rule.

But the big challenge is big money- Big Pharma, Big Food, more often than not the media, and of course the government. There will be vilification a-plenty as more and more people begin to see the truth and promote nutrition-based options. I imagine there were plenty of people who were dragged kicking and screaming into the industrial revolution as change swept through at the turn of the century. People resist change, but because industry profits will now be threatened, it will get nasty.

Already we are seeing a backlash from the American Heart Association that issued a report that challenges the change in thinking*. Still clinging to the old, faulty dogma (saturated fats are evil and cholesterol causes heart disease), they are trying to stop the tide from turning. No wonder- the AHA gets funds from the pharmaceutical industry** that shamelessly pushes statins on an unsuspecting public. There you go.

The next challenge is simply overcoming the fat phobia and cholesterol phobia that has been so completely ingrained into our thinking. This one's not going to die any time soon particularly since we now have a couple generations of people who have never known anything else. Between the money interests and the complete acceptance of the cholesterol/heart theory along with the vilification of dietary fat, it's an uphill battle.

Another difficult challenge is a pervasive attitude in the general public that  medical science is the ultimate authority. The older generation in particular is ingrained with the idea that all things good come from the chemical lab ("Better Living Through Science"- anyone remember that one?). This mindset expects the authority of the white coat to come through for whatever ails them, and their knowledge is never questioned and often worshiped. The idea of questioning "white coat authority" is unthinkable. But so many doctors don't keep up with anything but what the drug companies feed them.

Science is constantly changing as more and more understanding comes about how our bodies work. Research is changing how we think about food, but the big money interests don't want that change coming. We as a society are fat and sick and the "powers that be" want it that way- there is too much money at stake.
Never forget- drug companies and processed food companies don't care about your health. They only want your money.
-------------
Want to know if your congress-people take money from pharmaceutical companies and how much?


Blog post by Jason Fung

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor”  -Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine

"Evidence based medicine is completely worthless if the evidence base is false or corrupted."

US Currency is free photo from Wikimedia Commons.
*https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/16/coconut-oil-isnt-healthy-its-never-been-healthy/402719001/
**http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martha-rosenberg/health-news_b_4398304.html



Taking Charge

Our health and the health of our economy hinges on our determination to turn things around in our own lives. We desperately need to take charge of our own health, stop having blind faith in the medical industry, and make the changes in lifestyle that will make a huge difference.

There are now numerous health care groups across the country that approach medicine from a lifestyle perspective. They go by several names- integrative medicine, lifestyle medicine, functional medicine, and others. Thinking is changing in a big way already. Even out here where I live, I found a medical office that practices integrative medicine, and I am not near any major cities. These clinics and offices look at your lifestyle first and recommend changes there, then only if necessary will they prescribe drugs.

But as I mentioned earlier, one of the pitfalls is the fact that just telling someone they need to change their habits is more than likely not going to help them any. Changing what you eat and initiating an exercise program requires constant support, mostly because our lifestyles have been ingrained for decades and we are surrounded with the stuff that makes us sick. Some people are motivated enough on their own, but I imagine most aren't.

The optimum scenario would be a facility that includes not only the doctor offices, but the support people as well, such as gyms, dietitians, lifestyle medicine groups, classes, etc. There is now a position called Life Coach or Wellness Coach with certification available, a job that helps people achieve their health goals. Another aspect of all this could be education that trains people to shop and learn to avoid the pitfalls in the grocery store (aka the center aisles loaded with processed grain- and sugar-based garbage.) We need more and more facilities that provide these kinds of services, and ideally, under one roof. Remember, we are surrounded by the trappings of a lifestyle that encourages sickness. Breaking out of that mold takes guts, time and a lot of support.

Here's a doctor that is serious about getting her patients the support they need by providing cooking classes. I like this idea:


A To-Do List

There are several things we can all do. First, we need to start eating to live. We've lived to eat for too long, and it's costing us dearly. Real food will bring real health. Ditch the processed messes we've called food, and eat the real thing. There are websites all over the internet with help; you can get started with dietdoctor.com. And you certainly don't have to spend money on any diet programs or worse yet, diet pills. Just eat unprocessed, whole food, the real thing. Your body will thank you!

