Mad Doctors

I wonder when people are going to realise that the medical profession has gone collectively insane?

‘The greatest public health crisis affecting the UK’: Doctors demand curbs on fizzy drinks and fast food

A tax on fizzy drinks, a limit on fast food outlets near schools and child nutritional advice for new parents are urgently required to help address spiralling levels of obesity, doctors have demanded.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC), which represents nearly every doctor in the UK, said obesity was “the greatest public health crisis affecting the UK” and warned ministers, councils, the NHS and food organisations needed to take action.

Who the hell are they to ‘demand’ anything? They work for us, not us for them.

And, of course, it’s described as an ‘epidemic’.

As part of a 10-point plan drawn up to stem the obesity epidemic, the academy said doctors are ‘united in seeing the epidemic of obesity as the greatest public health crisis facing the UK’, adding that the consequences include diabetes, heart disease and cancer and that people are ‘dying needlessly’ from ‘avoidable diseases’.

Look, there isn’t an obesity epidemic. Obesity isn’t a disease. Fat people aren’t incapacitated by being fat. Nor do they suffer pain. Nor is obesity a transmissible disease.

Influenza is an epidemic disease. So are typhoid and cholera and bubonic plague. Those are real epidemic diseases. Obesity isn’t a disease, and nor is it an epidemic disease. Just like smoking or drinking aren’t epidemic diseases either. No, really, they’re not.

If lots of Polish people come to work in Britain, there isn’t an epidemic of Poles. No. And if it rains a lot, there isn’t an epidemic of water either. And a forest isn’t an epidemic of trees. Nor a city an epidemic of bricks. Just because there’s a lot of something doesn’t mean that there’s an epidemic of it.

The Guardian, surprisingly, voices a touch of scepticism.

These interventions are ineffective – or worse – because they treat “the obese” as an abstract, pathological population instead of a group of actual people who are part of the social fabric. They consider weight loss to be the ultimate remedy for every health and social problem associated with fatness, even though it is almost impossible to maintain in the long-term for most people, including those who have undergone surgical interventions. What is sad about this is that people tend to blame themselves when weight loss fails.

Although they are well-meaning, AoMRC’s proposals are not about health promotion, but contribute to a narrative of blame, punishment, prejudice, stigma and anti-fat scapegoating that is horribly familiar. The only thing that looks healthy in this context is the twinkle in the eye of the diet industry CEOs, who are laughing all the way to the bank.

The problem, maybe, is that over the past century we’ve managed to stem or halt the spread of many of the old epidemic diseases – the real killer epidemic diseases, like bubonic plague -. The medical profession has thereby lost much of its raison d’être. And so it has resorted to conjuring up phantom epidemics to replace them. Like the so-called ‘epidemics’ of smoking, drinking, and obesity, which never used to be regarded as diseases, nevermind epidemic diseases. In a time when people are living longer than ever, thanks to improved nutrition and medicine, is the medical profession delighted? Not a bit of it! They screech and point terrified fingers at a new army of imaginary diseases. Even old age has become a disease, which some people really seem to believe that they will not contract, if only they refrain from eating or drinking or smoking.

It’s not just that the medical profession is conjuring up phantom epidemics, but also that it is converting perfectly healthy conditions into diseases. When people get sick, they very often become emaciated as well, and slowly waste away. Even simple starvation results in emaciation. Being very thin is generally not a mark of good health. But being fat generally is a sign of health and prosperity. But now the medical profession has set out to invert this age old wisdom, and they teach that being fat – renamed ‘obesity’ – is unhealthy, and being thin is not.

Quite often these days, wartime rationing is held up as an example of a time when people ‘ate healthily’. But wartime is a time of universal dis-ease and distress. There’s nothing healthy about war. Wars kill people in their millions. And it is another example of a complete inversion of values that it should now be held up as being ‘healthy’.

