CVS, Cigarettes and Saturated Fat
Let’s see … I need some cashews and pistachios. Where shall I go get them at a good price, Walgreen’s or CVS?
Used to be, I’d go to Walgreens, but I’m having second thoughts. Two recent events have made me wonder if I shouldn’t change my shopping choice:
Choosing a drugstore
1. News stories that Walgreens planned to engage in tax inversion, the process of reincorporating overseas to pay a lower tax rate. The company reversed course and decided to abandon that plan. But it demonstrated a cavalier attitude toward the welfare of the United States.
2. CVS never contemplated such a move – at least not publicly. But more important, the drugstore chain decided to discontinue sales of cigarettes. Company officials estimated a $2 billion loss in sales. It was a bold step, setting a precedent for other retail establishments. If a sufficient number of others followed suit, it could put a sizable dent in cigarette smoking, which in turn would reduce incidences of heart disease, lung cancer and other ailments. The savings in health-care costs could be significant.
Up in a puff of smoke
Cariann Moore, an American Lung Association official in Florida, remarked that less visibility of cigarettes could help keep young people from picking up the habit. “The less people see of it, the less access they have to it, will make an impact,” she said. And CVS is promoting smoking cessation with other methods, such as stocking kits containing coupons, a booklet of mazes and games to serve as distractions from smoking, and information on the savings in money from not smoking.
There is a method to CVS’ modus operandi that is not money madness. The corporation, which changed its full name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health, is working to position itself as the place to stop and shop for healthy products and services. The chain already operates 900 mini-medical clinics providing such basic services as blood pressure checks and flu vaccines, allowing customers to bypass their doctors.
Fat too, Brute?
CVS has hit on something big, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that food processors could latch onto the same idea in their industry, at far less risk of losing sales. What leading alternative doctors have preached for decades about the myth of saturated fat’s harming the body has enormous potential for turning into a plus for food manufacturers willing to defy conventional wisdom and tell the truth to consumers. The truth is that mainstream medicine’s condemnation of saturated fat for allegedly causing heart problems and weight gain is a colossal myth. The first leak in the impermeable dam of false information came in February 2010, when the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Center in California reported on its meta-analysis of 21 studies involving 348,000 participants, which showed no difference in heart disease between high and low consumers of saturated fat. The American Heart Association said it shouldn’t be taken seriously, the media ignored it, and it was forgotten. Then, in March this year, the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine reported the same findings from a mega-analysis of 72 studies involving more than 650,000 participants in 18 countries. Finally, the media paid attention. The New York Times immediately carried a story, and the Wall Street Journal followed a couple of months later. Then Time magazine ran a cover story, declaring that its condemnation of saturated fat and cholesterol in the 1950s and again in 1984 was based on “junk science” it had been fed. Saturated fat and cholesterol are not harmful, these media reported. Top alternative doctors say these two substances not only are not deleterious, but in fact are conducive to good health.
The fat fallacy
Edgar Allen Poe
How long have we heard that medical “experts” have scratched their heads, trying to understand why the French, consumers of high-fat foods, had low incidence of heart disease or obesity? It reminds one of Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Purloined Letter, in which the thief who stole a letter placed it in open view smack on the dining room table, where, he reasoned, it would be ignored by everyone – which it was. It has never occurred to these so-called experts that the reason the French don’t experience bad effects from fat is because fat isn’t harmful. Duh!
Fat fact labeling
Think what would happen if a major food manufacturer were to put these facts on its product labels. Others likely would look into the research findings and be emboldened to print them on labels. They would be doing what most of the media have failed to do: educating the public to the truth, which most of the media have failed to do. An Associated Press writer just this week provided a recipe for blueberry muffins that supposedly was healthy because it was low in fat. When are these people going to learn? The writer’s own employer, AP, reported on the fat findings. One would think newspapers across the country would have jumped on that story and plastered it all over their front pages, informing people they’d been deluded for 60 years or so. Huh-uh. No AP story in my local paper, the Palm Beach Post, and no one I encounter has heard about it. No wonder newspapers are folding right and left. They don’t give their readers the most important news.
Master of your fat — er, fate
The lesson here is that the public in America and throughout the Western world has been misled for many decades about what is best for people’s health. One cannot trust doctors to be correctly informed, for they have been brain-washed by the medical schools that trained them. To learn the truth about health and medicine, one must do one’s own research. It takes a bit of work, but the health benefits are enormous.