180 Degrees Backwards

January 13, 2015 – Why has all the health and lifestyle advice for the last few decades seemingly been 180 degrees backwards?

By The Cerebral Aesthetic Vagabond

The Result Of Innocent Errors?

Over the years I’ve witnessed various food groups become demonized, while other questionable foods have been lionized. The table below summarizes a few of the observations I’ve made over the years.


Bad

Good

Saturated fat, especially animal fat

Canola oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine

Fat, protein

Fat-free foods, flavored with HFCS instead of fat; carbohydrates (see the government’s food pyramid below)

Sugar

Aspartame (aspartame and HFCS are being renamed today because those artificial substances justly carry too great a stigma)

Whole milk

Non-fat milk

Whole eggs

Egg whites only

Salt, coffee, alcohol, marijuana

Pharmaceutical drugs


Fortunately, I’ve always ignored such advice, which frequently vacillates anyway, and tried to think for myself. One question I often ask myself is, “What would cavemen have eaten?” Any food that would have been accessible to prehistoric people is probably safe to eat, whereas any food that’s “unnatural,” in that it’s not found in nature, should probably be eaten in moderation. So, for instance, meat and fat would have been one of the more abundant food sources for prehistoric people, and therefore are probably safe to eat. On the other hand, liquid vegetable oil, sugar and flour are not found in nature and therefore should be minimized. By sticking with this simple method of deciding what is “good” and what isn’t, I’ve shielded myself from numerous dietary fads-of-the-month and maintained excellent health.

So what does the government recommend as the ideal diet?

USDA Food Pyramid

Pictured above is the classic “food pyramid” recommended by the government (source: Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_pyramid_(nutrition)). Although the food pyramid depicted above has been revised several times, the emphasis remains on grains and carbohydrates, while fat and protein are minimized.

It’s becoming increasingly clear, however, that human beings are best suited to eat high fat and protein diets (thanks to our prehistoric ancestors), while being ill-equipped to consume simple carbohydrates, especially unnatural, refined carbohydrates such as sugar and flour (the latter being emphasized in the food pyramid above). Fat, especially, is important for a healthy nervous system and well functioning brain, and contrary to intuition and insinuation, eating fat does not necessarily make one fat, whereas eating carbohydrates, especially sugar, surely does make one fat.

One question that has frequently arisen in my mind is, “How is it that so much bad advice could have been disseminated for so long?” Does all this bad advice fall under the heading of “innocent, well-intentioned error” or is there a more sinister explanation. Although I am certainly willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and attribute their bad advice to innocent mistakes or improper methodology, when I observe such a lopsided distribution of bad advice I have to conclude, however reluctantly, that there is a pattern behind it and that the bad advice is not merely the result of random chance.

Our For-Profit “Health Care” System

Many people, including me have noted that our “health care” system really ought to be called a “sick care” system because it is a for-profit system that only profits when people are sick. Ditching one’s naivete that the health care system exists to “help” us and recognizing it for what it is, a corporate, for-profit system, puts into perspective the suspicion that there may be a pattern behind all the bad health care advice we’ve been given.

“Organic” Customers

Let’s go back to an earlier era of medicine, the era of the family doctor who made house calls. The health care system even back then was a for-profit system, but not nearly as rapacious as what we have today, in which every patient is viewed as a “revenue body.” Back then a doctor would make a house call, dispense some advice, perhaps write a prescription for a drug to treat an acute problem, and charge a modest fee. It was a for-profit system, but it was a competitive free market and the costs were reasonable. When I was a kid, we went to a self-employed doctor and paid the doctor directly for his services, and although we were not a wealthy family, doctor visits were not a huge financial burden. Similarly, hospitals were places where people went out of necessity to be cared for and were not overly expensive, unlike today’s hospitals, a visit to which for just one day can result financial ruin.

In this era few people had health insurance except possibly for catastrophic needs. Most people simply paid for their health care out of pocket, just as they would pay for a visit to the beauty parlor out of pocket. The cost of health care was reasonable and most people could afford to pay for their own health care instead of relying on someone else to pay.

Moreover, since people paid for their own health care they had an incentive to avoid needing health care by taking care of themselves, to use the minimum amount of health care services when they did require care and to shop around some for the best value. Today, since most people rely on somebody else to pay the bill, even if they are paying for “health insurance,” which really isn’t insurance in the traditional sense, they tend to overuse health care services, don’t care what it costs and see no need to take care of themselves; the attitude today seems to be, “I’ll live my life how I please and if I get sick somebody will take care of me or give me a pill or something.”

