Your Paleo Practitioner

What's wrong with our Health Care System? It's really a "Sick Care" System

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in association with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have released updated “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” every five years since 1980. The newest revision has been released in 2015. These newest guidelines are finally loosening the restrictions on dietary cholesterol based on a plethora of research over the last 10-15 years contradicting the outdated “low-fat diet” hypothesis. The research contradicting dietary cholesterol as the cause of cardiovascular disease actually dates back to the 1950’s, but was often suppressed for political reasons

. Although the current U.S. guidelines now say that eating high cholesterol foods like eggs and shellfish are no longer restricted, they continue to warn against dietary saturated fat (butter, cheese) causing high cholesterol in the blood leading to cardiovascular disease.  As you already know, saturated fat is not the problem. The problem is that trans-fats have been categorized along with saturated fat. Trans-fat: bad. Healthy saturated fat: good.

 Current research is also very slowly changing the guidelines towards the real culprits: sugar and high-glycemic index carbohydrates, however “whole grains” continue to be recommend. I believe the truth will eventually come out. When it does, it will not change the fact that some of the most trusted agencies in America need to admit to promoting the results of poorly conducted and evaluated research for over 65 years. Much of this was political, however, our political system is deeply dependent upon the big money from the big food industry.

As a society, we are currently under siege. We are inundated with a plethora of “diseases of western civilization”. These essentially 100% preventable diseases include a host of chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases (including heart attack, arrhythmias, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease), diabetes, autoimmune diseases (including hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis), degenerative joint diseases (including osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis), reflux disease, depression, anxiety and cancer, just to name a few. Current medical practice wants most Americans to believe that many of the “diseases of civilization” have genetic roots. For a majority of people, that is NOT true. The fact is that despite your family’s history, you likely DON’T have a genetic disease. True genetic diseases are things like Cystic Fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Tay-Sachs disease and Sickle Cell Anemia. These diseases will show up sooner or later in a genetically susceptible individual, regardless of lifestyle choices.

People develop these diseases due to lifestyle choices. Therefore, these diseases can only be fixed with lifestyle choices.

Modern medicine is currently a function of “medical management”. That means that once you have been sucked into the system (you develop a disease that requires prescription pharmaceuticals), you will NEED to see a medical professional regularly to tweak the dosage or add another pill to maintain “homeostasis”. Homeostasis is the natural balance of all the internal systems of the body. Homeostasis is always thrown out of control with the introduction of prescription pharmaceuticals. Big pharmaceutical companies are more than happy to create elaborate drugs to modify the “symptoms” of these diseases, but few will actually address the disease itself. Therefore, an individual who starts by taking one pharmaceutical drug is attempting to change the way the human body works. Without actually addressing the cause of the disease (lifestyle choices). This will eventually cause the body to attempt to circumvent what the drug does and likely cause another disease to develop in its place.

We already know about this phenomenon, despite what the pharmaceutical industry wants you to believe. If you take a drug to reduce stomach acid, such as Protonix, Prilosec and Nexium, you will have a reduced ability to absorb calcium from your diet or calcium tablets. This puts you at risk for osteoporosis, which will more than likely occur in your lifetime, male or female. If you take steroids like prednisone for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis or recurring sinus infections, this also puts your bones, muscles and joints at risk. Osteoporosis is only one of the diseases than can ensue if you use these medication consistently in your lifetime. We all know that hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women puts women at increased risk of breast cancer. And the list goes on. You MUST be an informed consumer of pharmaceuticals if you take these drugs.

I’m not saying that there aren’t some people that will develop heart disease or rheumatoid arthritis despite all their efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle (although that is incredibly rare). The only genetic component to any of the diseases of civilization lies strictly in our tendency to develop disease related to the lifestyle choices we make. These may certainly be influenced by our families, communities and genetics backgrounds. However, lifestyle choices are just that – choices.

There may come a time in your life that you need a medication to help you feel or function better. There are many good drugs that can be prescribed for a host of human ailments. Antibiotics, when prescribed responsibly and judiciously can “cure” your bacterial infection and save your life. Medical providers should spend time with their patients to educate them on how to improve their health without drugs. This is always a time consuming part of medical care and is often overlooked. So whether it is using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary or providing life-saving education about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy Paleo lifestyle, this is what we should all expect from our medical providers – not just another pill.