You’re worth more FAT than skinny: Obesity as economic opportunity

The system we live in makes for some perversions of economics. Once you understand these perverse circumstances, lots of things in health make better sense. Among them:

You are worth more DIABETIC than non-diabetic.
Diabetes is a booming business! Take a look at the gushing predictions of financial analysts, such as this Wikinvest report: Diabetes is booming and expected to pay drug manufacturers up to $114 billion annually. The diabetes market is presently growing 13.5% per year, a growth rate that shows no signs of slowing despite the recession.

You are worth more FAT than skinny.
We all know that being overweight or obese is associated with a wide array of health conditions: hypertension, diabetes and pre-diabetes, osteoarthritis, acid reflux, gallbladder disease, coronary heart disease, breast cancer. In total, these “market opportunities” comprise hundreds of billions of dollars in drug prescriptions, joint prostheses, surgical procedures, and hospitalizations. Drugs for acid reflux alone approach $100 billion annually in revenues to the drug industry.

If you are slender or normal, you are providing far less opportunity for any of these conditions. You are worthless!

You are worth more ALIVE than dead.
Chronic disease is the key, not death!

The longer you are kept alive with chronic conditions that require treatment, such as “high cholesterol,” acid reflux, or hypertension, the more profit opportunity there is.

Your lack of health, cultivated by Big Food and Big Agribusiness, represents a very substantial opportunity for Big Pharma. They need more overweight people with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis.

So get out there and do your part to grow the economy: Eat more “healthy whole grains,” frequent your Big Box store selling cellophane-wrapped, ready-to-eat processed food, and see your doctor who is ready and able to prescribe all the drugs you will need. If you (or your employer) pay your healthcare insurance premiums, well, then, you bear the burden of costs, not to mention the burden of disease. If you are not diabetic, overweight, or unhealthy, well then, you simply are no use to Big Food, Agribusiness, or Big Pharma!

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Comments & Feedback...

    • K

      You forgot to mention the “self help” industry, therapists, motivational gurus, and weight loss programs, infomercials that sell ab products…..and that wheat stimulated people eat more.

  1. Mike Watson

    I agree that you do offer a huge potential market to drug & healthcare industry being fat, but this has to be paid for so there is an opportunity cost – there are areas where the money can’t be spent such as education, research, lower taxation etc. Since spending on healthcare to deal with the results of obesity is reactive and generally non-productive, the alternative investment in something that will actually produce positive benefits rather than minimize negatives is surely preferable?

    • Dr. Davis

      It would potentially divert incredible sums towards more meaningful activities, I believe.

  2. Neicee

    In a saner world I’d bet skinny ones would get the rewards, in this goofy world and the talk of non-medical personnel making life altering decisions (as in death panels or some such description) it just may be us that will feel the threat…..if you wrote a two-bit novel and tried to sell this as the storyline, you wouldn’t sell a one.

  3. Tom Kramer

    The industries you identify would no doubt respond by stating that they are: in the case of Big Food, simply responding to the choices consumers are making in the free market; Big Ag will use the same response, since they produce the raw materials that Big Food uses; and Big Pharma will respond by saying that they are benefiting society by finding treatments for these debilitating chronic diseases.

    These are all valid points and, above all, it shows the importance of personal responsibility. Yet, I am reminded of a quote from Polish poet, Stanislaw J. Lec, who wrote:

    “Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.”

    Food for thought (pun intended).

    • Dr. Davis

      A perfect quote, Tom!

      Perhaps not all intentional, perhaps not all ill-intended: But the end-result is still the same: Incredible payoff for the industries that support this colossal series of blunders.

  4. John Wallace

    Diabetes, Heart Disease and Obesity are a huge business opportunity. Consider the millions of dollars spent every year on among other things; airline seats (2 tickets thank you), clothes, furniture, medical devices, home health care, medications, higher taxes to pay for special needs and the demand for health care from public agencies, the list goes on. There’s more money made treating the symptoms than getting people healthy.

