Friday, July 12, 2013

Shedding some Headwinds

Have you seen the list of drugs whose patents are going to expire in 2013 to 2016? It reads like a shopping list of drugs you'll need on a poor diet. Out of the 27 listed, at least 13 are unnecessary (statins), unneeded on a well-planned low-carb diet (acid blockers), treat conditions that might be improved by such a diet (medications for blood pressure, anti-depressants, bipolar disorder, diabetic nerve pain, for instance), or might be improved by removing wheat and other grains (medications for schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and osteoporosis).


On the one hand, doctors will feel less encouragement from drug salesmen, seminars and advertisements to prescribe these drugs. Without those headwinds, doctors might be more inclined to suggest diet changes. After all, avoiding grains and eating healthy fats is becoming more mainstream: the book Grain Brain (due out in September) is against wheat, sugar and carbs (presumably too much carb) and is endorsed by several mainstream doctors. Some doctors are giving their patients books such as It Starts with Food and The Primal Blueprint. Wheat Belly was a #1 best seller and a paleo podcast is #2 on the iTunes health chart. When I tell people I avoid carbs and wheat, they don't look at me like I have two heads as they did three years ago. Even my oral surgeon was interested in paleo diets.

On the other hand, managing an illness is a better business model than curing it, as long as it's an illness generally believed to be incurable, like heart disease or diabetes. Patients expect to have a broken arm cured. It will be painful for doctors to realize the treatment they've been giving their patients (like statins) is worse than useless. Some patients will balk at giving up muffins and lattes for more vegetables and a chunk of fatty meat. One therapist in the mental health field told me most of her patients were unwilling to change their diet; that might change if patients keep hearing that diet profoundly affects your mood. A friend of mine, after three years of my nagging her about it, finally tried a wheat-free diet after her doctor suggested it. (It worked.)

Once it becomes common sense to eat real food for your health and to try fixing your problems by tweaking your diet (which I think will happen in my lifetime), a lot of doctors are going to be out of business. (Note to bright young people: don't go into gastroenterology.) The smart ones will precede the wave, get experience using diet to treat patients, and become skilled enough to cure that cases that patients can't Google their way out of.

8 comments:

Lowcarb team member said...

More and more of us are realising that diet can play such an important part of our improved health and lifestyle. Unfortunately there are still too many who think by popping a pill all ills are improved or cured. Sometimes medicines are needed and we are grateful to the doctors and health care professionals, but more and more there are things WE can do to improve our health and I do think that slowly slowly common sense may prevail and a more healthy life may be lived and enjoyed by more.

All the best Jan

tess said...

over the last hundred years, medicine has gone from the esoteric category (knowledge unavailable to the uninitiated), into the mechanistic (treating the body as a collection of stand-alone physics-based systems), privileged-provider (gotta have the license, like door-to-door salesmen), and is now morphing into a more enlightened "ecosystem model" ... i hope! the best doctors "get it" while the mediocre fight to get back to the "good ol' days". :-(

Lori Miller said...

Totally agree. Ten years ago, a carb was a carburetor to me.

Lori Miller said...

The mediocre doctors will exist for the pill poppers and the totally uninformed.

Amy S. Petrik said...

Howdy, found you by accident but I am glad I did.

I had my lap band done a year ago in June....

Come check me out :) Amy in South Dakota

http://bohemianburble.wordpress.com/

Lori Miller said...

Welcome, Amy, and congratulations on your weight loss and improved health.

Larcana said...

Ahh yes, meds! Well that is classic training now. Used to be people died of infections and trauma...now they linger in nursing homes and hospitals jacked up on pills. Changing a diet is the last thing anyone wants to hear. I know I try to inform my patients everyday and they all balk at the simple solution.
"Why how dare you ask me to give up my donuts/pizza/beer/etc?!!!"
Now sign the Rx lady and be a good doc. :(

Lori Miller said...

Understood. Just look at how many addicts have to be threatened with the loss of their family or job before they'll clean up.