OBESITY AND PUBLIC POLICY
by Karl Arnold Belser
12 December 2013




The article Sweden Becomes First Western Nation to Reject Low-fat Diet Dogma in Favor of Low-carb High-fat Nutrition from the Health Impact News website has made me aware of another potential mistake caused by central government control, namely obesity.

In short, UC Davis researchers has shown that  the liver converts excessive levels of fructose sugars into low density lipoproteins (LDL) that in turn coat and sometimes block blood flow in arteries, and carbohydrates are converted into fructose when they are digested. One does not get the LDL by eating fatty foods. It’s as simple as that, and one can mitigate the risk of heart disease at an extremely low cost by controlling the consumption of fructose sugars and carbohydrates.

Again I do not want to be political, but this problem has apparently been caused by public policy in which lobbying in Washington has surpressed information about the dietary effects of certain products.

It turns out the brain can sense sucrose and regulate itself from overeating. It does not do this for fructose (UC Davis study). So when the US puts a high tariff on sugar cane (sucrose) and subsidizes the growing of corn (fructose), fructose in the form of corn syrup ends up being used in many products and the population gets fat and unhealthy. This obesity ends up in enormous medical costs that would normally not occur.

Now, the drug companies are ;lobbying for doctors to recommend that everyone use statins like Lipitor to deal with the ubiquitous LDL health menace. For example, my doctor recently advised (insisted) that I start taking Lipitor because I had borderline LDL of 150 at the age of 73. I said NO because earlier this year my younger brother, who had been taking statins for several years, got gall stones which resulted in a life threatening infection. My doctor had no concept that there might be serious side effects for statins for essentially healthy people. After all it is simple and lucrative to use arthroscopic surgery to remove the gall bladder.

It appears that the agricultural industry, the drug industry and the medical industry are manipulating the government for their gains at the expense of the public.

However, my inclination is to believe that the government bureaucrats are for the most part well-intentioned, but ignorant. The bureaucrats are in a somewhat powerful position to undermine financial support for anyone who does not agree with them.  Let's face it. It takes money to influence the government action. So the negative feedback is impeded.

As a systems architect I have a conflicted point of view. On one hand, as I have described above there appears to be a fundamental flaw in government that causes the peoples interests to be undermined. On the other hand might it bee in the strategic best interest of the United States to be completely self-sufficient in the agricultural products (food security) that are needed to feed its population, say for example, in the event of war? I actually think that this might be the case. The government cannot tell the public that it will sacrifice people today in order to make the nation more robust to black swan events like war.

As another example, I was pretty upset when President Obama, by executive order, put the union benefits ahead of the interests of the bond holders in the GM bankruptcy. This was, in my opinion, a clear violation of contract law.
Only one hedge fund thought it might  have the resources to take the issue to the Supreme court. It later dropped the attempt saying that it could not afford to fight the case. I suspect that the attorney general of the United States might have explained to the hedge fund that it was in the national interest to have a strong automobile industry in the event of war. The government did not state this as a reason, which has in turn caused many people to view Obama as a radical socialist. I ask the rhetorical question: Mightn't Obama have done the right thing  for the nation and suffered being hated by many?

The government may have to take actions that it cannot explain to the public. This is one of the components of the uncertain future. It might be very difficult to predict what the public reaction might be if it finds out. They might consider some clandestine action a God-Send or treason. Who knows?

So when considering the adjacent possible relative to the uncertain future, one must constantly watch to see if the government is corrupt or acting for a higher purpose.
   
Last updated December 18, 2013
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