Then second, we can make a break from traditional medicine by finding the medical groups that approach healthcare from a lifestyle perspective. And maybe you can even find wellness coaches in your area. I just googled "integrative medicine" and my town name, and the office came right up, though it took 3 months to get in. They are one busy bunch. They look at your lifestyle and your health complaints, then make their recommendations of changes, supplements, and then drugs as a last resort. Even if you're on a whole bag full of meds now, functional or integrative medicine will help you change things so you can come off some of that under their supervision. Isn't that a good thing?!

Third, join a gym and get moving.

Let's do our part to bring in a healthcare revolution!

Helping Hand is free image from Pixabay.







People Worth Checking Out

Zoe Harcombe PhD- researcher, author, blogger and advocate of LCHF (low carb high fat)

Tuit Nutrition by Amy Berger, nutritionist and blogger. "A source of sanity in the sea of nutritional madness".

Nina Teicholz- author of The Big Fat Surprise has her blog here, The Science and Politics of Nutrition.

Gary Taubes- author of Why We Get Fat, Good Calories, Bad Calories and The Case Against Sugar - website and blog.

David Perlmutter- author of Grain Brain- website and blog

William Davis- author of Wheat Belly and Undoctored- website and blog

IDM (Intensive Dietary Management)- Jason Fung's blog. A little geeky for me, but loaded with information.

Pinterest Boards

I am collecting useful websites that can help you in your journey to taking control of your own health. See them here:

Healthcare Watchdog/Collaboration Groups
Functional/Integrative Medicine
Nutrition, Prevention and Staying Healthy
Great Books- Health



Recommended Reading

These are a few of the books I have purchased for myself over the past few years that I have found are absolutely invaluable. There are many, many other books along these lines well worth reading that come up underneath the write-ups for any of these at amazon.com. Most of these authors have their own blogs/websites as well.


The Alzheimer's Antidote by Amy Berger MS, CNS, NTP- This one is at the top of my list. Amy has done an absolutely bang-up job of presenting the most up-to-date information available that demonstrates the dangers of the low-fat, high-carb diet, and conversely, the huge benefits of the reverse- a high-fat, low-carb diet with Alzheimer's in mind. This book is a very comprehensive work that covers the fallout from eating the way we've been told to eat for decades and how to change all that.




Fat Chance by Robert Lustig MD- One of the best books around that brings you up-to-date on the link between sugar and processed foods, and obesity and related diseases. Other books by Lustig include The Fat Chance Cookbook and his newest, The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains. He also has a very popular video on YouTube called Sugar- the Bitter Truth. He has quite a few videos there.




Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes- In this book, Taubes explores the outdated dietary advice of decades along with the traditional advice on weight loss, and why it doesn't work. Other books by Taubes well worth reading are Good Calories Bad Calories and his most recent, The Case Against Sugar.







The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz. The case for getting fat back into our diet is very well made with plenty of scientific back-up.



Grain Brain by David Perlmutter MD- This book looks at sugar and carbs with wheat as a particular target, and how they destroy your brain. Another book by Perlmutter is Brain Maker, a book that takes science yet another step and looks at the influence of gut bacteria (microbiome) on brain health.







Undoctored by William Davis, author of Wheat Belly.  Now here's a book well worth the price. He covers why we need to get "undoctored" and how.










Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger. An exceptionally well documented expose on the politics and special interests that formulate our official dietary advice that's been killing us.









The Truth About the Drug Companies by Marcia Angell. One serious expose by a former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, exposing the profit-driven motives of drug companies in general.








Selling Sickness by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels- This book looks at pharmaceutical company motives- how they want EVERYONE on their products by turning minor problems into "disease" that needs to be treated with drugs.








Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss- A great book on just how the food processing industry manipulates their products to keep you coming back for more.









Are Your Prescriptions Killing You by Armon B. Neel, Jr.  Written by a pharmacist, this book explores the common practice of "polypharmacy", the prescription cascade of drugs, especially in elderly patients. He looks at the typical overmedication of patients and drug interactions that usually just make matters worse. This book is loaded with real-life case studies of people who have been helped by consultant pharmacists who look for that prescription cascade and get it stopped.







Blog Posts

Alzheimer's, Dementia and Statins- Statins are dangerous drugs that cause memory loss and muscle damage.

Cholesterol- Mother of All Scams- The whole cholesterol scare has been based on faulty research and has been exploited by pharmaceutical companies to keep an otherwise healthy population on their drugs.

Challenging the Concept of White Coat Authority- Your medical treatment is based on a system fraught with bias and flaws. Assuming your doctor knows what he's doing may not be smart.

