Three big lies have been exposed. These lies have deeply affected our health and our lives.
One big lie is that opioids are harmless. The second big lie is actually a deflection, foisted on us by the sugar companies, that sugar is harmless, especially in pop. The third big lie is that saturated fat is bad for you. What can we learn from these lies?
It’s now common knowledge that Big Pharma started peddling opioids as a harmless way to kill even minor pain. “When all the reports are in, the Pharma-driven opioid epidemic may be one of the biggest and deadliest cons in recent history” (Martha Rosenberg: www.alternet.org/2016/05/what-big-pharma-does-not-want-you-know-about-opioid-epidemic/).
According to Rosenberg, Perdue Pharmaceuticals started the lie about opioids. It then spread to other pharmaceutical corporations, patients and doctors who were told these powerful drugs were not addictive. The opioid addictions of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and the heroin addictions that came out of the Vietnam War, were ignored. Twenty years ago, opioids were not prescribed for many causes of pain that they are routinely prescribed for now. The change is the result of pharma’s manipulation.
Between 1996 and 2002, Perdue Pharma funded 20,000 education programs through grants and sponsorships, telling people that the media “misunderstood” the dangers of opioids. Grants and sponsorships resulted in many organizations being corrupted in their recommendations by this money: organizations like the American Geriatrics Society, the American Pain Society and the Federation of State Medical Boards were co-opted. The government’s Food and Drug Administration has made drug approvals based on power and politics rather than good medical practice.
Many of those most deeply harmed by these programs were minorities and the poor. In 2017, 70,237 deaths nationwide were the result of opioid use (https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/11/30/after-record-number-us-deaths-opioid-epidemic-may-be-receding/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4afb46570e1d).
In Washington state in 2017, there were 693 deaths due to all types of opioids (https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1000/140-182-StateOpioidResponsePlan.pdf).
The same charge can be made against the sugar companies, according to New York Times writer Anahad O’Connor. Beginning in the 1960s, the sugar industry began to divert attention from the dangers of refined sugars to that of fat consumption. “They were able to derail the discussion about sugar for decades,” O’Connor wrote. It started in 1967 when the Sugar Association paid three Harvard researchers today’s equivalent of $50,000 to link saturated fat to death from heart attacks rather than from sugar.
Even though this was more than 50 years ago, big sugar is still influencing nutritional information. Coca-Cola, the biggest producer of sugary beverages, paid millions of dollars to successfully play down the connection between their products and obesity. Candy makers financed studies that showed kids who ate candy tended to weigh less than children who didn’t eat candy!
The Harvard researchers who did the 1967 study are no longer alive, but one of them ended up becoming the head of nutrition at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1977, he helped draft the forerunner to the U.S. government’s dietary guidelines (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html).
As a result of these studies, people were encouraged to eat less saturated fat to avoid heart disease. How many of you drink low-fat milk and eat low-fat yogurt? Instead of fat, most Americans eat and drink refined carbohydrates. These products cause hunger pangs.
Paradoxically, eating more saturated fat actually decreases hunger. Fat tastes good, too, but we have been taught to remove it from our diets. Think of skinless chicken, even though the skin is the tastiest part of the meat. Think of spreading margarine instead of butter, even though butter is better for you.
In his book, “Eat Fat, Get Thin,” Mark Hyman, M.D., recommends that if you want to lose weight, cut back on refined sugars and refined carbohydrates and eat more saturated fat. He has done extensive research into the origins of our current beliefs about saturated fat that show the corrupting influence of big corporations on research also noted by Rosenberg and O’Connor.
Rethink what you eat. Stop drinking refined sugary beverages. That includes anything with high fructose corn syrup. They’re not good for you. They cause weight gain and diabetes. Eat saturated fats and foods that are natural and unprocessed. You’ll be healthier and thinner.
Be more discerning about what studies tell you about the food and drugs we take. Do research to see which ones are helpful and which have been promoted for profit rather than for protecting your health. Your life may depend on it.
We’ve been lied to for decades by big corporations who have co-opted our government to recommend things that are not good for us. We have the power to choose what we allow into our bodies. Ignorance is not bliss, it hurts.