Pigeonholed Doctors

A story.  A medical doctor has been coming to terms with the idea that she may have been brainwashed for years regarding diet, particularly dietary carbohydrates (and even more specifically the dietary reliance on grains).  While she thought it was a benign misunderstanding, the intense undercurrent of hostility from the traditional believing experts in the medical community looms as threatening and leads her to wonder otherwise. 

(Nothing on this blog or in this post should be construed as medical advice.  It is only a story which may provide you with information to look up for yourself and discuss with your trusted healthcare professional.)

A conversation between a husband and wife, both physicians.  Their diet deviates from the recommendations of both the American Diabetic Association and the American Heart Association.—

Her (beseechingly):  I just don’t understand.  We know diabetes is a carbohydrate processing problem.  We know.  More carbohydrate, more insulin.  We know if we limit those patients’ carbs they might even get off their meds.  We know.
Him:  Well, that’s not standard of care.  If you were practicing and put one of your patients on your d—
Her (defensively):  It’s not MY diet.
Him:  Well, anyhow, it’s not accepted.  What if the guy died of a heart attack or something because of “your” diet (he always calls it “her” diet).  You would be held accountable because it’s not standard of care.  It’s not accepted.  It’s not what we do.
Her:  There are studies to support it.
Him:  Doesn’t matter.  That’s not what’s done.  You’re pigeonholed.
Her:  So I have to practice medicine according to some guidelines that were constructed, perhaps faultily, or else I’m liable–knowing that these diets are on to something and that I could help my diabetic patients?
Him:  Yep…

Well, she didn’t want to believe him.  How could medicine pigeonhole doctors that way?  If studies and evidence support a low carbohydrate diet in some situations, why shouldn’t a well-informed physician manage patients that way?  Why? 

Why shouldn’t they?  Because medical peers, so-called “experts” are issuing challenging, threatening words.  Here it is.  Just what “him” was talking about.  Some Norwegian medical doctors want to block their peers from prescribing low carbohydrate, high fat diets.  And they supply misleading, inaccurate information that does not appropriately reflect our current research knowledge.  From a blog called Doc’s Opinion, a post called Taxing Animal Fats is Necessary–Still Chasing the Usual Suspects.:

The message from the experts is clear: The fat diets are a threat to public health in Sweden…A question should be asked whether licensed physicians should be allowed to prescribe  LCHF [low carbohydrate, high fat], which is not supported by scientific studies.”

BUT THESE NORWEGIAN “EXPERTS” ARE NOT MENTIONING IMPORTANT INFORMATION.  Quickly searching, from the site Science News reporting on a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study, Losing Weight from either a Low-Carb or Low-Fat Diet Lowers Body Inflammation:

“Stewart [a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine] adds that there’s still some bias in the medical community against a low-carb diet, which, by definition has a higher percentage of fat and protein than a low-fat diet. In their study, 60 people, ages 30 to 65, who were either overweight or obese with excessive fat around their waist, were randomly assigned to go on a low-fat or a low-carb diet for six months. Each group also participated in exercise training three times a week…The participants on the low-carb diet lost more weight, on average, than those on the low-fat diet — 28 pounds versus 18 pounds. The low-carb diet group also had a greater drop in BMI (4.7 versus 2.9), and a greater drop in belly fat (14.3 versus 8.4 pounds). The level of aerobic fitness increased in both groups by about 20 percent.”

And for you to read a list of more studies supporting low carbohydrate diets specifically in Type 2 diabetes, check out here from the site Diabetic Mediterranean Diet, European Guidelines Not In Favor of Low Carbohydrate Diets for Diabetes.

Back to conversation:

Her:  Why are they fighting it so hard?

Him:  YOU DON’T KNOW WHY?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  They don’t care about your HEALTH…

And then we headed into some very political discussions regarding green stuff, sustainability, the Earth’s bulging population, poverty, lack of education, and so forth…

Earnestly wishing you health and a sense of well-being,  Terri

23 thoughts on “Pigeonholed Doctors

  1. myjourneythrume

    This sounds like a fun conversation to have with your hubby! This is why the world of alternative health and holistic nutritionists exists I guess…ever thought about retraining?! My ME specialist, leading neurologist in this field, highly inclusive in his approach to this illness, advocates NLP mind body medicine, use of light boxes etc etc but when it comes to diet his only advice is to eat small regular meals….only the tip of the ice berg doc, tip of the ice berg!