The Science of Weight Loss- Find out why the standard advice won't work and what will.

Breakfast Cereal Diets- Really??- Why eating cereal can't possibly help you lose weight for the long term.

Restless Leg Syndrome- Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms- My experience with RLS and what has helped me.

Sugar- The Real Villain- This was my first blog post on this subject; some information is repetitive, but there are other points made, as well as links and a list of sugar substitutes.

They Told Me He's a Quack- Several people I have found out about that have gone against the tide of public opinion and "expert" advice and have given thousands of people help and hope.

Water for Health- Why we need water to stay healthy.

Why You Can't Trust the Medical Industry- The entire medical industry has been corrupted by greed.  It pays to be skeptical.

Hormone Balance and Estrogen Dominance- Regularly prescribed HRT has serious side effects; there is an alternative.

Arthritis and Osteoporosis: They CAN Be Reversed- Two conditions that can be reversed naturally as proven by doctors who have treated their patients with natural supplements.

Phonics and Dyslexia- Information that can help dyslexic adults as well as children, and a post about the phonics-whole language wars and why phonics wins every time hands-down.

Quill pen is free image from Wikimedia Commons.




Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Healthy" Foods that Aren't

Is It Really Healthy?

There are quite a few foods on the market that we assume are healthy, but it pays to look twice. A lot of the problem is what we've been told for decades- that all fat is bad, so the assumption is that if it's low fat or fat free, it's healthy. A fat-phobic mindset is typical with most people searching out the fat-free products on the grocery store shelves under the impression that they are healthy.

More and more information is coming out now indicating that saturated fat is not the evil we have been led to believe it is. Ironically, the fats and oils that have been promoted as healthy are the processed vegetable oils that are actually proving to be harmful.  There are more and more books out now with information about this; a current best-seller is The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz; check your library or amazon to find more information. One step the food industry has taken to their credit is to eliminate trans fats from their products. Natural fats are much better than anything that has been altered or completely manufactured in a plant somewhere. For instance, margarine is not good since it is made from processed vegetable oils, while butter, its natural counterpart, is better. Your body knows what to do with saturated fats; altered vegetable oils are another story. They have been implicated in a host of health issues including heart disease and cancer. For more, check out The Ugly Truth About Vegetable Oils at ThankYourBody.com.

The other issue is sugar and grain products. Both sugar and grains trigger an insulin response and insulin is what moves fat into fat cells, promoting weight gain. We have been told that fat is what puts on weight, but actually it is sugar and carbs that trigger the fat response. And now sugar is being targeted more and more as the real culprit in heart disease. Weight gain is the immediate issue, but the resulting chronic diseases of diabetes and heart disease are the real danger.

Here are a few choices you'll find in your grocery store that are generally considered healthy. See what you think.

Butter is free photo from Wikimedia Commons.


Yogurt

Yogurt comes in at the top of my list, conjuring up images of hard-body, exercising, health-conscious and, yes, skinny people. The problem with yogurt is that they strip out all the good fat, then add sugar, leaving us with two problems. First, the natural fat is what leaves you feeling satisfied. When it is removed, they have to add sugar to make it edible, which is the second problem. Most people are so programmed to requiring a sweet flavor, they won't eat yogurt with the natural zing that it has without any sweetener. So here comes the load of sugar to retain the customer base. If you have read my post The Science of Weight Loss, you will know that it is sugar that puts on weight, not fat. So eating those little single serving containers of yogurt certainly won't help in weight loss, but instead will add to the problem. And without the natural fat, they will still leave you feeling empty.

One way around this is to buy the large containers of generally fat-free yogurt making sure it has no added sugar, then stir in cream to replace the fat. Then, until you get used to the flavor without added sweetness, a little stevia can be added. I don't need that anymore; the fat satisfies nicely.

Yogurt is free photo from Wikimedia Commons.


Fruit Juice and Sports Drinks

Fruit is natural, so it has to be healthy, right? To a point, yes. But the sugar in fruit- fructose- is actually one of the worst forms of sugar where weight gain is concerned. (See Fat Chance by Robert Lustig; link below.) And a glass of fruit juice has as much sugar in it as a cola. An orange is one thing, eaten with the fiber that helps your body deal with that fructose, but a glass of juice from several oranges is definitely fructose overload, something that is very hard on your body. If you want to lose weight and avoid the inevitable fallout in the form of diabetes and heart disease, avoid fruit juice.

