Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2013-06-19
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
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of WB Blog articles.
The monetization of obesity
It’s all over the news: The American
Medical Association released a statement recognizing obesity as a disease.
Obesity advocacy groups hailed the decision
as a major victory. AMA Board Member, Dr. Patrice Harris, said,
“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the
medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately
one in three Americans.” Joseph Nadglowski, president and CEO of
the Obesity Action Coalition, a non-profit obesity advocacy group, felt
that identifying obesity as a disease may also help in reducing the
stigma often associated with being overweight.
It all sounds good, doesn’t it? Let
unstigmatize obesity. Let’s not blame the victim. Let’s
get these people help when and where they need it.
Step back a second. How and why did this happen?
Well, it’s hard to know how the internal
discussions at the AMA went until we get a look at the transcripts.
But let’s take a look at the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).
I believe it tells the whole story.
The OAC Board of Directors is filled with
bariatric surgeons, such as Drs. Titus Duncan and Lloyd Stegemann,
people who make a living from procedures and surgeries like gastric
bypass and lap-band. The largest contributors to the OAC? Eisai
Pharmaceuticals, maker of BELVIQ, the new drug for weight loss;
Ethicon EndoSurgery, makers of laparoscopic operating room supplies;
Vivus, Inc., another obesity drug maker; the American Society for
Bariatric Surgeons; and Orexigen, developer of the combination drug
naltrexone-buproprion for weight loss, now in FDA application stage.
(Recall that naltrexone is the opiate blocking drug taken by heroin
addicts but now being proposed to be gain approval for weight loss.)
In other words, while it is being cast as
something being done for the public good, the motivation is more
likely to be . . . money: Bariatric surgeons gain by
expanding the market for their procedures to patients who previously
did not have insurance coverage for this “non-disease”;
operating room supply manufacturers will sell more equipment for the
dramatically increased number of surgical procedures; obesity drug
manufacturers will have the clout to pressure health insurers to
cover the drugs for this new disease.
From the perspective of the Wheat Belly
arguments, I see the world something like this: Tell the world to
eat more “healthy whole grains,” complete with the
gliadin-derived opiates in wheat that stimulate appetite by binding
to the opiate receptors of the human brain; we eat
more–400 calories per person, per day, 365 days per
year, with most of those calories coming from junk carbohydrates
like corn chips and soft drinks, the sort that stimulate insulin,
the hormone of fat storage; experience repetitive high blood sugars
and insulin from the amylopectin A of wheat, the complex
carbohydrate in wheat that behaves more like a simple sugar. We
gain and gain and gain.
Doctors blame us for gluttony, failure to
exercise enough, too many snacks, etc., then thoughts of drugs and
surgery start to be entertained.
Treating obesity as a disease allows this
condition to be subsumed under the domain of healthcare. After all,
“healthcare” is nothing of the kind: It has
nothing to do with health. Consistent with much the way
healthcare is conducted nowadays, I call the healthcare system
“The system to maximize profit from sickness.” And
so now it goes with obesity.
To the system, you are worth more obese
than slender. You are worth more diabetic than non-diabetic. And
you are worth more as a wheat-eater than as a non-wheat eater.