  2. Julie

    Ok, I had to share this on facebook page…it scares me how much people blindly do whatever they are told concerning THEIR health. I was pre-med all throughout highschool and all of college (except the last year when I just wanted to grqduate so I could stay home to school the kids and left with my “plan B” of Spanish, lol) anyway, I say that to say, I read a whole lot during my time there, esp in virolgy, etc and came to the conclusion with such phrases as “herd immunity, “etc that my health and my kids’ health was not always the top priority to the medical cmmunity.

    Thank you for being open and honest about this stuff!

    It was after I did a full on vaccination injury study that I decided I no longer wanted to be a traditional MD if ever I was to go down the route in the future (I was still open to nutritionist or DO), but right now I’m happy being home with the kids (where the real challenge lies). Anyway, here I go again writing a mini-essay in your comments, lol.

    Thanks again though!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Glad for your comments, always. Thank you! I really felt we were all doing the best we could with what we knew. Information is always changing, emerging, and takes forever to get down to the working doctors who try their “darndest” to do the right thing for their patients; most of us loved what we set out to do. However, when those physicians said that medical doctors who prescribe low carb/high fat were threatening their patients’ health and that there was no research to support those who did that, in my mind, that’s a lie and a threat to those who suggest Atkins/Paleo/ketogenic diets for their patients. I, being idealistic, don’t know what to think about that. Are they clueless? In denial? Have an agenda? Don’t read? It’s one thing to say, like I do, “one diet doesn’t work for everybody”, and something else entirely to dismiss and demonize an effective dietary regimen that is helping many people. Love hearing about your path to arrive at homeschooling, Spanish, and the bits on vaccinations! And thank you for your blog and the awareness it raises, also. Have a great week!

      1. Julie

        Oh definitely! We love our pediatrician whom we have seen for over 11 years (just not too much recently since we try to do things a lot more naturally nowadays)! It’s not to demonize anyone doing their jobs the best they can, but rather holding people accountable for their own health. Just like politics, people have to do their research as opposed to just voting party lines if they want someone who is going to be fighting for the things they care about. That’s all I meant… there are some fantastic doctors out there, but there are also lots of those in the “good ole boys’ club” that are not there for their patients as much (as your dh alluded to)…anyway, constant education is key, I think…and like you said not counting anything out until/unless it has absolutely been proven ineffective. Hope you have a great week too!

  3. Julie

    Ok, I am about to ask you to read something that may or may not make every muscle in your medical thinking mind cringe, but I’m only asking you to read this one post all the way through and then do some of your own research if you please afterwards. I know where I stand on this issue, but I just wanted to give you something to chew on while you are admitting the medical community makes mistakes sometimes. This post is written by someone outside of the medical community and aside from personal research I don’t believe she was ever trained in that way. Despite this AND knowing this, I still think she has some important things to say and share. (I sent her a copy of your post also) Even if you completely disagree (we will still be friends 🙂 ) Let me know what you think…if you dare, lol!


    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Skimmed through it. Vaccination is definitely a huge, complex topic. Doctors in the trenches still think they are key and are a bit perplexed by parents who deviate. We know no better, and trust the reviews given to us without perusing the dozens of primary articles that exist on any given topic. It is certainly an area for me to explore, one of hundreds of areas to work through reading for myself. Thanks for passing it on and reminding me to add this to the list. I do have “kindergarten shots” due to come up soon.

      1. Julie

        Yes, it is something that many do just because they are assured it is the best thing for them. I think it is a personal choice for each family to make, but I definitely think people should research it before making either decision. One of the things that did sway my decision was looking at the ingredients in some of the vaccines (aborted fetal tissue, etc…which our ped (who is catholic) said, “Well, that’s just how they make them” as if that was supposed to be reassuring, lol… I didn’t want to put aborted baby in my baby, so to speak. That ingredient is listed by a code name by WI-38, MRC-5, HEK-293, RA27/3, and probably others I don’t know of). Dr. Mercola’s website (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/10/this-shocking-fact-is-never-disclosed-on-any-vaccine-informed-consent-form.aspx) is a great resource, although probably viewed as eccentric in the medical community.