  5. T Lewis

    I would love to hear your comments on all the fundraising that is done, with all good intentions, and so much money going to drug research. You would think that more progress would have been made in the areas of cancer research and MS to name a couple of medical challenges.

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s a big, big issue.

      Suffice it to say that people should choose their charities carefully. I have helped form the Wheat Free Research and Education Foundation to contribute to research that does NOT involve drug funding.

  6. Rose

    Yes it is Craig. Especially when you are on TWO blood pressure pills and a diabetic pill you want to get off of. Getting mighty close myself though! Off one of the blood pressure pills now keeping a check on the pressure regularly to make sure it’s doing good. So far so good. :) One down and 2 more to go.
    Yep we’re worth loads to them sick with something and that is so sad it’s like that.

  7. Dave C.

    Hey, all you peasants are supposed to be eating sugar and grains! Stop with this “real food” nonsense and get back to work!

  8. In some countries, like Japan, it is illegal to make a profit at providing for medical care. The care givers get paid a regular salary, of course. It’s just that whoever owns the hospital is nonprofit. Doctors might be able to own clinics themselves, but there is a lot of competition, and the amount they can charge is regulated. Everyone has to carry health insurance, which is priced on how much income you make (progressive premiums). Japan spends vastly less than America, covers everybody, with generally better care.

    I wonder how many of America’s health problems would find quick cures, if suddenly the industry has its fee structure capped, like in Japan. (Or many other modern countries.) Big corporations are capping what they will pay to law firms, and very quickly cases don’t drag on when this happens. There is definitely something to Dr. Davis’ keen observation.

    • Roger

      I am not against making money!

      Money is not “the root of all evil,” the love of it is!

      There is some things that go beyong immorality–and issuing a person, improperly diagnosed, a drug or a label, goes beyond just immoral, it is sadistic!

      Japan’s economy is in the crapper, much the same as ours, so, I would not look to that Nation as an ecomomic, let alone a health model.

      Things were better in this Nation, before the Big Bad Gvernment took control of most all that were the freedoms of the State and Individul (see the Tenth Amendment, The United States Constitution). This Nation is much different, when I was a kid–and Govt. debt, sky Rocket Health Care–and less of my freedoms–are no ko-inky-dink.

      I do not want some elected or non-elected IDIOT telling me (or a child) the virtures of eating Heart Healthy Whole Grain–and making a suggestion a matter of force, via legislation, fine, imprisionment, or confiscation of my property, detainment or alteration of my life.

      I want to freedom to pick up a Flyer in the mail, read it, and listen (as in the Wheat Belly add) and make my own decision–not some elite or ruling elite making my decisions for me!

      In matters of health, that is between me and my Dr., not some out side dictator!

      I will defend this Nation, but I will never have the Government as my MOMMIE!

      Roger, OHIO

      • My points are simply that Japan has universal coverage, a non-profit health care system, and the people are healthier than here—even though Japan spends a lot less money.

        That has nothing to do with the 10th amendment.

        It’s always “I don’t want the government telling me!!!”, until you need something from the government (i.e. the rest of us). Then, the tune changes.

        I would not want the government “telling me” to eat wheat, but the government is not doing that. It’s just not putting out the information about the various negatives that seem to be attached to the grain. Plus subsidizing farmers to keep growing it (gov’t interference there? No, that’s somebody’s big payday, huh?)

  9. Rong

    GEEZ! And I thought I was a cynic. Of course there is the saying: “Just because your paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t somebody trying to get you”.

  10. Amanda

    I would like to tell those words to everybody I know, I will copy it and post it at work tomorrow, Dr. Davis we are your army! I posted it to facebook and to all my friends and family.

  11. Roger

    I had the perfect gig, I refused any and all medications, before Dr. Davis and I refused to seek therapeutic bull-sessions to process my feelings as I was losing either my mind or my body, or both! I was going to go out of this life in pain, but at least I was not going out of this life, as drug addict, or a nut-case, for that matter.

