You may have noticed a pattern with medical associations and other organizations that determine health guidelines for the average Joe or Joan…Every time the health guidelines change, a new group of people is suddenly considered unhealthy.
The ever-changing guidelines disseminated by the”experts” are like a constantly lowering limbo bar that usually benefits the healthcare industry. At least that’s what it looks like if you make a little timeline and compare notes.
I’m not saying these changes to health guidelines are all wrong, as newer findings should replace archaic practice — but it wouldn’t hurt to take these things with a grain of sea salt. In other words, always question “authority.” You know your body best.
Take for instance some of these guideline overhauls in recent history:
In 1998, around 29 million Americans became overweight overnight without gaining a single pound, thanks to new body mass index (BMI) standards set by NIH. Many were suddenly obese. Example: a 5 ft 4 in. woman at 154.9 pounds would have been perfectly healthy in May 1998. In June of that same year, she was suddenly “overweight” at 145 pounds and “obese” at 175 pounds. Talk about a boost to the weight-loss industry!
Many people are fed up with BMI standards since most athletes – are actually considered “obese” under these newer guidelines. Although there aren’t really any standard “obesity” drugs, obesity is considered the leading cause of death because it’s considered the harbinger of heart disease. So, right here, you can see how the healthcare industry – and even Big Food with its so-called “diet” foods – might benefit from this new guideline. Right now there is a major outcry about “fat-shaming” and “fat-acceptance” – you would think this important change would enter the discussion and set minds at ease, but most people don’t remember that it ever happened.
In 2013, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology published new cholesterol guidelines that increased the number of people who could be offered statin drugs by the tens of millions. A study came out that same year demonstrating that these new calculators actually overestimate heart risk. Notably, some cardiologists spoke out against the change. One cardiologist in particular unapologetically declared that this change was nothing more than a way to benefit Big Pharma and Big Food. She declared that many perfectly healthy people would be placed at risk since a statin’s purpose wasn’t a preventative for a healthy person, but actually are designed for those with heart disease. Was her reprimand of the AHA heeded? Judging by the people around me, it appears that most people pop statins if they are recommended by a doctor, which makes these changing guidelines quite effective for Big Pharma!
In early 2018, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology again tinkered with guidelines, and lowered what constitutes hypertension (high blood pressure). Example: blood pressure readings below 140/90 were considered normal in 2017, but this year, readings above 130/80 are categorized as high blood pressure, which pushes many people into the realm of a hypertension diagnosis and subsequent pills. I’ve had my blood pressure test at 135/90 before and thought my top was going to blow off, but realized it was the stress of the waiting room. Turns out, this is actually a thing! It’s called “White Coat” Hypertension and should really be factored into these readings. Instead, doctors dismiss this important anomaly and instead say that the periodic blood pressure spike is still a risk…
Back to taking things with a grain of sea salt…. at one point in time, salt was considered a deadly diet additive. But a massive, long-term JAMA study in 2010 showed that people who consumed salt (yeah, the table kind) actually lived longer than their non-salty counterparts. This isn’t to say people should load up on processed foods which are obviously damaging to health. In actuality, a diet loaded with vegetables and fruit will offer plenty of sodium with no need to add any more. (I like this “low-sodium” pink Himalayan salt because it tends to have a relaxing effect, especially before bed.)
But what the JAMA salt study did show is that people could stop fearing the Grim Reaper anytime they salted their mashed potatoes.
In other words, the former guideline was faulty!
That brings me to my final point. Anytime the limbo bar lowers and ushers in a new group of formerly healthy people, it creates a lot of fear and stress. It tells the patient, “You are unwell – your body is failing you.” And what is considered the worst thing for human health?
That’s right – STRESS. And I would argue that most stress is caused by fear in some form. Sadly, the medical industry for all its wonderful advancements, tools and diagnostics – is based on fear. Fear and desperation sells. Maybe…just maybe, these guidelines get lowered every now and then to get people in the doors and eventually on a pill.
The true solution, then, is to tune back in to our bodies and stop outsourcing our vitality to unstable charts and calculators.
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