It’s almost as if a new Belsen were discovered somewhere, filled with painfully emaciated men and women, it would now be dubbed a ‘health camp’ of a modern and ‘progressive’ kind, particularly if there was plenty of ‘healthy’ exercise in the form of breaking and carrying rocks. But if the new Belsen was full of fat people instead, lounging around doing nothing, doctors would express shock that its inmates had been so ill-treated as to be allowed to become obese (particularly if they were well-supplied with alcohol and tobacco as well), and would call for the camp supervisors to be put on trial, perhaps for ‘crimes against humanity’. Such is the inversion of values.

The same goes with alcohol and tobacco. The moderate consumption of these is also a mark of well-being. Happy people, at ease with themselves, enjoy a few drinks and smokes in the company of their friends. And so inverted modern medicine that demonises these goods acts to create unhappiness, and to create that lack of ease which may more properly be described as dis-ease.

Our modern ‘crisis’ is not one of obesity or smoking or drinking. It is instead the crisis of a medical profession that has lost its way, and lost its reason.

 

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About Frank Davis

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39 Responses to Mad Doctors

  1. No worries for me then in this instance. They can’t nag me as I’m very very thin. What a relief. Mind you they’ll get me on the smoking and drinking if they can. Good post as usual Frank.

    I do think that they are being a tad hypocritical. Should they not be looking inwards and asking themselves why is their poor standard of care killing so many of their hospital patients? I shall be making sure that if I’m incarcerated in one of those establishment penal settlements for the sick, my wife will have orders to feed me well. Burgers and chips, large sugary drinks, and help me outside for a smoke when needed.

    They’re there to cure me, not preach. If they want to preach then they should join a religious order. They won’t join mine. All hail the “Smokey/drinky/eat fatty/food/fizzy drinks, “church of the latter day have fun in life religion”.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’m very, very thin too. I can eat as much as I like, and I never seem to get fat. Dunno why.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Typical smoker…………..hehehhe

        moking Your Way to Good Health – The benefits of smoking tobacco have been common knowledge for centuries. From sharpening mental acuity to maintaining optimal weight, the relatively small risks of smoking have always been outweighed by the substantial improvement to mental and physical health. Hysterical attacks on tobacco notwithstanding, smokers always weigh the good against the bad and puff away or quit according to their personal preferences.

        http://31.216.132.122/web/www.data-yard.net/10/nicoplus.htm

  2. Reinhold says:

    Very good post once again, Frank, thank you.

    I hope there will come a day when the boomerang of hatred and scorn hits the ones who threw it.

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    ”The only thing that looks healthy in this context is the twinkle in the eye of the diet industry CEOs, …

    Well, that tells us fairly conclusively where the impetus (and main funding) for this latest wheeze is coming from, doesn’t it? Maybe one day the good old, anti-capitalist Guardian will put two and two together and realise that it was wicked old Big Pharma all along who, with a keen eye to their own bottom line, steered the anti-smoking movement to its present dizzy heights. Then again, most writers at the Guardian seem to be too hypnotised by all those anti-smoking mantras to make the connection. But we can always hope that they will eventually realise that they’re missing a big trick here for a really juicy business-hating story.

    “And so it has resorted to conjuring up phantom epidemics to replace them.”

    Yep, I guess that’s ultimately what all this is about. As medical treatments and techniques have advanced over the last 100 or so years, doctors have become potential victims of their own success. After all, with so many previously killer illnesses now easily curable I guess it’s pretty important for them to invent a few to keep themselves in work.

