Don’t Wait Until Your Doctor Kicks the Habit

Don’t Wait Until Your Doctor Kicks the Habit
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Just as most doctors smoked in the 1950s, most physicians today continue to consume foods that are contributing to our epidemics of dietary disease.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When famed surgeon Michael DeBakey was asked why his studies published back in the 30s linking smoking and lung cancer were simply ignored, he had to remind people what it was like back then. We were a smoking society. It was in the movies. It was everywhere. Medical meetings were one “heavy haze of smoke.” Smoking was, in a word, normal. It’s like the debates over cigarettes and lung cancer in Congress taking place in smoke-filled rooms. (Makes me wonder what’s served at the breakfast buffets at the Dietary Guidelines Committee meetings these days.)

I previously talked about a famous statistician by the name of Ronald Fisher, who railed against what he called “propaganda…to convince the public that cigarette smoking [was] dangerous.” “…Fisher made invaluable contributions to the field of statistics,” but “his analysis of…lung cancer and smoking [were] flawed by an unwillingness to examine the entire body of data available.” His smokescreen may have been because he was a paid “consultant to the tobacco industry,” but also because “he was himself a smoker.” “Part of his resistance to seeing the association may have been rooted in his own fondness for smoking”—which makes me wonder about some of the foods nutrition researchers may be fond of to this day.

It always strikes me as ironic when vegetarian researchers come forward and list their diet as a potential conflict of interest, whereas not once in the 70,000 articles on meat in the medical literature have I ever seen a researcher disclose their non-vegetarian habits—because it’s normal.

Just like smoking was normal. How could something that’s so normal be bad for you? And, it’s not like you smoke one cigarette, and fall over dead, right? Cancer takes decades to develop. Since, at that time, most physicians smoked themselves, and could not observe any immediate deleterious effects, they were reluctant to accept even the possibility of such a relation, despite the mountain of evidence.

It may have taken 25 years for the Surgeon General’s report to come out, and longer still for mainstream medicine to get on board, but now, there are no longer ads encouraging people to “Inhale to your heart’s content!” Now, there are ads from the CDC, fighting back.

For food ads, you don’t have to go all the way back to “Meat…for Health Defense,” or “Nourishing Bacon,” or doctors prescribing meat, or soda, for that matter. “Thank heavens!” “Trix are habit-forming.” You know things are bad when the sanest dietary advice came from cigarette ads.

In modern times, you can see hot dogs certified by the American Heart Association, or sirloin tips, for that matter. And, of all foods, which was the first to get the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “Kids Eat Right” on their label? Was it an apple? Broccoli, perhaps? No, Kraft prepared-cheese product.

Now, just like there were those in the 30s, 40s, and 50s on the vanguard trying to saves lives, today, there are those turning ads about what you can do with pork butt, to what the pork can do to your butt. An example is the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’s “Meat Is the New Tobacco” campaign. As Dr. Barnard tried to get across in an editorial published in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, “plant-based diets [can now be considered] the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.”

How many more people have to die, though, before the CDC encourages people not to “wait for open heart surgery” to eat healthy, as well?

But, just like we don’t have to wait until our doctor stops smoking to quit ourselves, we don’t have to wait until our doctor takes a nutrition class, or cleans up their own diet, before choosing to eat healthier. No longer do doctors hold a professional monopoly on health information.

There’s been a democratization of knowledge. And so, until the system changes, we have to take personal responsibility for our own health; for our family’s health. We can’t wait until society catches up with the science again, because it’s a matter of life and death.

Dr. Kim Allan Williams became president of the American College of Cardiology. He was asked why he follows his own advice to eat a plant-based diet. “I don’t mind dying,” Dr. Williams replied. “I just don’t want it to be my [own] fault.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Meditations via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When famed surgeon Michael DeBakey was asked why his studies published back in the 30s linking smoking and lung cancer were simply ignored, he had to remind people what it was like back then. We were a smoking society. It was in the movies. It was everywhere. Medical meetings were one “heavy haze of smoke.” Smoking was, in a word, normal. It’s like the debates over cigarettes and lung cancer in Congress taking place in smoke-filled rooms. (Makes me wonder what’s served at the breakfast buffets at the Dietary Guidelines Committee meetings these days.)

I previously talked about a famous statistician by the name of Ronald Fisher, who railed against what he called “propaganda…to convince the public that cigarette smoking [was] dangerous.” “…Fisher made invaluable contributions to the field of statistics,” but “his analysis of…lung cancer and smoking [were] flawed by an unwillingness to examine the entire body of data available.” His smokescreen may have been because he was a paid “consultant to the tobacco industry,” but also because “he was himself a smoker.” “Part of his resistance to seeing the association may have been rooted in his own fondness for smoking”—which makes me wonder about some of the foods nutrition researchers may be fond of to this day.

It always strikes me as ironic when vegetarian researchers come forward and list their diet as a potential conflict of interest, whereas not once in the 70,000 articles on meat in the medical literature have I ever seen a researcher disclose their non-vegetarian habits—because it’s normal.

Just like smoking was normal. How could something that’s so normal be bad for you? And, it’s not like you smoke one cigarette, and fall over dead, right? Cancer takes decades to develop. Since, at that time, most physicians smoked themselves, and could not observe any immediate deleterious effects, they were reluctant to accept even the possibility of such a relation, despite the mountain of evidence.

It may have taken 25 years for the Surgeon General’s report to come out, and longer still for mainstream medicine to get on board, but now, there are no longer ads encouraging people to “Inhale to your heart’s content!” Now, there are ads from the CDC, fighting back.

For food ads, you don’t have to go all the way back to “Meat…for Health Defense,” or “Nourishing Bacon,” or doctors prescribing meat, or soda, for that matter. “Thank heavens!” “Trix are habit-forming.” You know things are bad when the sanest dietary advice came from cigarette ads.

In modern times, you can see hot dogs certified by the American Heart Association, or sirloin tips, for that matter. And, of all foods, which was the first to get the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “Kids Eat Right” on their label? Was it an apple? Broccoli, perhaps? No, Kraft prepared-cheese product.

Now, just like there were those in the 30s, 40s, and 50s on the vanguard trying to saves lives, today, there are those turning ads about what you can do with pork butt, to what the pork can do to your butt. An example is the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’s “Meat Is the New Tobacco” campaign. As Dr. Barnard tried to get across in an editorial published in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, “plant-based diets [can now be considered] the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.”

How many more people have to die, though, before the CDC encourages people not to “wait for open heart surgery” to eat healthy, as well?

But, just like we don’t have to wait until our doctor stops smoking to quit ourselves, we don’t have to wait until our doctor takes a nutrition class, or cleans up their own diet, before choosing to eat healthier. No longer do doctors hold a professional monopoly on health information.

There’s been a democratization of knowledge. And so, until the system changes, we have to take personal responsibility for our own health; for our family’s health. We can’t wait until society catches up with the science again, because it’s a matter of life and death.

Dr. Kim Allan Williams became president of the American College of Cardiology. He was asked why he follows his own advice to eat a plant-based diet. “I don’t mind dying,” Dr. Williams replied. “I just don’t want it to be my [own] fault.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Meditations via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Doctor's Note

I find this to be such a powerful concept that I have come at it from different angles. For other takes, check out Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health and How Smoking in 1956 Is Like Eating in 2016. Are the health effects of smoking really comparable to diet, though? Check out Animal Protein Compared to Cigarette Smoking.

The food industry certainly uses the same kind of misinformation tactics to try to confuse consumers. See, for example:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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