Health Care Health Care Reform Healthy Living Nutrition

Banning toxins is not socialistic: It’s just smart…

Yesterday, I wrote that doctors might need help in getting our patients to make only modest changes in their lifestyle.

Could our government help?

Like the fat guy climbing the hill who needs a push, our patients need help. In Louisville, we have donuts worthy of feature stories in the local paper.

The banning of poisonous trans-fats seems so benevolent, and so right.  Government already bans medicines with adverse effects, smoking certain plants, and even driving too fast.

Two Harvard professors have written an encyclopedic-like opinion in the British Medical Journal defending the recommendation that trans-fat usage be completely eliminated.  In Louisville, our chief doctor is recommending education about the dangers of poisonous fat, while in Britain, a nationwide ban is proposed  Although, professors do not always get the real world, in the case of artificially manufactured toxic fats, they are right on target.

Trans-fats are directly toxic to our arteries.  They are foreign to the body and they induce inflammation. Inflammation causes heart attacks.

The arguments against banning trans-fat are all hog-wash.  They do not taste any different than healthier fats.  Restaurants have equivalent alternatives, and the level playing field–as it would be in a nationwide ban–would not cause undo financial harm.  The public smoking ban didn’t bankrupt business, and neither will banning toxic fat.  The data showing reduction of heart attacks in communities with public smoking bans is an appropriate parallel.  There was much gnashing of teeth, but now the community heath benefits of smoking bans are accepted as fact.  It would be the same for the toxic-fat ban.

Don’t even start with the liberty thing. Cities which have eliminated trans-fat, like New York and Philadelphia, are just as free as Louisville.

Government is us–we the people.  We already pay for healthcare for those older than 65.  Surely, in upcoming years we will pay for many more.  Since we pay, shouldn’t we get a say in prevention?  Isn’t this like the teenager who is still on the parents’ payroll?  We pay, so we get a say.

And, we doctors need help in helping our patients.

I am for freedom.  I am for common sense.

My patients need a shove up the hill.