    From my self diagnosis, I could tell that my problems were of a neurological nature, but I could not figure out the core or source. As it is in the mechanical world, so it is with the body, if the core problem can be diagnosed, the problem can be properly addressed!

    A large part of me gave up, and there was a small hope that, somehow, an answer would come. A flyer, advertising a book, by a Medical Dr.? I have had enough of those!

    I would have never made the connection in the relationship of Man Made Wheat and the brain, central nervous system, mind and body. The Cardiologist that wrote the book, Wheat Belly, made the connections, between ill health and Genetic Modified Wheat!

    For almost 5 decades this Man-Made self induced pestilence–Wheat, was taking a toll on my mind and body! I read health books until the wee hours of the night, until my eyes were red from fatigue–and, though some were contradictory, all had at least this in common–the emphasis on minimally processed, heart-healthy whole grain!

    When I take my auto to be fixed, I refuse to hear that the problem is only going to get worse, there is nothing that can be done, for now, and the solution, in the future, may leave my auto permanently disabled. That is how the legion of medical specialists treated me–and I accepted for my body what I never would have accepted about my auto!

    I am not saying this whole mess was planned, but there are many that are making money managing ill health–and not many, as a whole, offering a solution! It pains me to see overweight, stressed people in the mental and physical health profession, tell me of health matters! I do admit, before Dr. Davis, I looked as bad or worse then they did, but, now, I am starting to look as good as I feel! I guess the bull-session Gurus (Counselors with various credentials) or Slingers of Modern Chemistry (Medical Doctors) saw dollar signs, capitalizing on my ill health—if I would have consulted them, on the matter!

    Though I did not understand what was happening to me, I did not want to get worse!
    The last people I would see, is some sort of Counselor to give me a Label or some sort of Medical Dr. that would issue a Pill!

    A combination of a man, in a profession that I once considered quackery and a medical Dr. that I would have written off, as just another drug peddlin’ chop-o-matic really is “in it” for the best interest of the PATINET!

    My Dr. of Chiropractic and Dr. Davis has, not only kept my from the barbaric practices of those of medieval torture, and certain surgical solutions, but has kept me from a rainbow of pharmaceuticals, that, not doubt, would make some one richer, in direct proportion to my every increasing ill health!

    Excellent post, Dr. Davis

    Roger, OHIO

    • Dr. Davis

      “This Man-Made self induced pestilence–Wheat”: Ah, priceless, Roger!

      Stay strong. Spread the word, Roger! Last I checked, you and I don’t have a $10 billion PR budget to educate others.

  12. Carol

    The word is getting out. Here is a link from today’s NYTimes from an article by their food writer, Mark Bittman.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/which-diet-works/?hp

    The article relates to a study published yesterday in JAMA about low glycemic diets. Here is a quote at the end of the article:

    So what’s Ludwig’s overall advice? “It’s time to reacquaint ourselves with minimally processed carbs. If you take three servings of refined carbohydrates and substitute one of fruit, one of beans and one of nuts, you could eliminate 50 percent of diet-related disease in the United States. These relatively modest changes can provide great benefit.”

  13. Carol

    I read the Bittman article and then saw all the comments that people left about the article. It almost looks like the comment sections attached to some of the articles in this blog. Lots of people touting the benefits of a low carb diet. Hope you will all have chance to go to the article and read it including the comments. I am so happy to see someone in such a prestigious newspaper writing about this issue. Seems we have come a long way and I’d love to hear what some of you think about this article.

  14. Bill

    This is the equivalent of a national economic stimulus package. With the treatment guidelines that doctors are required to meet it becomes obvious that the money is being provided through the Insurance Industry.

    • Dr. Davis

      Oh, Yes, Bill: I especially love those “treatment guidelines,” what I call “The world according to Big Pharma.”

