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Is Medicine the Culprit of Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices?

In a recent post, I discussed the history of sugar and how over-consumption of the sweet, white substance can lead to disease and may even help promote cancer cell growth.  Many people commented…it was a hot topic.  The comments that I thought were the most intriguing, were when people argued that sugar is perfectly fine for us and that it can’t possibly be a factor in disease or cancer.  They specifically pointed to the fact that if sugar consumption was so much lower in the 1800s, but so was life expectancy, that the higher rates of sugar consumption today, obviously have very little impact on our health…after all, our life expectancy is almost double of that in the late 1800s.  Their point: Eat up.

Really.  Come on people…I’m all for logic, but this argument has a major hole in it:  Life expectancy was much lower in the late 1800s because of the fact that health care was nothing of what it is today, NOT because people ate less sugar.  For instance:  Although there was documentation of cancer’s existence all the way back to 1600 B.C. in ancient Egypt, it was only in the mid to late 20th century that we started to see real, longer-term and effective treatment that could help extend our lives.*  Conclusion?  We can thank advances in medicine for our higher life expectancy.

Medicine is wonderful…in many ways.  It allows us to address health issues early enough so that we can prolong our lives in a healthier way.  It allows us to treat disease that may prevent our ability to live a full life.  It can give us a second chance.   At the same time, however, medicine enables people to take less care of themselves because it can come in and kick disease in the _ss.  It is capable of swooping in and correcting a lifetime of bad lifestyle choices. And, it allows people to abuse their bodies with drugs, alcohol, excessive eating, you name it, because it can come in and ‘fix’ them.

This is when I have issues.  Medicine should be a way to help people live a longer, higher quality of life.  It should not be a safety net, or for that matter, an excuse to allow people to treat themselves poorly.  The latter suggests that many people take the privilege of having good health care and medical attention for granted…and not only abuse their own bodies, but end up abusing the medical system as well.

What do you think?  Do you think quality medicine and research has given people the excuse to make unhealthy choices in their lifestyle?

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*Reference: History of Cancer

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Fitness, Nutrition Tagged with: , , , , ,
  • In college I had a friend who was really into electronic music. We went to various raves together back when raves were raves, before they became “parties” and later started to really suck and then later totally stopped existing. But I digress…

    Anyway, my pal used to dance right in front of the speakers without any ear plugs. I cannot appropriately describe how loud these things were without cursing, but I had to shout to him that he was being a crazy idiot and that he should give himself a reasonable distance before he goes deaf. His response: “I’m sure by the time we have to worry about it, they’ll have a way to fix it easily.” Did I mention that he’s been addicted to marijuana for 15 years now?

    Anyway, I think that’s the downside. My friends who are doctors and have worked in emergency rooms have told me some horror stories of people’s expectations for what medicine “should” be doing for them. Medicine has made amazing progress – we’re fortunate to be living in this time and not in the 1800s. And it is going to keep getting better. But it doesn’t absolve us of taking care of ourselves.

  • Michelle

    I think in some ways dcotors have embraced some of these “easy” methods as well. It’s so much easier to be handed a prescription for something and then told to leave. Let the medication take care of the person instead of the doctor taking care of the person, or the person taking care of themselves. I don’t have anything against medication, I’ve been prescribed my fair share, but it would be nice if it weren’t always the first line of defense.

  • Thanks Brett! I love the article and both comments so far. I help people to lose weight and get healthier with natural nutrition. Occasionally I will get the person with this kind of thinking: one man told me that Diabetes is much cheaper then taking care of himself nutritionally because the meds only cost $4/month!!!! When meds are cheaper than real health care and ins. pays for you to be sick but not well, we have a problem. What is called Health Care is really Disease Care. I practice and teach real health care!


    I love this article too!
    OMG.. I can write a book about Americas “Health Care System” We need to make prevention a priority in this country!

    So many people abuse their own bodies by over eating, eating junk, drinking and doing drugs.. Not to mention that our food supply is highly contaminated with false advertising selling us things we don’t want and don’t even know we don’t want.. I can go on forever!
    I do feel that people think there will be some magic pill to save them after they’ve indulged to the point of no return but sadly there wont be.

    For example a few of my clients are diabetics and the they use prescriptions usually help one problem but create five more.. what does that mean to the patient?? More drugs.. more health issues.. lower quality of life.. More money for big pharma! crazy right?! Its sad but also true in many cases for many diseases.

    Not all meds are created equal but with the science and knowledge we have today we should be living twice as long as we do now. Not comparing ourselves to people in the 1800’s

    ( Note on sugar- Its not sugar that is bad its the kind of sugar we have in our “American Diets”. High fructose corn syrup to name one of many highly refined sugars.. If you have a sweet tooth you can try a number of natural sweeteners that are not addictive and will satisfy your taste buds)

    The most powerful tool you can have in life is knowing your own body and how to take care of it. You are a result of the choices you make so always choose the very best for yourself!

    Peace & Love,
    Helen Cohen- Holistic Health Counselor

  • DomP

    What we need to keep in mind is that there is a natural order in all of life…with a few exceptions here and there. The fact that we prolong our lives is unnatural and shouldn’t be. Every species on earth has an experation date that should be respected and not fussed with.

    Medicine is absolutely not the answer. The more pills you take, the worse off your immune system becomes creating the need for more pills to counteract the unbelievable side effects of the pills you’ve already consumed. Keeping in mind that there is a natural substance somewhere on earn that can cure…not treat, but actually cure a disease or problem.

    For those that have “acid reflux disease” which was made up by scientists so that they can treat another “disease” should know that all they have is heart burn. I suffer from this myself and found that it’s not that you have to my h avid in your stomach but that you don’t have enough…sunda wierd I know but it’s true. Try this on for size cause it works dr me and EVERYONE else that I know has tryed it….raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. A tablespoon f this upon having heartburn will instantly rid you of your discomfort by adding a little bit more acid to your stomach to alleviate your “reflux”. The greatest thing about it other than the fact that it stops the burn litterally within 5 seconds of ingesting but that for a several month supply, you only needto shell out $3.50!!!!! That’s it folks. And you don’t have to take it everyday day for the rest of your life!!!! Only when you need it. Unlike “the purple pill people” that tell you to take one a day…which I did by the way for years with absolutely no success.

    Like I said before, the works for me and EVERYONE else I know that has tried it. Just keep your options open when it comes to treatment for anything because natural is always better, healthier and cheeper than medicine.