Undoctored: How You Can Seize Control of Your Health and Become Smarter than Your Doctor
by William Davis, MD, HarperCollins 2017
Undoctored is an exposé of the medical establishment, particularly as it operates in the United States. It is intended for the general public, although scientists will certainly find it well documented. The author, Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist by training and now a bestselling author, completely demolishes some very well-established medical practices (if not myths) that still permeate the industry. For, as Dr. Davis contends, medicine as practiced in industrialized countries is an industry, and a very profitable one at that. This statement includes Canada. The only difference, the author explains, is that the American system is privately managed (at least at the time of writing this review), whereas the Canadian system is publicly funded and centrally managed. Also, the American system can lead to personal bankruptcy, whereas the Canadian model offers protection against such catastrophes. Otherwise, the author categorically states that “Health care is a business built on increasing revenues, whether in Los Angeles or in Toronto.” In Canada, “reimbursement fees may be capped by policy, but nothing stops a doctor or other players in the system from churning more people for more procedures.” In his note to Canadian readers, Dr. Davis states:
“the same pharmaceutical and medical device companies that market aggressively and encourage overuse operate in both countries. The heavy-handed tactics that account for $6.3 billion annually in US statin cholesterol drug sales account for $2 billion annually in Canada.”
Also, gastric bypass operations are more profitable than taking time to discuss dietary methods for weight control. This explains why “Costs to fund Canadian health care have grown 53% over the last decade,” eclipsing the growth of Canadian income. Yet more statistics: Americans spend a total of $3 trillion nationally on health care ($9,523 per person) or 17.5% of GDP, compared to 10 to 12% in other developed countries with healthcare systems that match or exceed the United States in quality.
Undoctored, as the title suggests, is a call for greater individual control of one’s own health in partnership with doctors, laboratories and other professionals. It is also a rejection of the grain-based diet that came about with the development of agriculture. Grains are bad for you, Dr. Davis contends. This is particularly true today since genetically modified grains are difficult to digest, causing inflammation that in turn leads to a host of problems such as auto-immune diseases, certain types of cancer, and particularly diabetes and obesity. Dr. Davis also advocates a low-calorie diet as the secret for longevity and good health.
But enough of that. This review will concentrate on the unholy alliance between the health care establishment and the medical and pharmaceutical professions. Hence Chapter 3, “With Friends Like These…” will be the central focus of this article.
“A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy.” Aesop’s Fables
With this quote, William Davis warns readers that agencies that are supposed to help citizens with sound medical advice might actually be doing us greater harm than good. He then goes on to explain how many public service organizations such as the American Heart Association, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture (to cite a few), while doing plenty of good and starting off with good intentions, mutate “into something entirely different, all falling victim to the same disease of doing and saying things for money.” An egregious example of this is “the huge and almost entirely man-made problem called type 2 diabetes.” The statistics are sobering. Drugs to control blood sugar total nearly $9,000 per year for one person. The major oversight, in Davis’ opinion, is that Type 2 diabetes is a disease of lifestyle and poor food choices, and to a lesser degree, inactivity, nutritional deficiencies and other modern disruptions, made worse by the advice of agencies that pose as health advocates.
Where do unholy alliances come into this picture? Many advocacy and charitable organizations are funded by pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies. Government agencies are often staffed by former pharmaceutical company executives who can enact regulations that benefit private corporations and then, in a revolving-door process, implement such regulations by subsequently working for private enterprise, for their own benefit. And the list is endless.
The ADA (American Diabetes Association) advises patients with diabetes to “cut total and saturated fats, reduce cholesterol, and eat more grains and carbohydrates.” In other words, explains the author, they are advised to “follow a diet that everyone knows will raise blood sugar, and then adjust medications to bring blood sugar back down.”
In the author’s opinion, Big Food companies are equally culpable:
“The Hershey Company, Kraft, Post, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola, were also among the ADA’s most generous supporters. But the ADA turned them away in 2006 because of increasing criticism, especially when it caught flack over a several-million-dollar contribution from Cadbury Schweppes, the world’s largest maker of candy and soft drinks.”
How’s that for an unholy alliance!
“Corporate sponsorship,” explains Davis, “has also managed to infect the educational process of dietitian and continuing education required to maintain certification.” And he continues: “The AND’s (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) love-fest for industry has created some even stranger bedfellows.” The organization received funds from Elenco, manufacturer of antibiotics for livestock, for dietitian education about their use to accelerate the growth of livestock. Past issues of their publications have included articles with the following titles: “Adult Beverage Consumption: Making Responsible Choices,” with the Distilled Spirits Council. The crassest example of such unholy alliances is a fact sheet titled “What’s a Mom to do: Healthy Eating Tips for Families,” sponsored by none other than Wendy’s.
The above examples of collusion between the health care industry and government with Big Pharma and Big Food are reason enough to keep reading what the author has to say. Undoctored is an honest, well-researched, clearly written indictment of an unholy alliance that affects each and every one of us.