    • Dr. Davis

      While these particular Swedes may not have heard, I believe the message is becoming clearer: Celiac is on the rise due to the changes in the gliadin protein introduced by genetics manipulations. Specifically, the Glia-alpha9 sequence has been markedly enriched in modern semi-dwarf strains. This sequence is a potent trigger of celiac disease.

  15. Lindsey

    In a way you’re worth more to insurance companies while overweight and chronically ill, too. Premiums are much higher for life insurance for a person who is more likely to actually die during the term of coverage.

  16. LaurieLM

    This post is really amazing. When did we switch to the cure being superior to one iota even of prevention? Not talking about the scam of statins being claimed as, at first, secondary prevention and now the false claims of primary prevention.
    ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. $25. worth of prevention and information (‘Wheat Belly’) is worth, and less costly, than $1,000,000,000,000 of for profit cures.
    I am thankful we have level 4 trauma centers and EMTs and medical personnel for the kind of accident work that we need in our society. But, even with that, working to prevent accidents and improving safety is critical and worth while.
    Our ‘health care industry’ is completely perverted away from prevention of any type. It is so bad, and thanks for your insight Good Doc D, that this industry actively causes virtually all the problems and diseases and all the shiny new, will bankrupt us eventually, procedures and cures that we have now!

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Laurie!

      Yes, the medical system handles high volumes and capable healthcare is wide available nowadays. Every hospital wants to have its own heart program, cancer program, and other programs that pay richly.

      But, as you point out, when did we lose sight of the fact that many, many of these richly-paying diseases didn’t even have to occur?

      This is why what you and I do is so important: We are highlighting the fact that the medical system, from drug companies to hospitals to physicians, are in many instances treating the ill effects of diet.

    • Bee J

      I so totally agree — we seem to have lost all semblance of any kind of prevention relating to our health in this country.

      About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with HBP. I didn’t like taking the pills, so I did research and changed the way I ate, lost 30#’s and took myself off the pills. My co-workers thought I was crazy — just ask them to up the dosage if it goes up — was their response.

      I am in charge of getting together a list of folks to be moved in case of a hurricane. We have to get a list of all their meds. I am amazed that some folks are taking 15 – 20 meds a day, or more.

      In talking to these folks, I have come to realize that all their faith is in that medicine, and that is so sad to me.

      • Dr. Davis

        Yes, the adherence to “take this medication for that ailment” is a disease in and of itself, Bee.

        Set the example and show them that it can be done and sustained. Educate when they ask. That is all we can do.

  17. Rong

    Two new studies show that; 1) Low-carb diet burns the most calories according the the NIH. 2) Wheat in baby formula in Sweden caused an epidemic in infant celiac disease.

    This should be no surprise to those reading and posting here but to many others maybe this will allow the light to go on and accept what is in this blog. You will find that the NIH still can’t figure why low carb is better for loosing weight and keeping it off. This is because they are probably not allowed to come to any conclusion that doesn’t prove “healthy whole grains” are good for you.

    I also found it interesting in the Swedish case that they just couldn’t come to the obvious conclusion that maybe the immune response the babies were having to wheat was the correct response to the entry of a toxin into the human body.

    The two article links are below.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-06-27/calories-low-carb-weight-loss/55843134/1

    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/06/27/vaccinations-cleared-in-babies-celiac-epidemic/

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, Rong: You and I will typically see responses like “Low-carb diets are restrictive. People lose weight because they have few choices in foods.”

      We know better, of course.

      • Rong

        Fewer choices. Yes, I suppose. However, if you are playing Russian roulette the fewer loaded chambers the better.

  18. torchsinger

    I saw this article today:
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/were-government-and-were-here-help-you-lose-weight_647856.html

    The article states that “a federal health advisory panel on Monday recommended that all obese adults receive intensive counseling in an effort to rein in a growing health crisis in America.”

    That looks like a phony jobs programs to me! Just think of the additional couselors needed.

    Later the article says, “The panel acknowledged that one problem with its recommendation was that no studies have shown such intensive programs provide long-term health benefits.”

