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Changing the course of lifestyle diseases: how large companies "conspire" against a healthy lifestyle

Dr. David Glass – MBChB, FCOG (SA)

We are all aware of the wave of lifestyle diseases that are sweeping the world towards ill health and premature death. As we look at the statistics of increased rates of all these lifestyle diseases: obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, we realize that it will take more than a small multidisciplinary effort to turn the tide.

Our government is trying to change one of the responsible factors, sugar, by introducing the sugar tax. This has seen a lot of opposition, particularly from large companies. But even the unions have opposed. The opposition is strikingly similar to when anti-smoking legislation was discussed: freedom of choice; Losses of employment; drop in tax revenues; economic difficulties. But more worrisome is the way big companies press government representatives to try to block legislation. One can only guess what people get from the interests of large companies.

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Recently I was reading the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American College of Endocrinology – Clinical Practice Guidelines to develop a Comprehensive Care Plan for Diabetes Mellitus, 2015. This is a large document of 86 pages, with hundreds of references. A team of more than 30 specialists must have spent many hours developing these guidelines.

However, at the end of the article in the section – disclosures – all but 3 of the taxpayers had shares in many of the big pharmaceutical companies that produce diabetic drugs or charge for lecturing or promoting their products.

This does not bode well for independence and lack of conflict of interest. It is not surprising that the section that promotes lifestyle changes as an important management strategy to reverse diabetes is very short. However, much research and personal experience has shown that this intervention is much more powerful than medications to treat diabetes and to reduce or eliminate the complications of diabetes.


This same problem exists with the dietary guidelines that are developed by government agencies. It is well known that many of the experts involved in the formulation of these guidelines in the USA. UU At least they are strongly influenced by powerful pressure groups in the egg / dairy and agribusiness industries. Often, the research that supports their cause is highly subsidized and undoubtedly influenced by these interest groups. The revelations about this were revealed amazingly in the recent hard film "What the health".

But this blog does not try to delve into the politics of the events behind the scenes of power. There are much more persuasive and better researched films and books that examine the intrigue involved. I just mention them to show that we have to show a healthy cynicism when it comes to the food industry claiming that they have our best health interests at heart; and promoting their products as healthy.

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Michael Moss published his book "Fat and salt sugar: how the food giants hooked us " "In the year 2013. This book reveals how food industries have sought through research to create food that is addictive, through the subtle and not so subtle use of these three ingredients, as we saw in our last blog about addiction to food, the three stimulate dopamine, the hormone to feel good, in our brains Food laboratory researchers seek the "point of bliss" for these three substances, levels that create desire and comfort Too much or too little Sugar or salt makes food unpleasant, however, fat has very little upper limit of palatability, therefore, the more fat, the more desirable.

It would be good for us to read the ingredients and nutritional information in the labels of some of the commonly consumed foods, particularly those that are our children's favorites: corn and chips, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, dul ces, chocolate bars, etc.

I was surprised to read the nutritional information in a packet of corn chips recently to discover that 20% by weight was fat. When we realize that 1 g of fat provides almost 40 kjoules, 20 g of fat in a 100 g chip package would provide almost 800 kj. In addition to that is the addition of sugar and salt, the three stimulants of dopamine to seduce or create the addict.


A few years ago, one of our well-known dietitians persuaded a local restaurant to offer healthier alternatives on their menu. The experiment did not last long, and that particular restaurant has also disappeared into oblivion to make way for the usual high-fat meal, feeling good in the restaurant. I challenge our local food industry to try recipes that promote health, and I'm not talking about Banting alternatives, we will address that issue at a later stage. It is very difficult to eat outside and not have to eat a high-fat meal, either with cheese in almost all dishes or with foods that are bathed in oil. A step in the right direction would be for chefs to open up to the concept of responding to customer requests to tailor their menu to the needs of their individual customers.

Marketing has a powerful influence on our food choices. Advertising, of course, appeals to our senses, and if we have had enough repetitive exposures, it can have a profound influence on our behavior. But availability also influences our decisions. Have you noticed how the waiting lines in supermarkets are well stocked with products that stimulate our senses with addictive fast foods? At least one of our local supermarkets has stated that their food on the waiting line is more "healthy".

The most beneficial intervention to support your decision to eat healthy is to never go shopping when you are hungry.

It's amazing how hunger can destroy will power! It is a good idea to eat before going to stores; and maybe even have a snack before going to the restaurant, so you do not have the temptation to eat too many energy-rich foods.

Do I sound like a wet blanket? Everything depends if you want to live healthy, happy and free from the scourges of modern life.

To choose healthy foods, free of addictive substances.

Dave Glass

Dr. David Glass – MBChB, FCOG (SA)

Dr. David Glass graduated from UCT in 1975. He spent the next 12 years working in a mission hospital in Lesotho, where much of his work included health education and interventions to improve health, apart from the normal busy clinic. work of a missionary hospital with few resources.

She returned to UCT in 1990 to specialize in obstetrics / gynecology and then moved to the South Coast, where she was privileged, among other things, to give birth to 7000 babies in the world. She no longer gives birth to babies, but is still very active clinically in gynecology.

An old passion, preventive medical care, has now replaced the obstetric side of their work. He is eager to share the ideas he has gathered over the years on how to prevent and reverse many of the modern lifestyle flagella: obesity, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, common cancers, etc. [19659003] He is a family man, with a supportive wife, two grown children and four beautiful grandchildren. His hobbies include walking, biking, growing vegetables, bird watching, traveling and writing. He is active in the community outreach of health and is deeply involved in the activities of the church. He likes to teach and share information.


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