    Not to mention, of course, the fact that with smoking now banned pretty much everywhere and the world and his wife able to avoid all traces of tobacco smoke if they so choose, they’ll need to find something else to blame when that very same Mr World and his wife continue to die of all those diseases which they previously ascribed to smoking, second-hand smoking, third-hand smoking, fourth-hand smoking, fifth-hand smoking seven times removed etc etc etc. They have, after all, tried the “if your great-grandmother lived with a smoking great-grandfather then you’ll die of a smoking related disease,” haven’t they, and clearly that was just too far-fetched for even their most dedicated drones to swallow. It certainly never took off after a few feeble attempts on the Internet to get it going as the latest anti-smoking scare story. So I guess they’ve got to think of something else, or risk being rumbled on the whole “smoking causes everything” fabrication.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    How about a smile!
    Oklahoma committee kills anti-smoking bill
    A measure killed by the Oklahoma Senate Monday would have changed state law to allow cities to pass their own smoke-free ordinances. http://newsok.com/article/3756712?fb_comment_id=fbc_211062975685195_583558_211089535682539#f3c1bae12f13012

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank your becomming quite the radical! I love it……………….Reminds me of my own virtues.

  6. chris says:

    I once worked with a guy who had been in the army. He told a story of having gotten into a fight with another soldier and then being disciplined, not for fighting per se, but for “damaging government property”, i.e. the other soldier. Subsequent conversations with ex-military people have revealed that one can also be punished for getting a sunburn (or an STD) and lots of other things that would in civilian life be one’s own business. In the military one ceases to belong to oneself and becomes state property. The invocation of “healthy” wartime eating might be said to a nostalgic yearning for the militarization of society, something fascists are noted for.

  7. I watched the song and dance version of this on the BBC broadcast tonight, just as I was finishing up some articles I ended up at by way of one of your commenters yesterday. The result was a perfect storm resulting in a very simple conclusion.

    People don’t live much more than 85 years and we’re up against that limit right now. This drives some people absolutely crazy, they just don’t want to accept it. And the people who it drives the craziest are the highly educated and therefore overthinking class.

    It is quite obvious from the always brisk sales of tasty food and drink and tobacco products that we the people are perfectly content with about 75-85 years of work and enjoyment on this third stone from the sun. We’re okay with our waistlines and our self-administered mild relaxants. The overthinking types can’t stand this reality. They remind me of obsessive, compulsive Hans Brinkers.

    As for the other part of the perfect storm, it was in the form of a blog called Early Warning: Rational Analysis of Global Civilizational Risk. It is one of those exercises in overintellectual mental masturbation I run into every now and then on the net and get caught up in, thinking I’ll get some insight into how the other side reasons.

    I’m not even sure if he’s left or right or extreme environmental or laissez faire, he’s so cautiously F-ing smart. His faithful flock love to use the term ‘straw men’ and ‘false choice’, always a tipoff for me to cut bait and run. One thing is for sure; they’re all universally in favor of healthy diets, more exercise and no smoking or drinking. It’s always absolutely crucial to them that we squeeze out those all-important 3 extra years of life so that we can close the insignificant gap between Japan at 83 and US/UK at 79.4 years of life (or whatever it was). What transpires up to that competitive benchmark is totally lost on them.

    It makes me appreciate my University of Hard Knocks education. And my juicy double cheeseburgers, my red Chilean wine, and unwinding behind a good smoke.

    Bliss is bliss, ignorance has nothing to do with it.

  8. Rod says:

    They use a kind of psychological sleight of hand to brainwash people. It’s a kind of deliberately reckless straw man that works even though it is obvious. They use the words “fizzy” and “fast”. The word “fizzy” is used because it has connotations of childishness and “fast” because it has connotations of uncaringness when applied to the preparation of food. Sometimes they use the word “carbonated” because the word “carbon” has negative connotations.

    The carbonation of drinks or the speed at which a food is delivered can have no chemical relationship to the calorific or nutritional value of the food or drink. But to say this is to be labelled a nit picker because “everybody knows” that most carbonated drinks if not alcoholic are often high in simple carbohydrates and that “fast” foods are often high in fat and simple carbohydrate. And of course the word “fat” has negative connotations from hundreds of years of use as an insult.

    An old girlfriend was shocked to discover that olive oil was high in fat.

    A neighbor of mine has osteoporosis. She used to drink bottled sparkling water but switched to still when she read in an infomercial magazine from the local chemist that fizzy drinks may deplete her of available calcium.

