Something New for Those Using Insulin: Part D Senior Savings Model

Starting in 2021 there is a new program for Medicare beneficiaries that use insulin. I have pulled this information from

CMS’s Part D Senior Savings Model is designed to address President Trump’s promise to lower prescription drug costs and provide Medicare patients with new choices of Part D plans that offer insulin at an affordable and predictable cost where a month’s supply of a broad set of plan-formulary insulins costs no more than $35 each.

The idea here is that the user of insulin would pay no more than $35 per month for each insulin that he/she uses. Costs such as the deductible and the coverage gap (doughnut hole) will not apply

CMS is testing a change to the Medicare Coverage Gap Discount Program (the “discount program”) to allow Part D sponsors, through eligible enhanced alternative plans, to offer a Part D benefit design that includes predictable copays in the deductible, initial coverage, and coverage gap phases by offering supplemental benefits that apply after manufacturers provide a discounted price for a broad range of insulins included in the Model.

The Model aims to reduce Medicare expenditures while preserving or enhancing quality of care for beneficiaries, and to provide beneficiaries with additional Part D plan choices, both for beneficiaries who receive Part D coverage through standalone Prescription Drug plans (PDPs) and those who receive Part D coverage through Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug plans (MA-PDs). These Model-participating plan benefit packages (PBPs) will provide stable, predictable copays for certain insulins that beneficiaries need throughout the different phases of the Part D benefit.

The article lists the participating pharmaceutical manufacturers.

  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Novo Nordisk, Inc. and Novo Nordisk Pharma, Inc.
  • Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC

Please click here to bring up a list of the insulin brands available for the Senior Savings model.

The CMS article also recommends the use of for finding plans that are participating in the program.

To pull up a 50-state, complete list of participating prescription drug plans (PDPs) and Medicare advantage (MA) plans, please click here.

The upshot of all of this is that you should have us shop your prescriptions on, especially if you are using insulin, pens or vials. To do this, please use to send us a list of your prescriptions, and we’ll take it from there. End

Medicare Advantage and MSA Plan News

Medicare Advantage (HMO & PPO) Plans

In general, we have noticed that the premiums have remained about the same. Be sure to look over your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC). Most companies will give you a side by side comparison of 2020 and 2021 benefits. Some plans have increased a few dollars and others have had minimal decreases.

Various plans have increased their offerings of dental, so be sure to see what benefits your plan offers. Some plans offer an optional supplemental benefits package in the $25-30 monthly premium range. These packages usually include dental, vision, and hearing benefits.

One company had a $50 copay for joining Silver and Fit. They have dropped that for 2021. Some plans now include a meals benefit after a hospital discharge. Again, be sure to consult your ANOC for specifics.

Medical Savings Account (MSA) – a different type of Medicare Advantage Plan

What are MSA plans and how to do they work?

An MSA is a high-deductible health insurance plan combined with a savings account that you can use to pay for your health care costs. Since this is a type of Medicare plan, Medicare provides the funding. has a handy 10 step breakdown of how MSAs work.

  1. Choose and join a high-deductible Medicare MSA Plan.
  2. You set up an MSA with a bank the plan selects.
  3. Medicare gives the plan an amount of money each year for your health care.
  4. The plan deposits some money into your account.
  5. You can use the money in your account to pay your health care costs, including health care costs that aren’t covered by Medicare. When you use account money for Medicare-covered Part A and Part B services, it counts towards your plan’s deductible.
  6. If you use all of the money in your account and you have additional health care costs, you’ll have to pay for your Medicare-covered services out-of-pocket until you reach your plan’s deductible.
  7. During the time you’re paying out-of-pocket for services before the deductible is met, doctors and other providers can’t charge you more than the Medicare-approved amount.
  8. After you reach your deductible, your plan will cover your Medicare-covered services. Read information from the plan for details about out-of-pocket costs.
  9. Money left in your account at the end of the year stays in the account and may be used for health care costs in future years.
  10. If you use funds from your account, you must include this special form [PDF, 89.4 KB] with information on how you used your account money when you file taxes.

The available states in the West are now MT, WY, UT, AZ, NV, NM, and OR. Unfortunately, MSA plans are currently not available in WA, ID, CA, and CO.

How MSA plans work

When you see your medical provider, you present your MSA ID card to your provider’s billing office. The provider bills the MSA plan. The bill comes back to you, and you pay you provider from your debit card account. Meanwhile, the MSA plan applies that amount to your deductible. Never pay your provider prior to them billing the MSA plan.

MSA plans do not provide prescription drug coverage. Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in an MSA plan and who also wish to have drug coverage, will need to enroll in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan.


Q: Where do MSA plans get the money to set up my debit card account?