And while I am on the subject of fruit, I will mention here that if you want to lose weight, you might want to avoid the fruits with the most sugar- bananas, grapes and raisins all have high fructose content. Berries and melons are on the lower end.

Sports drinks are no better than fruit juice, with sugar content that rivals carbonated drinks in some cases. And along with all that sugar, there is an enormous amount of salt. Unless you are an olympic athlete, you surely don't need these drinks. Your body needs water, not these sugar and salt-laden concoctions.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Robert Lustig



Orange Juice is free photo from Wikimedia Commons.


Green Package "Foods"

In an effort to market processed foods that will be purchased by health-conscious consumers, manufacturers have reduced or eliminated oils and fats from their products in keeping with the fat-free dogma promoted by the "experts" and package them in green wrappers.  But to make their products palatable, the sugar content has to be greatly increased, making this stuff anything but healthy.

It's a basic rule of thumb that you just don't buy stuff off the shelves in a grocery store if you want to stay healthy; you shop the outside walls where the produce, the dairy and the meat departments are. Anything in a box is probably not good for you to start with, but all those green packages that try to create the image of health are even worse. Packaged cookies that are wrapped in green are still processed, manufactured cookies with a pot load of sugar.

The color green is used universally to promote conservation, recycling, healthy things in general, and it evokes a response that if it's green, it's good. Food manufacturers cash in on this mental association to promote their products as good and healthy. Don't buy into it!

Recycle sign is free clip art from clker.com.



Whole Grain Products

The latest push from food manufacturers in the name of health is the trend toward whole grain. Granted, whole grains are better than the refined, processed versions we all ate years ago, but there are drawbacks here. First, bread labeled "wheat" probably only has a small amount of flour in it that is actually whole wheat. It is probably mostly refined wheat flour, so you may not be getting what you think you are. If you want whole wheat bread, look for bread that is labeled as 100% whole wheat.

But the main issue is that wheat products in general are full of carbs and carbs are what put on weight, whether they are whole grain or not. The only difference is that the whole grain version is slower to digest and thus slows your insulin response to the flour. Refined flour hits your system very rapidly, spiking your insulin levels while whole grain flour is assimilated much more slowly. But there is an insulin response regardless, a response that will produce more fat. If you are trying to lose weight, you have to cut back on carbs whether they are whole grain or not. This goes for breakfast cereals and pasta as well, and any other products made primarily with flour.

There is one more consideration here, one brought up by a couple authors. The premise is presented in a couple books, one called Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, MD, and another called Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. Both books document the damage wheat does to your body. The information in these books is quite startling, showing exactly how the gluten in wheat flour affects your body in a myriad of ways, from celiac disease to Alzheimer's to arthritis. Going gluten-free isn't only for those with celiac disease; this protein is truly damaging to our health. And I can say from experience that eliminating the big end of gluten from my diet has made a clear difference in my joints- they no longer hurt nearly as much as they did.

Whole Wheat Bread is free photo from Wikimedia Commons.


We Need




Snack Bars

Looking for a quick snack? Read the label first before you start eating one of those granola snack bars. They are loaded with sugar. Manufacturers love to label these products to look like they are all natural and so very healthy, evoking images of mountains, fields, all things natural. Think again. Once more, you are looking at a grain product with added sugar that will do nothing but pack on more pounds. Nuts make a much healthier snack.

"Nature Valley Trail Mix Bar - fruit & nut" by BrokenSphere - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


Hidden Sugar in Everything

Read your labels- there is sugar added to just about everything. Start with salad dressing. We all know that salad is about as healthy a meal as you can eat, but if you dump red French dressing on it, you just defeated your purpose. First, you'll have a load of processed vegetable oil all over it, and second, a whole lot of sugar. Ranch dressing seems to have about as low a sugar content of any I've seen. But to avoid the dressing trap altogether, I toss together my own by sprinkling flavorings straight onto the salad- herbs, a little stevia, salt, pepper and dried onion, then throw on some olive oil. (I've never cared for vinegar and oil.)

Beware that ketchup, barbecue sauce, even peanut butter all have added sugar. Food manufacturers add that sugar to keep your business. Jorge Cruise (The Belly Fat Cure) recommends limiting daily intake of sugar to 15 grams/day. It adds up in a hurry. Many LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diets recommend avoiding dairy because of the lactose content that can add too much to your sugar intake, though the higher the fat content, the lower the sugar content. Read the labels!