    First I tried to explain that the “fizziness” of drinks has nothing to do with development or worsening of osteoporosis. But I wasn’t able to avoid using the term “carbon dioxide”. I then tried to explain that if the “fizzy drinks” contain phosphorous like colas, which could theoretically antagonise normal calcium pathways, the just maybe it could worsen her condition. I then reminded her that medical doctors would always recommend that people who are unwell or likely to be nutritionally and biochemically compromised minimize their use of simple sugar and fat especially as is likely they will then consume lesser amounts of other foods containing a variety of proteins, fats, complex cabohydrates, minerals etc. But I won’t change her mind. I’m not wearing a white coat. She goes shopping about five times a week and virtually never without going to the chemists.

  9. Walt says:

    Yes I’m convinced that it’s the nannies and the hall monitors who will be the death of us. Meanwhile, I treasure the apt parallel of a forest as an “epidemic of trees” and shall use it often, giving full academic citation.

  10. Rose says:

    My husband was complaining that there were pictures of other peoples wobbling fat all over the news this morning, I smiled sweetly and told him to get used to it.

    My husband, as a rule studiously avoids seeing any patterns in these healthist campaigns, so I think his expression of irritation this morning counts as considerable progress.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Rose, isn’t it amazing that some people either refuse to or really cannot see the patterns in these weird health campaigns.

      Fairly recently I was visited by a German non-smoking relative. Unfortunately the German press had gone wild on the Smoker-heart/lung transplant thing and the subject came up.
      I was quite taken aback when I heard my visitor repeating the demand for “smokers not to be allowed to donate” anti-smoker blurb. I did not say anything for a little while and let my visitor ramble on.
      Then I lit a cigarette and said: “Right. Just curious; what further punishments would you suggest for the grieving relatives of the donor who voluntarily carried a donor card? Obviously the manipulated, hate driven, press does not add enough. Let’s name and shame them. I name you. In 1996. Remember?”

      Unfortunately the subject got dropped, so I will never know if this provoked one or two thoughts about the dynamic of campaigns.

  11. John Mallon says:

    The only epidemic I can discern, is an epidemic of medical bullshit. The harsh reality for the white coats is that their knowledge and ability with the physical body is severely limited and involves either a lot of guesswork or trial and error. One major change in the last twenty years is that, “cure” is a thing of the past, in favor of “treatment.” I detect a money trail in all of this.

    The treatment of mental health though is dire and based on pure guesswork and opinion. Good health is a combination of physical and mental wellness and I have no doubt that one can be fat and happy. One can certainly be drunk and happy. But, like you Frank, moderation in all things is my motto. That is not to say that I do not overdo it from time to time. I simply under-do it for a day or two afterwards to restore the balance.

    You won’t hear that from a Doctor though.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      You dont know how right you are:

      http://easydiagnosis.com/secondopinio….

      Diabetes:

      Old Definition: Blood sugar > 140 mg/dl
      People under old definition: 11.7 million
      New Definition: Blood sugar > 126 mg/dl
      People added under new definition: 1.7 million
      Percent increase: 15%

      The definition was changed in 1997 by the American Diabetes Association and WHO Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus.

      Hypertension:

      High blood pressure is reported as two numbers, systolic or peak pressure and diastolic pressure when heart is at rest) in mm Hg.

      Old Definition: cutoff Blood Pressure > 160/100
      People under old definition: 38.7 million
      New Definition: Blood Pressure > 140/90
      People added under new definition: 13.5 million
      Percent Increase: 35%

      The definition was changed in 1997 by U.S. Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.

      Prehypertension, a new category created in 2003: blood pressure from 120/80 to 138/89 includes 45 million additional people! If one includes this category, we have a grand total of 97.2 million total numbers of hypertensives and prehypertensives (whatever that is).

