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Dietary Malpractice

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Dietary Malpractice
Brien Roche

We are what we eat. That statement has always been true. It is more pressing now than it has been in the past due to the amount of junk food on the market. The key to good health is diet and exercise. Doctors lose sight of that. Medicine and surgery are not the cure all. They may be necessary. But the first analysis should be diet and exercise. That should be the first focus in looking at a malpractice case. For instance, it is not unheard of that Alzheimer’s Disease is misdiagnosed. Sometimes the problem is just dietary.

Dietary Malpractice-The Control of Sugar

The data indicates that obesity rates throughout the country have been rising.  Although state and local governments have tried to control the flow of unhealthy food to people through calorie counts, better school  lunches and cutting out trans fats, the battle goes on as obesity rates rise.

A Washington Post article of June 3, 2012 reports that two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are now either overweight or obese. 

Too Much Sugar

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City had focused on oversized soft drinks as a source of this increased sugar intake.  He wants to limit such sugary drinks as sold in certain retail stores to 16 ounces.  This would not apply to grocery stores. 

It is no big surprise that the $75 billion per year soft drink industry has fired back. They contend that this is an infringement on people’s rights. 

Public health advocates maintain that allowing people to make their own unhealthy choices, such as eating too much sugar, has increased medical bills for obesity related care. 

Government action on health issues is not new.  We see it in terms of vaccines, seat belts, airbags, alcohol and smoking.

President Obama recognized that diet is the key. In his 2009 health care bill, he made some proposals for a national soda tax in order to reduce consumption.  That was met with an intense effort by the industry and  the lobbying effort succeeded.  Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Industry Fights Back

What the industry has learned over the years is that bigger drinks mean bigger profits.  By selling larger portions they increase their bottom line. The increase in cost to the public is great. The increase in cost to the retailer/maker is small.

Any attack on soft drinks is met with charges of hypocrisy given the fact that the U.S. subsidizes corn syrup production through farm subsidies. In addition the millions receiving food stamps are users of this very same product.

As the battle goes on, it may make sense to take a look at what other countries have done.  In Germany there are controls over food content. Many products that the German health care officials decide are not healthy cannot be obtained.  This, of course, has to be weighed against the German obsession with smoking and drinking beer.

The issue is whether it is okay for government to control food content when that food content drives up health care costs that are borne by all. 

How Coke Deals With Sugar

A former marketing exec for Coca-Cola disclosed on June 7, 2012 that the soft drink industry did indeed focus its efforts for soft drinks on young people and minorities. 

Todd Putman, former U. S. head of marketing for carbonated drinks for Coca-Cola, said that the term of art that the company used was “share of stomach”. This meant what percentage of the average stomach was devoted to sugar laden soft drinks as opposed to milk, other drinks or other food products. 

The competition was not so much against other soft drinks but rather anything else that might be fit to be consumed.

41% of Coke’s total volume trademark product sold in North America is either no calorie or low calorie. In addition the company has chosen to list calorie counts on its products. It no longer sells full calorie carbonated drinks to schools.

New York City

The focus on healthy food and healthy drinks has been underway for some time. It has been promoted by the First Lady and by Mayor Bloomberg of New York City.

So long as obesity impacts health care costs, which are borne by all of us, the government has some role in controlling it.  Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Dietary malpractice-Alcohol Intake

An article from The Washington Post on April 9, 2013 addresses five (5) things to know about drinking. 

Moderate alcohol consumption is typically defined as being two (2) drinks a day for a man and one (1) drink for a woman.  A drink is typically defined as being eight (8) ounces. 

The reason for the difference between men and women is the volume of body water that they carry.  Men have more body water.  That results in slightly lower blood alcohol content.  This applies without regard to size.  For instance even a larger woman cannot consume more alcohol safely.

Many people think that binge drinking is not harmful.  The evidence suggests that binge drinking is more harmful than regular use.  People that binge are about 50% more likely to have a stroke over ten years than those who drink moderately or not at all.

Drinking also seems to be related to increased rates of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver and breast. 

In addition another study has indicated that heavy drinking of four (4) or more drinks per day shows a five (5)-fold increase in the risk of certain cancers.

Some Good Effects

There are some drinks that may have some good effects.  Red wine is thought to have some benefit in preventing cardiovascular disease.  One study showed that men who drank nonalcoholic red wine saw a big decrease in blood pressure.  The belief is that this is due to the polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, in the grape skins.  This same benefit can be obtained from drinking grape juice.

It is also pretty well set that alcohol does not mix with many medicines. For instance those used to treat heart or blood pressure disease, digestive problems, diabetes, anxiety or depression. 

The rule of thumb is moderation.  A moderate amount of alcohol of any type most likely is not going to have any adverse impact. However too much may.  Moderate use is defined above.

For more information on alcohol issues and vehicle accidents, see the other pages on this site and also see the pages on Wikipedia.

Dietary Malpractice-Food Dyes And Health

Food dyes have been long believed to affect children.  An FDA staff report released during the week of March 21, 2011 stated that synthetic food color does have an impact on children.  There is some data that they are in fact causing behavior problems. They may also impact attention spans.  A study issued in 2004 states that hyperactive children who consumed food dyes became more active.

Aside from the behavior problems that food dyes may cause, they tend to pull children away from good foods. Colors have long been known to be a big selling tool.  That likewise applies in regards to food products.

On March 31, 2011 an expert advisory panel to the FDA stated that there was not enough proof linking hyperactivity with artificial food dyes to warrant a label warning users. Likewise there was not enough proof to merit putting limits on the processed foods that are colored by these dyes.  This 14 member panel voted 8-6 in that regard.  Although the FDA is not bound by this panel vote, it often does defer to such panels.  The panel stated that further study was needed.

FDA Staff Versus A Panel

On a different track, the FDA staff members on March 31, 2011 did suggest that these artificial food dyes may in fact aggravate problems with children that already have attention-deficient hyperactivity disorder.  This does not match the finding of the advisory panel.  Food dyes were once made from coal tar but now are derived from petroleum.  Food dyes are brighter, tend to be more chemically stable and cheaper than natural colors that are derived from fruits and vegetables.  They serve no nutrition purpose. In Europe there is a fear that they carry some  health risk. The European Parliament  requires that food with these dyes carry a warning label.

The FDA does require that they be listed by name on the content panel of all foods. Call, or contact us for a free consult.


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