Healthcare Crisis

Posted: June 16, 2012 in Uncategorized
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The United States of America is amidst a major crisis in the healthcare industry. Healthcare costs continue to rise as disease continues to become even more relevant. If we are spending so much on healthcare shouldn’t we be living longer? I for one can not even afford personal health insurance. Once I turned 27 years old I lost my age discount and my monthly bill went from $167 to $365 and my deductable was increased to $4,000. Why is it at 27 health insurance companies feel we are at higher risk? Isn’t that the prime of our lives when the risk of disease should be lowest? The part that frustrates me the most is the healthcare industry is the cause of these increased costs.

Did you know that our government spent $1 billion dollars to back Ancel Keys’ research that high fat diets lead to an increase in cholesterol and an increase in heart disease? This money was spent to support selective observational data only. Studies such as the Framingham Heart Study, The Nurses’ Health Study, and others were showing no positive correlation between heart disease and high cholesterol, but our government still decided to drop a billion dollars on more poorly done research. This led to the conclusion that we need to eat high carbohydrate and low fat diets (on a side note, refined carbohydrates could have been substituted for saturated fats in these observational studies and the same correlations could have been made with refined carbohydrastes). We paid the price as a nation for this turn in diet.

High carbohydrate diets have led to metabolic syndrome becoming an epidemic in our country. Metabolic syndrome is the name given to the risk factors associated with heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. The risk factors are obesity, insulin resistance, lack of exercise, genetics, and age. Insulin is linked to all of these.

An increase in refined carbohydrate consumption leads to all of these factors. Too many refined carbs equals an increase in insulin. Insulin increases weight by storing excess glucose in our adipose tissue, muscle cells, and liver. We become resistant to insulin when too much insulin is being secreted into our system. It is a defense mechanism for our cells. This is caused from diets that are high in refined carbohydrates. This in turn makes our body produce more insulin to decrease the amount of excess glucose in the bloodstream. At some point our beta cells become burnt out from producing too much insulin and we develop diabetes. Insulin and carbohydrates are even linked to high blood pressure. Breads, pastas, and other starchy carbohydrates lead to water retention and insulin leads to the kidneys reabsorbing sodium. This combination leads to an increase in blood pressure. Also, an increase of starchy carbs in our diets lead to increased levels of triglycerides and VLDL, which have been linked to an increase risk in heart disease.

The treatment suggested in the literature for all of these is a low-carbohydrate diet. Ancel Keys’ pride and the failure to look at the research as a whole by the government has greatly decreased the health of this nation. A paleo diet, anecdotally with my clients, always decreases triglycerides, blood pressure, weight (especially abdominal fat), and increases HDL which has been shown in research to protect against heart disease. It seems eating this way protects us from the number one health problem in America, metabolic syndrome. It is time the government and healthcare professionals begin looking at the data as a whole and instituting a change to our current system. The economy is failing and as a public we can not endure higher healthcare costs.

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