      High (Total) Cholesterol:

      Old Definition: Cholesterol > 240 mg/dl total cholesterol
      People under old definition: 49.5 million
      New Definition: Cholesterol > 200 mg/dl total cholesterol
      People added under new definition: 42.6 million
      Percent increase: 86%

      The definition was changed in 1998 by U.S. Air Force/Texas Coronary Atherosclerosis Prevention Study.

      Overweight:

      Body Mass Index (BMI) is defined as the ratio of weight (in kg) to height (in meters) squared and is an inexact measure of body fat, though it supposedly establishes cutoff points of normal weight, overweight, and obesity.

      Old definition: BMI > 28 (men), BMI > 27 (women)
      People under old definition: 70.6 million
      New definition: BMI > 25
      People added under new definition: 30.5 million
      Percent Increase: 43%

      The definition was changed in 1998 by U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

      “The new definitions ultimately label 75 percent of the adult U.S. population as diseased,” conclude the two researchers.

  12. Margo says:

    Gosh. If the Guardian had taken that view when smoking was the only thing on the agenda, I might still be a loyal reader. I stopped the day they printed an obnoxious and unwarranted smear of David Hockney.
    it’s the lying hypopcricy that gets to me. Everyone knows that raising taxes doesn’t stop people eating/smoking/drinking things, it just makes the poor poorer and the government richer. Extremely anything (fat or skeletal) is not a healthy thing to be, but making people poor and anxious isn’t a good response.

  13. Some wonderful quote mining to be done in that news story though. It’d be hard to do write something crazier if we’d written it ourselves. And barely 45 seconds has gone by since I was over on LegIron’s blog and posted, “Someone should make a list of all these ‘hard to believe it’s not satire’ things and put them all together someday.” ::sigh::

    Frank, it’s not just the greatest pub health crisis going on at the moment in the UK you realize.

    It’s the greatest public health crisis IN THE HISTORY OF THE ENTIRE WORLD!

    See just the first ten seconds of this video from San Francisco:

    http://ucsfbenioffchildrenshospital.org/news/2012/02/societal_control_of_sugar_essential_to_ease_public_health_bu.html

    And then read about how the Obese are threatening to starve the world while killing themselves:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0618/breaking7.html

    - MJM

  14. mikef317 says:

    Your post made me think of hospital food.

    My memory is hardly precise but it seems to me that now-a-days everyone I visit (and patients sharing a room) are on “low sodium” diets. Decades ago people got little packets of salt that they could use or not use as they desired. Are people today so sick that they can no longer tolerate a bit of salt? Equally milk; once people got “whole” milk; now EVERYONE gets “low fat” milk.

    It’s the “anti-pleasure” thing: if it tastes good it can’t be good for you.

    I’m not a gourmet but a decent meal is one of the pleasures in life. If you’ve ever tasted hospital food, however, you might reasonable conclude that doctors are anti-Iron Chefs, hell bent on making food as unappealing as possible (but of course HEALTHY).

    If I was seriously sick my apatite would probably be seriously depressed. If you want to nurse me back to health, GIVE ME A STEAK. I’m sick but I might manage a few bites. Add mushroom gravy? Maybe I’ll have a few mushrooms. String beans with Hollandaise sauce? Well, maybe one string bean. How about a Napoleon? I’m sick, but I might manage a bite – or two…. If all else fails, tempt me with a slice of bacon. Or more.

    Which makes me think of “pink slime:” http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/food/2012/10/history_of_pink_slime_how_partially_defatted_chopped_beef_got_rebranded.html

    Given the choice between hospital food and pink slime, I’d choose the latter without a second’s thought. But I can’t buy it in my neighborhood. It’s probably banned – or would be banned if someone wanted to sell it.

    • nisakiman says:

      Any food or drink which has the words “Low Fat” or “Reduced Salt”, or “Sugar Free”, or “Light / Lite” or anything similar gets nowhere near my shopping basket. It’s all bullshit. We have thrived for millenia on good whole food, and I see no reason why that should have changed. I eat and drink what I enjoy, and what I enjoy doesn’t include foods / drinks that have been tampered with to follow a fad.

