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April Fools, all year long

By Dave Schreck

Every year we hear about an April Fools' prank that makes the news. Remember when Burger King published an ad in USA Today announcing the new "left-handed Whopper?" Same ingredients as the original, but the pickle and condiments were rotated 180 degrees to benefit left-handed customers. Thousands tried to order the new sandwich; a few requested their own right-handed sandwich!

Unfortunately, many of us follow blindly without thinking to get more information. Here are a few examples of where we could be fooled year around. Perhaps we should question the "experts."

  • The USDA's Food Pyramid Of course, if the recommendations were tested, the experts must be telling us the truth? Wrong! Dr. Walter Willett, MD, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Medicine, said, "At best, the USDA Pyramid offers wishy-washy, scientifically unfounded advice on an absolutely vital topic – what to eat." The USDA Pyramid won't help your eat to live well or live longer, and the new guidelines offer little improvement. Have these recommendations improved your health? Perhaps we've been fooled.
  • Big Pharma Profits come first. Drug companies have been known to rush their medications to market avoiding long-term, unbiased studies. Vioxx was recalled due to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Rezulin for diabetic patients was withdrawn from the market after being linked to deaths from liver poisoning. It's obvious that drug companies put profits above your wellbeing. Paying millions in legal claims is peanuts compared to the billions these drugs bring in. If you're on certain medications, you could be fooling yourself. The costs and side effects can be debilitating. Have a conversation with your doctor.
  • Affordable Health Care There's an oxymoron, like all-natural artificial flavor. First, it won't be affordable, and second it's not really health care. It should be called drug care that treats the symptoms and not the cause. We spend more than twice as much on health care than any country in the world, and yet our life expectancy is ranked almost 50th! We are receiving third-world health care at a very high cost. Are you a baby boomer? Just when you may need some medical attention, get ready for "allocation of resources," a code name for rationing of health-care services. Sorry, society is going to place its bets on the younger generation that still pays taxes to support the burgeoning health-care system. Don't be fooled. In many cases there is a solution. Take control of your health by following an anti-inflammatory diet, omega-3, polyphenols, exercise and meditation. Always consult with your physician so that he or she can hopefully wean you off your drugs.
  • Research Studies Remember the "60 Minutes" story of the Duke University cancer researcher who manipulated data to support his findings related to matching chemotherapy drugs to the tumor's DNA makeup? Oops, where is he today? He's still working as a medical oncologist at another cancer center. Surely this is only an isolated incident of medical fraud. Please, don't be fooled. I wonder how many studies manipulate and fabricate the data, have a conflict of interest, are poorly designed, and are reviewed by biased "experts"? But what if you developed a non-toxic gene-targeted therapy that had a greater success rate than chemotherapy? Look up the movie of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. Because he threatened the cancer and pharmaceutical industries, the FDA harassed him for more than 14 years in a concerted effort to put him out of business. He survived! Could the research that your physician relied upon to prescribe your medication be flawed? Fooled again?
  • Food Advertising Food manufacturers have one goal: Sell product and make a profit. Some have spent millions on deceptive advertising and research to hook you on their products. "Start your day the healthy way with our delicious fat-free, cholesterol-free bagels." If you know a little about the Zone, you know this is a joke. The latest tactic? If the product has little or no nutritional value, then associate your company with respected organizations like The American Cancer Institute, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Olympics. They'll be happy to take the money. Enjoy that soda and bag of fast food. You've been duped again.
  • Food Subsidies The food industry continues to obtain massive subsidies from the government (your taxes) to keep soy and corn products incredibly cheap. How about the vegetable growers? Almost zero! The result is processed food that's very affordable. Imagine a complete meal for only 5 bucks providing more calories in one meal than an average female would consume daily on the Zone Diet, about 1,200. And we wonder why we lead the world in obesity. The growing use of processed food has caused increased dietary-induced cellular inflammation that accelerates chronic disease, i.e., cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and dementia (Alzheimer's). Have we been fooled again? The solution, spending a little more time in the kitchen preparing unprocessed, whole foods. There are hundreds of easy recipes at Yes, it may cost more than a cheap bag of fast food, but you'll be healthier and less dependent upon your affordable health-care program.