    Of course not…they won’t tell anyone that it is the wheat.

  19. BW

    Dr. Davis,

    I have heard that Italy does not allow GMO wheat. I found some pasta that is made in Italy. Would this be ok to eat?

    • pam

      @BW
      Hi,
      i’m not Dr. Davis.

      those modern dwarf wheat can be labeled as “non-GMO” according to Dr. Davis.

      maybe if you can find one that was before 1950? that would be safer. am not sure.

      sometime ago Dr. Davis discussed about ancient strands of wheat (Emma? Eihorn? Spelt?) so you can search those.

      regards,

    • Graham

      BW, not sure if Dr Davis is watching this thread constantly as it’s a few days old. Anyway I am in Bel Paese and whilst theoretically GMOs might be banned you see and hear so many food horror stories nearly every week that I wouldn’t be so sure. There are plenty of types of organic pasta available that, again in theory, should be better than ordinary pasta but Dr Davis’ beef is with the “new” dwarf-strain wheat and to a similar or slightly lesser extent with most other cereals (there are one or two exceptions but see the book for full details), the fact it is organic or allegedly GMO-free doesn’t really make it any better. After reading the book I have cut out wheat pasta and bread but I still eat some organic Emmer wheat or farro pasta (just looked at the pack and it’s Triticum dicoccum) and also some organic “farro” bread (I am assuming it’s the same plant but not 100% sure as “farro” dosen’t always seem to refer to the same grain as for example I often see it translated as “spelt” although apparently this is Triticum spelta). Anyway, whilst what I eat is probably much better for you than ordinary wheat it is still not absolved by Dr Davis and I have cut down the amount consumed, furthermore AFAIK I don’t have any wheat intolerance and am also very thin so I can probably get away with it in moderation. I’m not saying it would do any harm to try “farro” as it must be better than wheat itself but its use, particularly long-term, needs to be carefully monitored, if you need to lose weight you may well have to cut out nearly all grains as, at the risk of repeating myself, most are not Dr Davis-approved for reasons he has explained in various posts and in the book.

  20. Dr. Davis,
    Thank you for freeing us from the medical gravy train. My neighbors and we are going to opt out of Medicare program. I did not realize we had that option. It is a form of slavery, pure and simple.
    Twila Brase, R.N. is forming options at her site instead of insurance that makes us indentured servants.
    Thanks

  21. Susanne Anderson

    Yesterday I had to go pick up my prescriptions from 2 pharmacies–1 was for hormones and 1 for blood pressure. Hopefully, soon I will be able to cut out the BP meds. Anyway, both pharmacies were extremely crowded. People take so many medications; the list of side effects from my BP medications is outrageous and alarming when I think about them.

    Susanne

  22. is it possible that reduced vitamin d levels trigger a sort of ‘hibernation’ mode in humans?
    if so, as far as our bodies are concerned, it’s always winter. (seeing as how the vast majority of us are chronically deficient.)

    perhaps this slows down our metabolism and causes us to accumulate body fat, in spite of our best efforts to jump on the treadmill and watch what we eat.

    apologies if this is not an appropriate place for the question. my personal experience involves greatly improved health upon removing wheat/soy/canola from my diet, switching to grass-fed/pastured foods and getting vitamin d replete.

    the standard doctrine ’15 minutes of sun / day’ is obviously false. perhaps the fda has done the math and realizes that Lorcaserin will generate more income than sunshine and vitamin d capsules. and then, even more revenue as we treat all the side effects (the wiki says rats fed Lorcaserin developed cancer).

    “Plasma vitamin D predicted weight loss in obese individuals”
    http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/diabetes/news/online/%7B67F601C8-7338-4CC2-84DA-CBAC80CB7EB8%7D/Plasma-vitamin-D-predicted-weight-loss-in-obese-individuals

    “Low levels of Vitamin D linked to muscle fat, decreased strength in young people”
    http://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/news/item/?item_id=115221

    “Dramatic changes were documented in the vitamin D3/D2 ratio and in markers of bone and connective tissue turnover in brown bears between hibernation and the active state. ”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3121767/

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, I believe that is entirely true, Kim.