A: Remember, Medicare advantage (MA) plans are privatized Medicare plans. Let’s say that an MA plan without Rx coverage receives around $800 per person per month from Medicare to provide your health coverage. Out of that, MSA plans can fund your debit card account.

Q: Let’s say I spend $500 on doctor bills for 2021, what happens to the $1,500 still remaining in my debit card account?

A: Your unused funds rollover and will be available for a future year. This is not a “use it or lose it” deal. If you don’t use it, it rolls over.

Q: What happens if I exhaust my debit card account and still have more medical bills?

A: Your responsibility is to cover your bills until you reach your deductible. Once you have met your deductible, your MSA plan pays 100% of your Medicare approved expenses for the remainder of the year.

Q: What about networks. Am I restricted to a doctor network?

A: There are no networks with MSA plans. Most any provider that works with Medicare should be willing to accept your MSA plan. That’s great news for snowbirds or those who travel to other states.

Q: What about preventative checkups? How are they covered?

A: Unlike other Medicare advantage plans, there are no, zero copay physicals or other preventative services. Your provider will bill the plan, and then you’ll pay your physician from your debit card account.

Q: Can I use my MSA funds to pay for vision or dental services?

A: Yes. In addition, you can also use your MSA account for hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, prescription copays, and long-term care expenses. Please note: Using money in your account to pay for health care costs that aren’t covered by Medicare will not count toward your MSA plan’s deductible.

Q: Who can enroll in an MSA plan?

A: Most people who are on Medicare Parts A and B and reside in a state where an MSA plan is offered are eligible to sign up. You will need to decide if the program is right for you. There are some people that are ineligible to enroll in the MSA program. These exceptions primarily are those receiving VA or Medicaid benefits.

The following are some of the reasons why Medicare beneficiaries have enrolled in an MSA program.

  • Those that like the idea of a no premium plan.
  • Those that live in a county where no other Medicare advantage (MA) plans are offered. Many of the sparsely populated counties of Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon have no other MA plans to choose from.
  • Those that do little or infrequent doctoring.
  • Those that like the idea of having funds available for dental or vision.
  • Those that prefer to have their own standalone Part D Prescription (PDP) plan.
  • Those who are looking for an alternative to their Medicare supplement plan and don’t want or can’t get a standard HMO or PPO Medicare Advantage plan.

Important Information for Existing MSA plan Members

If you are already a member of an MSA plan, your membership for 2021 will automatically renew. Be sure to read your annual notice of change to keep informed of any changes to your plan. The MSA company is also offering a second version of their plan with a larger debit deposit and a larger deductible. Please contact us for details.


Please contact us with questions about this MSA plan or your interest in any other Medicare advantage plan. There are some situations where a switch to the MSA plan may be a good fit for your situation. Here are some examples.

Case #1: Alice is in her 90s and is on an old Plan F with a premium of over $300 per month. She has a medical condition which makes it difficult for her to switch to another Medicare supplement plan. She lives in a sparsely populated county that has no other Medicare advantage plans. He out-of-pocket will hundreds of dollars less than the annual $3,600 Medsupp premium.

Case #2: Martha has Medicare supplement Plan L. Since there is a fair amount of cost-sharing with Plan L, the maximum circuit breaker limit rises to $3,110 in 2021. By the time she adds in her annual premium for Plan L and her cost-sharing, she could be out hundreds more with Plan L compared to the MSA plan.

Case #3: Bill has Medicare supplement Plan K. In 2020 his circuit breaker limit is $6,220. That’s more than double of what him maximum out-of-pocket would be with the MSA plan.

Case # 4: Shirley’s Plan F has climbed to $200 monthly, and she would like to shop for a lower cost Medsupp. Unfortunately, she has a COPD diagnosis making it impossible for her to switch to a lower cost Medsupp. The MSA plan may be a good alternative for her. There is no medical underwriting.

Please contact us for complete details to see if the MSA plan is a good fit for you. End

Arming the Elderly: A Self-Defense Guide for Senior Citizens


For several years we have discussed important health issues in Northwest Senior News. Without question, maintaining optimum physical health in the later years, or the 4th quarter as I like to say, can lend to a more enjoyable retirement.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent violence of the riots and protests, I think it’s relevant to look at another critically important issue, and that is our personal safety.

I sure many of you saw the ugly video of an unprovoked attack on a 92-year-old New York City woman by a man with a rap sheet a mile long. His strike knocked the woman down, and she hit her head on a fire hydrant as she fell. If you care to review this tragic incident, you can click here for a YouTube video of it. Caution: The scene is disturbing.

I came across an article authored by Molly Carter on titled Arming the Elderly: A Self-Defense Guide for Senior Citizens. Please click on the link to view the complete write-up. I have summarized her key points.