        However, my view on that is that the disciples were viewed as eccentric in their day, but we as Christians follow them. So, just because something stands out, doesn’t necessarily prove it wrong.

        Anyway, yes there are so many things we have to learn and re-learn …probably too many in one lifetime! So, learning what we can and letting God fill in the blanks has been kind of my outlook on it all, lol. Ok, gotta run! Hope you’re having a great week!

      2. Julie

        Haha, that’s good 🙂 A little bit of research never hurt anyone, right? . . . don’t quote me on that though, lol!

        And, one more completely unrelated question I had for you was: In one of your posts you talk about how certain foods on/off the GAPS diet (which, I have been wondering, are you guys on this diet?) will affect your body.

        Well, I have a child that has extremely bad gas all day (esp bothersome in car rides…eek!) and who burps louder than a man (although she has somewhat tamed this habit in recent weeks, whereas before it seemed out of her control) and I may have been dreaming, but I got the impression (from a post of yours about what types of foods aggravate or help some people [for lack of a better description]) that apples were bothersome to people with this type of situation? (She eats lots of apples, and I think some of the other foods you had mentioned too).

        I’m sorry, I know this is a very vague question… so good luck trying to answer it…lol 😉

      3. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Good morning! That post may have referred to FODMAPS. Apples are great fruits! However, some people’s GI tracts may have difficulty with them due to the natural sugar alcohols (not like wine, vodka, etc, LOL) in them called polyols. If the polyol s are not broken down in the small intestine where they should be or as much as they should be, they make it further down the GI tract to be fermented by the abundant bacteria that live in the colon. Thus gas. And perhaps bloating and abdominal distention and diarrhea (or even constipation) for some. Also, just the abrasiveness of the peel can cause some GI issues and the salicylates that live naturally under the peel can cause some GI discomfort, too. So I try to peel my fruit, but other people thrive on the “fiber.” On the other hand, apples are abundant in pectin, which allows the bacteria in the colon to make beneficial substances our body needs called short chain fatty acids. So, to make a long story short, she may have increased gas and burping due to fruit, yes. I have one like that. But she’s a happy child and if it doesn’t bother her and all else looks good, we make no changes. When she’s older and concerned about that stuff, she’ll have the information she needs to make some dietary changes if she chooses. Did I run around Robin’s barn to answer nothing? Well, I tried! 🙂 Happy weekend!

      4. Julie

        No, that was a great answer!! Thank you! I’m glad you knew what I was referring to!

        Now, I’m just now wondering though …we started making our own Kombucha (fermented probiotic tea) a few months ago and I wonder if that has in some way helped with the burping? I don’t know if that would be related or unrelated…

        Anyway, no I don’t think she minds making us all gag in the car…I think you’re right, it makes her happy…lol… (I know what ya really meant) so, I won’t change anything 😀

      5. Julie

        Yeah, it seems like Kombucha can be very finicky at times…I am a member of a fb group that is dedicated to at home kombucha brewers and there are people on there who have explosions in their kitchen almost every time they make it (due to excessive fizziness) and ppl like me who would be lucky to get a little fizz… there is also a lady who started experiencing dizziness/headaches …but, most of us agree that her scoby (symbionic culture of bacteria and yeast) must be too old or that she over-fermented it making it more alcoholic…anyway, kombucha is a funny thing…and everyone’s seems to be different (I don’t really care for store bought anymore, but if you have a good farmer’s market where you live, you may find someone there who sells a good one)… Anyway, Happy Sunday and have a great week!!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I hear you about the change! My husband and I, too (have had good results). We tease his partner who runs marathons about changing his diet; did you have a brief physical adjustment period? I’m just frustrated I had “no idea” before the last year about this! All the best to you and your endeavors! Thanks for dropping a comment!

      1. All Seasons Cyclist

        About a week into the diet I did have an really bad day on the bike, but quickly got over it. Endurance athletes cannot follow a strict Paleo Diet — muscle glycogen stores would be depleted too quickly. I wrote of book review for “The Paleo Diet For Athletes” at:

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thinking aloud: I still don’t know if I side with my husband or not (idealist versus cynicist). The doctors working in the trenches do care. So WHO doesn’t? Some experts on some guideline panels? Some experts conducting and overseeing research? I don’t know. But clearly SOMEBODY’S inflexibility is a disservice to some patients’ health.


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