Doctor’s Choice — Coca Cola!
Doesn’t it seem that more and more outrageous things happen every day?
My husband and I were discussing it and he suggested starting a newspaper called “The Daily Outrage.” I think there is enough news to fill it twice a day and issue a big, thick Sunday edition, too.
Maybe some of this attitude is due to aging and change-of-life issues and whatever. However, of the many outrageous things occurring in the United States, one which really bothers me concerns the profession I have long ceased being proud of.
There are plenty of professions I have never tried, such as prostitution, where people are at least honest about what they are selling and how they are selling it. Oh, I have seen university professors list, at major speeches and on a slide with too many words to be legible, the drug companies that are their commercial sponsors. Usually they are people at least some of whom are in competition with each other. So you at least get the feeling that the deluded academician who is trying to be a lover of science may have at least started out trying to be objective, and is trying to go with the rules.
Now we have this:
The American Academy of Family Practice is now selling Coca Cola .
Maybe they should be flogged, as a clobbering from me will not be nearly enough.
Early one recent morning I (accidentally) watched Fox Network News. I think I was flipping channels and I saw they had an alleged “real” doctor pushing their cookie cutter continuously reproduced conservative agenda. (I am trying to find truth, which usually seems to upset everybody’s agenda.) They seemed to think this alliance must be the “best possible” because, according to a Coca Cola spokesman, 94.5% of the problems with childhood obesity are related to foods other than sweetened beverages. All-righty then.
I think it was the Fox medical spokesman who said that Coke had done a good thing in marketing containers with smaller amounts. Unless this person has a basic problem with either speech or reading comprehension of English or both, there is no excuse for missing the fact that if smaller bits of something may be better than larger bits of something, the something is probably not a good thing.
They also had a quote from the president of the American Academy of Family Practice who said something about people being able to make lifestyle changes while still enjoying things that you like. This is the greatest way to sell Coke, better than the jingles that became commercial hits.
I was able to avoid losing my breakfast by signing on to the internet as quickly as possible, and locating this petition .
Only seventeen doctors have signed the petition as of this day. Both reasons cited for opposing the Family Practice group’s decision are valid.
Medicine is getting less objective. Private insurance companies have been trying and often succeeding at telling doctors and patients what treatments are acceptable and what is not.
Some people have suggested that drinking things with carbon dioxide bubbles in them is less good for you than drinking things with, say, oxygen bubbles. We won’t hear from them ever again.
We may hear something about cola’s positive effects on human life.
What we are absolutely NOT going to hear is anything objective, because this big branch of medicine, today’s generalists, the “omnipractitien” they used to call them in France, have sold out.
Their objectivity is gone. Anything they say about lifestyle will be a Coca Cola lifestyle. This is not science or medicine. It is a sellout.
I was able to find a little look at an opposing viewpoint from NPR. They (correctly) cite a nutritionist who indeed cites family practice physicians as having said that they have seen obese folks who take in one to two thousand calories daily from soft drinks. The honest and decent treatment has to be to steer these people away from soft drinks.
The NPR folks also quote Lori Heim, M.D., president of the family practice group. They will provide info on how people can “incorporate sweetened, unsweetened and artificially sweetened beverages into a healthy lifestyle.”
I am back to my needing-to-clobber someone status.
Carbon dioxide bubbles that occur in soft drinks may not be that bad.
Maybe some people can live with sugar, although we probably all consume more than we need.
Caffeine is in most Coca-Cola products, except for a few specifically labeled “caffeine free.” Its origins, in coffee, are wrapped in mythology.
It is said a particular clever shepherd somewhere in the Arab world noticed, several hundred years ago that when his goats ate certain berries, they did not sleep much and became extra frisky and that is how coffee beans were found.
If the discovery of caffeine had happened in the last few years, it would have needed to be submitted to the FDA for approval as a prescription drug. It would have been tough to get through as it has so many actions. It is a cardiostimulant, and can raise pulse and blood pressure; pretty significantly in some folks. It is a diuretic.
It facilitates awakeness as a stimulant neurotransmitter. It is the strongest and only drug that I (and other decent, hardworking folks) have used to get through nights of productive work, to the benefit of patients.
“Artificially sweetened beverages” is the phrase that gets me more into a clobbering mood than any of the others.
Coca-cola products contain aspartame, which they, predictably, has been proven safe. That shows a scientific bias, to put it mildly. I have many patients who have traced anxiety, sometimes even psychosis to the use of aspartame. Usually takes 60 days or so off it to see aspartame related symptoms go away.
This is as complete a list of sources about aspartame related dangers as I can find. There are serious biochemical dangers from this artificial sweetener. I have seen many patients with symptoms resistant to conventional (prescription) therapies improve when they get off this stuff.
Perhaps, the safety endorsement of Coca Cola is not totally credible.
It is biased.
OK, so science and medical care have sold out in the past. This is not totally new.
After all, Louis Pasteur was getting funds from the wine industry when he said that wine was the most healthful beverage in the world.
That was before you could get reservatrol, a healthful wine extract, without alcohol, which can wreak havoc on the body in a million ways.
I desperately wanted medicine and science to be like Caesar’s wife, beyond reproach.
I remember, when I left my last university professorship position to go into private practice, one of the medical school deans sat me down in a lounge and offered me coffee (I took water) and told me why a clever doctor and researcher like me had to remain in the university system.
He told me that in our society, a university was the only possible place to find freedom of intellectual thought, something an intellectual human like me needed to survive.
I tried to tell him, but he could not hear, so I ceased. I knew it was too late because the department of psychiatry of that medical school (and probably other departments about which I knew less) was largely financially dependent upon the drug companies that were sponsoring its clinical trials. They owned the department, and I had never doubted their drugs would be preferentially described. Also, I had figured out I would never get two cents to research the non-drug things I was interested in. I had already been told to “piggy back” my research upon something already funded.
I had to leave. I was starting to realize even then that the kind of funding that science was dependent upon meant the virtual of creative and original ideas.
Now things are much worse. The deal between the American Academy of Family Practice and Coca Cola seems to me to be a nail in a coffin.
Both pure research and medical science are worse than prostitution, because there is the illusion that you get something idealistic, helpful, and healthy. With a prostitute you know exactly what you get.
It is carnal and it is not love.
Beware consumer. Take no medical advice until you know who is paying the person who is giving it.
So far, at least, nobody is paying me to write this.
And just for the record, every product I sell my patients is something that I am convinced works, based on scientific and medical evidence and how my patients do with it.
Like Walter Brennan used to say on that ancient TV series my grandmother loved, the “Real McCoys,”
“No brag. Just fact.”
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