Debt-Based Financial Model

One of the problems with our debt-based financial model, which has become increasingly prevalent over the last few decades as our real productivity (i.e. wealth creation) has declined, is the relentless need to increase profits, primarily to keep up with the interest payments for all that debt. This relentless need for ever greater profits not only explains why humans are slowly being pushed to the sidelines (see Superfluous Humans) in favor of automation, but explains why the health care system has sought to grow, yielding higher costs and more “customers.”

The growth of the health care business would not have been possible without the concurrent emergence of the FIRE economy, of which “insurance” is one component. In the same way that easily available student loans caused college tuition to skyrocket, increasing dependence on health insurance – again, it’s not really insurance if it’s to pay for something that’s expected to happen, such as routine health care – has caused health care costs to soar. I might also add that government health care programs, such as Medicare, have played an equally large role in driving up health care costs. When people aren’t paying the bill directly, they have less incentive to shop around for the best value or regulate their usage of health care services. Conversely, if health care providers aren’t being paid by their customers directly, they have little incentive to be price competitive, as they once were.

The ever increasing debt and relentlessly increasing cost structure built into the health care system has concurrently had the effect of squeezing the little guys out of the system, eliminating competition and consolidating the system into a continually shrinking pool of huge entities. Of course, the same process has been occurring elsewhere in the economy as the system evolves into a purer and purer form of fascism. As a result of this trend toward hugeness and consolidation, there are few independent health care providers anymore and most doctors are now employees of huge corporations, which severely curtails their autonomy.

Cultivating Perpetual Customers

Once the maximum profit has been realized from the mass of “organic” customers, that is, people who just happen to become ill, where does a for-profit health care corporation look for its next incremental increase in profits?

Simple, it stops curing people. The customers of a for-profit “sick care” system are ... sick people. Morality aside – corporations are utterly amoral, by the way – it’s illogical for a for-profit company to alienate its customers by curing them. What’s better for profits is to find a way to keep sick people coming back for more, and that means to cease curing people so that you can sell them treatment and drugs for the rest of their lives. Keep them sick enough that they’ll come back for more, but not so sick that they expire. This has become the business model for a whole bunch of diseases, including diabetes, AIDS and especially cancer. As many former cancer industry insiders have attested, there is utterly no interest within that “industry” in curing cancer because treating cancer is far more profitable. In any case, many people have discovered ways to cure cancer and all but the most dogged of them have been driven out of business by competing corporations, medical associations and governments who defend the “cure-less” profit model.

Identifying New Customers

The next stage in the evolution of the health care system is to enlarge the customer base by manufacturing new customers. This is accomplished by targeting new age groups, such as young children, to which to sell drugs, or by inventing bogus new ailments, such as ADHD (and dozens of new mental “disorders” in the DSM-V), and by literally bribing doctors to push pharmaceutical drugs.

Manufacturing Customers

Once all the other means of increasing profits have run their course, the final stage in the evolution of the for-profit health care system is to actually manufacture sick people, and that’s where these decades of bad health and lifestyle advice come into play. The beauty of dispensing bad health and lifestyle advice is that the victims/customers will assume culpability for the harm they cause themselves, while the sellers of “health care” will profit.

People will object that no doctor would deliberately make people sick in exchange for a paycheck. Doctors are just people, however, and are just as skilled in the use of cognitive dissonance as anyone else. After all, how many times have you heard someone doing something inane while asserting, “I’m just doing my job.” Doctors, most of whom are simply employees of huge corporations, are no different because they lack authority anymore and can be easily replaced if they fail to do as their bosses instruct.

In any case, the doctors who deal with the patients aren’t the ones producing the bad advice, so they can easily rationalize it away. The bad advice is produced by the government agencies, think tanks, universities, medical associations and corporations, all of which are separated from the patients/victims by layers of bureaucracy, making it difficult to hold anybody accountable for the bad advice. The doctors on the front lines may know that patients are receiving bad advice but rationalize away their own role – “At least I’m helping that poor patient to live a better quality of life.” Wouldn’t it be better if the doctors were actually permitted to cure the patients?

