Can we trust what we know?

Many people might argue that the reason for the insane population growth of the past 50 years is due to extensive research in the health and dietary sectors. We now have extensive knowledge on what we should and shouldn’t eat and how most illnesses can be treated, dietary guidelines were set up in 1977 and any illnesses we face can be treated with various different drugs.

Yet taking into account how much research that goes into health and the sheer amount of drugs that are on the market for this, that and the other it seems incredible that there are still huge numbers of people with cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other life threatening problems. Obviously, everyone knows that eating fried chicken everyday is bad for you and that fruit and vegetables are good for you so why do people continue to do it? Yes, no one can deny, it tastes good. But it also makes you question whether or not people actually know the health implications of the food that they are eating.

So, who comes up with these food guidelines? And who prescribes us the drugs that treat our illnesses? And more importantly do these people have our best health interests at heart or is it simply a money making operation?

Well firstly lets look at the health guidelines that are being promoted, you may be under the impression that scientists come up with these facts, figures and advice yet in reality dietary guidelines are a lot more political than you may think. Not only is it scientists that contribute but also the agriculture department and food industry’s that help produce guidelines, and thinking about it if the food industry has a say in what is advised to eat or not eat then these industries will most likely advise their own products.  The ‘No red meat’ rule has been blatantly pushed out of the guidelines time and time again, even though red and processed meat is known to cause a 17-18% increased risk of colorectal cancers – so can we really trust these guidelines?

Lets hypothetically say yes, we trust these guidelines let’s eat the red meat. Then later on in life we develop breast cancer. But who provides our drugs? That big pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, they will cure our breast cancer. What other drugs are they known to distribute though? A drug called Polisac which increases milk production in cows by 10-15%, but also causes an increase of white blood cells (or pus – yummy!) in the cows udders and is also known to be linked to breast cancer. So the same company that treats us for our condition, also produces the drugs that contributes towards it. And thinking about it, Eli Lilly would no doubt want the food industry to keep purchasing the drug as this would contribute to their profit, and so are probably quite content with the fact that dairy and red meat have not been added to the ‘Shouldn’t eat’ part of the dietary guidelines.

When thinking of ill health it’s important to remember one thing, there’s a lot of profit to be made from it. So who can we trust? Only our own judgements and our own research. I’m not saying never eat KFC again, maybe just consider a little more what it might be doing to your body and who really is wanting you to eat it. I’ll leave the relevant links underneath if you’re interested in learning more about what else big pharmaceutical companies do and what amount of control over dietary guidelines the food industry has.