One other product worth mentioning is vegetable juice. I still buy bottles of the juice, but most of the brands I've seen do have some added sugar, though I noticed that the Walmart brand has a sugar free version available now.

The safest way to go is to shop the outer walls of the grocery store- stick with the produce, the meat and the dairy departments to avoid the processed stuff that is a health catastrophe waiting to happen.

Bottom line- processed foods are just that- processed. Your body knows what to do with real food, but anything tampered with in a factory will cause reactions over time, and will slowly degrade your health after years of eating this stuff. If it's processed, it's not healthy.

And don't be fooled by ads promoting products with all natural ingredients that include "natural" sugar. Sugar from a 4 lb. sack is anything but natural- it's one of the most highly processed products out there. Sucking on a piece of sugar cane is one thing; consuming a teaspoon of very, very refined sugar is entirely different. Sugar is never natural.


Great list of research links by Zoe Harcombe linking sugar to  chronic disease of all types:




Pinterest Boards

I am collecting useful websites that can help you in your journey to taking control of your own health. See them here:

Healthcare Watchdog Groups
Functional/Integrative Medicine
Nutrition, Prevention and Staying Healthy
Great Books- Health




Recommended Reading

The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz.  New York Times best seller that challenges the generally accepted belief that fat is bad. Haven't bought this one yet, but plan to at least get the library copy to read.








 Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes.  I can't recommend this book highly enough.  All the science is presented on how your body regulates your fat and how to manage your weight.








Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig.  This one takes everything Taubs presents a step further, and is written in an easy-to-read humorous style. Lustig presents more on the hormone system of regulating fat, and why fiber is so very important to weight loss. I highly recommend this book. I found it first in our local library, but opted to buy my own copy to mark up.







Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America's Deadliest Habit by Jeff O'Connell.  Excellent book about the effects of sugar on the body and how to fight diabetes and win.











 Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise- this book explains the insulin connection and includes recipes to get you started. He has a whole program you can sign up for, and he also has an email list you can join with tips on how to stay on a low carb diet.






Grain Brain by David Perlmutter- this book is truly an eye-opener, full of studies that show the connection between grain products (carbs as well as gluten) and obesity, heart disease, diabetes, but most alarmingly, Alzheimer's.










Wheat Belly by William Davis- another book that exposes the dangers of an excess of carbs from grains and starchy vegetables, wheat in particular.







Blog Posts

A Healthcare Revolution-  Science and research are making advances in diet and health, but the medical institution isn't. We need a revolution.

Alzheimer's, Dementia and Statins- Statins are dangerous drugs that cause memory loss and muscle damage.

Cholesterol- Mother of All Scams- The whole cholesterol scare has been based on faulty research and has been exploited by pharmaceutical companies to keep an otherwise healthy population on their drugs.



Challenging the Concept of White Coat Authority- Your medical treatment is based on a system fraught with bias and flaws. Assuming your doctor knows what he's doing may not be smart.

The Science of Weight Loss- Find out why the standard advice won't work and what will.

Breakfast Cereal Diets- Really??- Why eating cereal can't possibly help you lose weight for the long term.

Restless Leg Syndrome- Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms- My experience with RLS and what has helped me.

Six Ways to Take Charge of Your Health- Six different things I found as I started my research into health through nutrition.

Sugar- The Real Villain- This was my first blog post on this subject; some information is repetitive, but there are other points made, as well as links and a list of sugar substitutes.

They Told Me He's a Quack- Several people I have found out about that have gone against the tide of public opinion and "expert" advice and have given thousands of people help and hope.

The Dumb American Diet Is Killing Us- The way most Americans eat has resulted in a population of obese, chronically sick people.

Water for Health- Why we need water to stay healthy.

Why You Can't Trust the Medical Industry- The entire medical industry has been corrupted by greed.  It pays to be skeptical.

Hormone Balance and Estrogen Dominance- Regularly prescribed HRT has serious side effects; there is an alternative.

Arthritis and Osteoporosis: They CAN Be Reversed- Two conditions that can be reversed naturally as proven by doctors who have treated their patients with natural supplements.

Phonics and Dyslexia- Information that can help dyslexic adults as well as children, and a post about the phonics-whole language wars and why phonics wins every time hands-down.

Quill pen is free image from Wikimedia Commons.