      I experienced this personally. Prior to vitamin D correction, every winter in Wisconsin I had to fight off the impulse to bury myself in bed and not get up to meet the day.

      Today, now vitamin D replete with a 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of 77 ng/ml, I jump out of bed in the morning, ready for anything!

  23. Dear Dr. Davis,

    I had the following exchange in the comments section of a Yahoo article on food.

    fallenangel • And we wonder why so many Americans are overweight..its right there in the foods we eat. Growth hormones, corn syrup in just about everything..heck, even low fat foods have sugar added to make them taste good. Smh.

    Jean • It’s not the corn. Google: Wheat Belly. It’s the wheat..

    1Thumbs Down disliked this comment

    Jean • For the ignoramus that thumbed me down, if you can scientifically disprove any of Dr. William Davis’ claims, I’ll eat your shorts…

    As you can see, I’m not afraid of a good fight:) Do you think I’m in trouble??? Hahahaha! If I get a reply I’ll let you know.

    Jean

    • UPDATE:
      I got 10 thumbs down which hid my comment due to low ratings. “Bill” said you were a quack and to read your other “findings.”

      I can’t belive the hatred out there. How have you managed to survive the firestorm yourself??? Have you received over the years, any rebuttal scientific documentation from peers?

      It’s almost as if you recommended abandoning your mother instead of wheat:) However, the truth will win out, yes?

      The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
      Winston Churchill

      • Dr. Davis

        Don’t sweat it, Jean.

        With any controversial message, there will be blind hatred and venom. That’s human nature.

        Imagine being a nutrition educator at a university, teaching and lecturing about the benefits of “healthy whole grains” for the past 30 years, not fully understanding what has happened at the hands of geneticists and agribusiness. Now these people come along and say, “You know, what you’ve been teaching for 30 years is completely wrong because you’ve overlooked an essential point.”

        They are terrified of feeling and looking stupid. Rather than consider the arguments, they spit, yell, and scream to avoid the embarrassment. Human nature.

    • Dr. Davis

      Good for you, Jean: Join in the fight!

      Perhaps you will get: But everybody knows that whole grains are good for you! The Dietary Guidelines for Americans says so!

  24. The widespread adoption of a healthy high fat low carb diet that eliminates wheat and would lead to a lean population in the US and Europe and go a long way to eliminating many of the health problems that currently afflict these populations would be a disaster for the economies of these nations. The fast food and general food industries, the wheat and corn farming industries and especially the health and pharmaceutical businesses would all be virtually decimated. To prevent an economic collapse of the gravest nature it is imperative that the current myth of fat being the root of all evil in our society be perpetuated. Wheat is a vital part of the economy. Healthy whole grains mean a healthy economy. Loosen your belts people. Buy and eat more bread and pasta. Wall Street is depending on you to keep the economy strong!

    • Dr. Davis

      Well said, Cate!

      You can see just how deeply this thing has entrenched itself into the economy, reaching far deeper than just the interests of agribusiness. It is so deep that it would indeed be extremely disruptive to the economy if the public rejected wheat wholesale.

      Of course, this won’t happen. Wheat will suffer a long and lingering death that will take decades to be fatal.

  25. Robert Pellegrino

    Hi Dr. Davis:
    You mentioned in your book that there was a handout you gave to patients for beginning a wheat free diet. Can someone email me a copy? It would really help. I am on Chapter 9 and thoroughly enjoying the book.
    Am I correct in assuming that Ezekiel Bread is okay to have or is it on the do not eat list?

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Robert–

      Search this blog for the Wheat Belly: Quick and Dirty. It’s all listed there.

      And, no, Ezekiel bread is made from . . . wheat. There is nothing you can do to not make it wheat, nor disable all the adverse effects of this incredibly destructive thing.