    • Margo says:

      Two things you need when you’re not very well: lots of sleep and nice food. Both unavailable in hospitals. Why?

  15. Barman says:

    It will get worse too…

    I had the wireless on in the car this morning… there was a thing about light pollution on The Today programme…

    The ‘expert’ was saying that they were researching the effect of light pollution on health… he then said “we don’t know that light causes cancer YET….”

    I nearly crashed the car…

    • Frank Davis says:

      That’s a good one. Light! Tee hee.

      Light-induced cancer. Or maybe light-related cancer. Or even morning-sunlight-related cancer.

      Why not wind? And rain? And snow? And sand?

      • nisakiman says:

        Well the Australians have already condemned a generation to Vitamin D deficiency because of their paranoid scaremongering about exposure to sunlight.

        Of course, the Aussies always want to be ‘World Leaders’ in something; it comes from their having a national inferiority complex. That (the “sun = skin cancer lunacy) was their first stab at demonising the normal. Now they’ve moved on to bigger things with plain packaging, which will throw up similarly detrimental unforeseen consequences. But that won’t stop the zealots. They live their lives in denial about the negative results of their actions.

  16. Steve Kelly says:

    Of course they had to get around to “light pollution”. These goal of these “scientists” is and always has been a new Dark Age!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      You know Steve Ive always had this inclination that most of what science knows is based upon 200 years of statistical studies,each builds upon the last quacks findings which builds upon the next line of beliefs. Until you get to the holy grail of beliefs………anything will kill you at a miniscule level. After theyve destroyed all things and we are living in the dark ages where society has been dumbed down to the level of retardation and will buy anything claimed because great government claimed it to be we will no longer exist.

      Orwells 1984 lives!

  17. Dr Evil says:

    I am surprised the government isn’t encouraging obesity. After all, coronary artery disease, general cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes will kill you prematurely and thus limit the pensions payout. They should stick to treating the unwell, learn how to identify atypical meningitis in children and keep medical records on paper.

    • Margo says:

      If they were at all logical, they’d be encouraging all retired people to smoke like chimneys, drink like fishes, eat like pigs and sit around all day. But they’re not logical.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      But Dr Evil we must include the control factor they lust so much!

  18. beobrigitte says:

    Is the medical profession completely insane or are these medics just pulling the rope placed in front of them?

    The greatest public health crisis affecting the UK’: Doctors demand curbs on fizzy drinks and fast food

    To me it looks like the medical profession has to stick it’s neck out for the healthists’ never-ending demands.
    Perhaps the medical profession is unaware/ignores the fact that their status as “half-god-in-white” no longer exists. They are people like you and me.

    Coca Cola, too is fast acting; a recent advertisement declared them sponsors of the World Wildlife Funds.
    I have no objection to this; well; only a little. They are selling a product that we all have known all our lives. It was me who made the decision to drink it at times.

    Perhaps I should write a book about adults, decisions and handing yourselves over to control freaks. It would start with one question: ” WHY do you allow or even ask for anybody/the state to direct your life and let them tell you ‘you can’t’…. ‘you are too weak’ ?”

    Only yesterday this
    “unhealthy foods should be treated like cigarettes.”
    raised a few questions.
    (the rather lengthy comment can be read here.)
    http://cfrankdavis.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/was-russian-meteor-da-14-outrider/

    I have reached the conclusion that none of the healthists will survive a natural disaster. They can’t. They are too scared of life.
    On the other hand; the “fat” ones do – they have a storage I do not possess. But then, they and I are people being virtually hunted down for elimination (I believe the WHO predicted that by 2030 some countries will be completely smokerfree), so we have become resourceful.
    Do we wish to survive a natural disaster?
    That’s another question…………

  19. lleweton says:

    Brilliant piece, Frank.

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