Carter explains that 14 percent of seniors in the past year have experienced either physical, psychological, or sexual abuse; neglect; or financial exploitation. That’s alarming!

I know of two or our clients that were scammed by email or phony business venture schemes. They were financially exploited. Do NOT open any emails requesting personal information such as your phone number, date of birth, Social Security number, or any passwords. If in doubt, still do NOT open it. Have a knowledgeable person look it first! Don’t let them tease your curiosity!

The author lists twelve tips to avoid becoming an easy target.

  • Walk with purpose.
  • Keep your eyes up.
  • Know where the exits are.
  • Watch for suspicious people.
  • Avoid places that are known to be unsafe.
  • Don’t go places alone.
  • Run errands during the day.
  • Don’t linger in isolated places.
  • Don’t be distracted.
  • Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep your keys in your hand, ready to go.

I think these tips could summed up as situational awareness. Know what’s going on around you and be observant.

Carter encourages you not to be overly trusting. For example, you don’t want to open your door for someone that needs to “borrow” your phone.

She provides several other safety tips. This one deserves special attention: Improve your chances of evading criminals by staying active and fit. Seniors who live active lifestyles are faster, stronger, and have quicker reaction times than their peers. I’ll add that those who conduct themselves in this manner will be much less of a target for the bad guys.

That’s another reason to stay in robust health, keeping your weight at normal levels, and to stay physically fit. Evading danger is much easier for those that are.

The author discusses personal protection. She suggests walking with your fist wrapped around your keys with one key sticking out between your knuckles. This gives you a solid, makeshift weapon that can be used as a knife to slice or puncture. [This is more directed to people living in larger urban areas.]

A person can carry items such as a police whistle, a flashlight, mace [pepper spray] and a personal alarm.

She next discusses fighting or martial arts tips. Evading the confrontation is the first strategy. If the attacker demands your bag, don’t hand it to him. Throw it at his feet. That way he can’t grab your arm as easily. If you do end up in a fight, fight “as dirty as you can” Carter suggests. Poke his eyes, hit him in the balls, and punch him in the nose. If you are attacked from behind, throw your head backwards to throw the perp off his balance.

Carry a Concealed Weapon

Concealed carry is obviously a personal decision. Carter states three important considerations if you decide to carry.

  1. Have the right weapon.
  2. Be comfortable with it.
  3. Be willing to do what it takes.

Her main caution for semi-automatic pistols is that some seniors may not have the manual dexterity or strength to operate the slide. Her caution for revolvers is the finger strength required for the long pull. If you carry or decide to have a handgun at home, you will need to determine which one is best for you.

She next lists some recommended pistols and revolvers. She cautions against small-caliber hand guns for self-defense such as .22s because they don’t have enough stopping power. However, she stresses that “carrying a small gun is better than no gun at all.

I’ll comment that .22s have still killed lots of people. I have a former student that accidentally shot his 10 year-old brother in the back with a .22. It killed him.

Overcoming Obstacles and Limitations

The author emphasizes that it’s a smart idea to know your limitations when choosing a firearm to carry. A few issues that she mentions are arthritis, limited range of motion, poor eyesight, and any type of chronic pain.

One handy option for those dealing with vision issues is the consideration of having a laser light on your handgun. Carter offers the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .38 with the built-in laser light as an example.

If Something Bad Does Happen

If something does happen, be sure to report it to the proper authorities. She refers to an article on the FBI’s website titled Scams And Safety. Carter states that seniors can and should protect themselves. End

How do I sign up for Medicare Part B if I already have Part A?

Most readers here have already been on Medicare Part B either recently or for several years. However, maybe you have a spouse/partner, or know someone else who has Medicare Part A (Hospital) but not Part B (Medical). Please pass this information on to those that are needing help to sign up for Medicare Part B. This is especially applicable during this COVID lockdown time when in-person visitation to your local Social Security Administration office has either been difficult or impossible.

The following paragraphs are from the FAQ section on the Social Security Administration’s website:

How do I sign up for Medicare Part B if I already have Part A?

If you are already enrolled in Medicare Part A and you would like to enroll in Part B, please complete form CMS-40B, Application for Enrollment in Medicare – Part B (Medical Insurance). If you are applying for Medicare Part B due to a loss of employment or group health coverage, you will also need to complete form CMS-L564 (Request for Employment Information).

