How about a MacStatin with that Quarter Pounder?

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Consider this scenario in the future: We live in a society dependent on processed foods. In an effort to slow down the progression of heart disease among Americans, doctors suggest it could become routine for customers ordering a Quarter Pounder at the McDonald’s Drive Thru to be asked the following question: Do you want fries with that Lipitor?


Let me explain.

Doctors, Nutrition, and Pills

I’ve often complained that many doctors don’t bother advising patients to eat healthier in order to improve their health or prevent disease. My conclusion is based on research regarding medical school graduation requirements.
“Most medical schools in the United States fail to provide even a bare minimum of nutrition training.”
And once out of med school doctors have little time to study on their own. They can barely keep up with the new pharmaceuticals used to treat disease.

But it turns out that lack of nutrition education may not be the main reason doctors don’t bother teaching their patients how to eat healthy.

New research cites the following: When asked why more doctors don’t practice preventive cardiology,
“the number one reason given was their perception that patients fear being deprived of all the junk they’re eating.”

Does this sound surprising?

It’s not at all surprising to me as a nutrition coach.

I’ve spoken to many people over the years who decided to change their lifestyle and embark on a journey to eat healthy and exercise. Success came in many forms: weight loss, improved mood, reversal of disease and the elimination of prescription drugs and reduction of inflammation and joint pain to name a few. They would chant the praises of their new-found lease on life. They gushed with pride and accomplishment. You’d think that such a feeling of joy and success would be a great motivator to stay the course. It is for some people, i.e., those who consider health and long term gratification more important than immediate gratification. But for many, they let themselves slip back into the world of processed foods and that always leads to “conditioned hypereating” as Dr. David Kessler calls it in his book “The End of Overeating”. When we eat highly processed foods we dive into the rabbit hole where food manufacturers call the shots. They care little about our health. Profit is their main objective. The more food they sell the more profit for them. So to sell more food they work to get us to eat more, and more and more. Here’s how Dr. Kessler explains what happens to our brains when we eat highly processed foods:

“Chronic exposure to highly palatable foods changes our brains, conditioning us to seek continued stimulation. Over time a powerful drive for sugar, fat and salt competes with our conscious capacity to say no”.

Some people would argue that this description sounds just like an addiction. And for some people that is exactly what it is.

So it should come as no surprise then that doctors don’t want to bother taking the time required to educate a patient on how to climb out of this rabbit hole and take charge of their eating.

So what do doctors do?

They prescribe pills.

A Side Order of Statins Please

Using drugs to deal with the symptoms of disease is the routine option in this country because it’s an easy fix and apparently what most people prefer.

But how far are we willing to let that go?

Consider the group of doctors from the The Imperial College of London who described what they envisaged as the future “holistic” approach to dealing with a disease such as heart disease.

Picture a McDonald’s Drive Thru where not only would you be able to get packets of catsup with your quarter pounder but along with a warning that eating it could be hazardous to your health, you would also be handed packets of statin drugs to offset the negative effect your unhealthy meal will be having on your heart. This is not a joke. This comes from a paper published in The American Journal of Caridology in 2010 and reported by Dr. Michael Greger in his video: Fast Food: Do You Want Fries With That Lipitor?
From the paper:
“Routine accessibility of statins in establishments providing unhealthy food might be a rational modern means to offset the cardiovascular risk. Fast food outlets already offer condiments to supplement meals…” So why not “complimentary statin packets”.

Suggestions such as these, coming from the medical community are a disgrace. And it didn’t take long for the British Heart Foundation to respond and quickly attempt to set the record straight. As Dr. Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director of the BHF stated in his response:

“Promoting a pill for junk food would lead us towards medicalising a huge swathe of our population when really people need to take more responsibility for their own health.”

So there it is: “people need to take more responsibility for their own health.”

And that begins by paying attention to what we eat.

It is our responsibility to become knowledgeable about food. In this day and age, resources are everywhere. There is no excuse.

If you’re ready to start educating yourself about the Power of the Fork and what proper food choices can mean for you check out some of my blog posts on this site. Here are a few:

Eat Yourself Healthy

What is Low Glycemic Eating?

Can Food Heal?

“He who takes medicine and neglects the diet, wastes the skills of his doctors.”

Healthy Recipes


Mushing in Ocean City MD