As to the corporate executives, the decision to sabotage peoples’ health for profit is an easy one. Most corporate executives are psychopaths – if they weren’t they wouldn’t have gotten where they are – and so they have no remorse or empathy, just a single minded drive to attain a goal, in this case higher profits. These people would literally sell their mothers to a brothel if they could make enough money doing so. They feel nothing, so the idea of dispensing bad advice to the public in order to make the public sick and thereby increase profits troubles them not in the least.

And if for some reason they feel the need to rationalize their behavior, corporate executives can always justify their behavior under the auspices of “fiduciary responsibility,” which, sadly, is true. A corporate executive can actually be sued by the shareholders for not trying hard enough to make a profit. When one comprehends the true structure of the “health care” system in the U.S. and the enormous profit motive of everyone involved, including many of the doctors, combined with the compartmentalized, dissociative relationship between the patients/customers/victims and those inside the “health care” system, it’s easy to visualize the mechanism by which bad health and lifestyle advice can come to be dispensed and why.

Finally, we live in an increasingly corporatist world. The emerging one world government people justifiably fear will be a corporatist one in which corporations rule the world and sovereign governments are marginalized. Already corporations control most governments, they control the media and they fund the universities and the medical organizations, so procuring universal, authoritative, yet ultimately incorrect “wisdom” on the subject of health and lifestyle is well within their capacity.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, the “health care” system is not your friend and sees you as merely a “revenue body” to be milked and milked and milked some more. People need to take responsibility for their own health care. First and foremost, we need to stop abusing our bodies, especially by consuming so many unnatural “foods.” We also need to get proper exercise and rest. Our bodies are remarkably able to take care of themselves, provided we give them the proper foundation, which consists of nutrition, exercise and rest.

We ought to shun “conventional” (i.e. for-profit) medicine as much as possible except when we know the specific cause and cure for what ails us, and the internet can be a fabulously useful tool in that regard. Before seeking treatment for an ailment people ought to do as much research on their condition as they can, so that they know more than the doctors about their condition. Now, many doctors resent their patients knowing more than they do about their condition, so if need be patients should be prepared to find another doctor who’s less close-minded.

Health insurance, except for catastrophic insurance, if that still exists, is absurd and a waste of money. People would be better off putting their insurance premiums into a savings account and then if they need health care, seek out the lowest cost provider and pay for the services from their savings account. Of course, this is exactly the way health care used to be purchased “back in the day.” One option worthy of consideration – it would be my very first choice – is traveling to a foreign country for health care needs. Many foreign countries offer first rate health care services at a fraction of the cost in the U.S. However, even within the U.S. there are some reasonable alternatives, such as the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, which is “conveniently” located in the center of the U.S. I’ll bet there are other such places elsewhere in the country.

Most importantly, we should stop listening to the goal-seeking advice spewing from the mainstream health care community and rely more on our own common sense, such as my “What would cavemen have eaten?” question.

Update – January 14, 2015

I don’t usually update these posts a day after writing them, but I just ran across two relevant articles this morning, the titles of which are self explanatory.

Top Researcher Finds Medical Studies to be Largely Wrong or Fraudulent

CIA Flashback: “We’ll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False.”

The gist of the first article above is that the vast majority of medical studies, including nutritional and drug studies, are either wrong or fraudulent. I might add that the majority of these “studies” are paid for by for-profit corporations who desire a particular outcome from each “study” they finance.

The title of the second article above pretty much says it all. If this agenda is applied to general (dis)information, then why would it not be applied specifically to medical (dis)information as well? To paraphrase, “We’ll know our medical disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” If this is indeed the case, then it appears that “they” have largely succeeded in their efforts.

Update – February 11, 2015

I just ran across another of a slew of recent articles on the subject of “flawed” dietary advice:

Butter ISN'T bad for you after all: Major study says 80s advice on dairy fats was flawed

The article is full of juicy statements, such as these two:

“Yet governments in both the US and UK have ‘practically destroyed the dairy industry by suggesting that butter, cheese and full fat milk increased cardiovascular disease risk, when the contrary is true,’ he said.”

“Last year a US research scientist called for a campaign telling people they had been taken down the ‘wrong dietary road for decades’ in avoiding saturated fat while not being warned about eating too much carbohydrate and sugar.”

I love the phrase “down the wrong dietary road for decades.” One wonders how “intelligent” scientists and doctors could have been 180 degrees wrong for decades, unless it was deliberate.

Update – May 21, 2015

Just another article that supports my thesis:

Flawed Medical Research May Be Ruining Your Health & Your Life (Important!)

The End