You may complete the forms online by visiting the Apply for Medicare Part B Online During a Special Enrollment Period webpage; fax them to 1-833-914-2016; or return the forms by mail to your local Social Security office. If you have questions, please contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Note: When completing the forms CMS 40B and CMS L564:

  • State “I want Part B coverage to begin (MM/YY)” in the remarks section of the CMS 40B form or online application.
  • If your employer is unable to complete Section B, please complete that portion as best as you can on behalf of your employer without your employer’s signature.
  • Also submit one of the following forms of secondary evidence:
  • Income tax returns that show health insurance premiums paid.
  • W-2s reflecting pre-tax medical contributions.
  • Pay stubs that reflect health insurance premium deductions.
  • Health insurance cards with a policy effective date.
  • Explanations of benefits paid by the GHP or LGHP.
  • Statements or receipts that reflect payment of health insurance premiums.

Are Hand Sanitizers Safe to Use?

by Lance D. Reedy

Because of the COVID-19 virus, hand sanitizers have been flying off the store shelves. However, just how safe are they? For a while, antibacterial hand soaps were all the rage. When the news came out that the triclosan, the active ingredient, was helping to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria, smart shoppers discontinued purchasing these products. Are there similar issues with hand-sanitizers?

Several months ago, I was at my local optician’s shop, and I noticed a bottle of Purell sitting on the counter. I had never used the product before. Wanting to try it, I squirted a dob into my hands and started rubbing it all over. I thought maybe it was a gel that you would wipe on and wipe off. The gal said, “No, you just rub it in.” To my amazement the thick liquid just disappeared.

That triggered my thinking…besides alcohol, what’s in these products? Are the ingredients safe, or are there some downsides?

Of the good, the bad and the ugly concerning hand sanitizers, let’s looks at the ugly first. This headline appeared on

FDA issues warning over certain hand sanitizers due to potentially toxic chemicals

The article explains that products made by Mexican-based Eskbiochem may contain methanol. Methanol (wood alcohol) was sold as moonshine and is toxic if taken orally. The article says the following about methanol:

Significant exposure to the chemical can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death, the FDA’s warning reads.

That’s ugly for sure. The article lists the various brand names marketed by Eskbiochem. Hmm, names like CleanCare NOGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer sounds innocent enough. Buyer beware. Let’s move on to another article.

FDA tells hand sanitizer producers to make it unpalatable after surge in poison control calls

It looks like people are drinking the stuff because it has alcohol in it. Yuck! Because of that, the FDA is encouraging the manufacturers to add ingredients to the sanitizer that would make it unpalatable. You’d think it’s unpalatable already. We’ll move on as I don’t think any of our readers are foolish enough to drink hand sanitizer.

Here’s another article: Get coronavirus-fighting hand sanitizer from these unexpected brands

Due to the demand for hand sanitizer, other manufacturers have jumped into the fray. Please refer to the above article for a rundown on the 16 brands listed.

Before using any of those products, a smart idea is to check out the ingredients to ascertain if they are safe to apply on your skin. Are there any hormone disrupters buried in the list of ingredients? Some of these may be relatively safe, and others may have questionable ingredients.

What about the Ingredients in Purell and other sanitizers?

From DailyMed, Purell’s hand sanitizer’s ingredients are as follows:

Water, Isopropyl alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Fragrance (Parfum)

When you rub Purell or other similar products into your hands as if you were washing them with soap and water, you coat both sides of your hands, and whatever these ingredients are, they soak into your skin. Just how safe are they?

Concern #1: An article from Newsweek is titled, Hand Sanitizer Speeds Absorption of BPA From Receipts. Whoops, BPA is a known hormone disrupter. The freshly applied hand sanitizer serves as a vehicle to better enable the BPA on the electronic cash register receipts to be absorbed into your body.

You walk into the store and slather hand sanitizer on your hands thinking you’re safer. As you complete your purchase, you handle the register receipt. You may have unwittingly enabled some BPA to soak into your skin.

Concern #2: An article on is titled– 5 Hidden Dangers of Hand Sanitizers. The introduction reads as follows: Hand sanitizer has been used during the coronavirus outbreak to battle the spread. Like anything, use in moderation.

It sounds pretty simple as an alternative to washing your hands with soap and water. It’s quick, portable, and convenient, especially when you don’t have running water nearby. Hand sanitizer or hand antiseptic is a supplement that comes in gel, foam, or liquid solutions.”

Easy-peasy and simple, right? Maybe. Here are 5 hidden dangers.

#1: Toxic chemicals: “If your hand sanitizer is scented, then it’s likely loaded with toxic chemicals. Companies aren’t required to disclose the ingredients that make up their secret scents, and therefore generally are made from dozens of chemicals.”

Synthetic fragrances contain phthalates, which are endocrine disrupters that mimic hormones and could alter genital development.”

#2: Weaker Immune System: “Studies have shown that triclosan can also harm the immune system, which protects your body against disease.”

#3: Hormone Disruption: Another effect of triclosan is interfering with your body’s hormones.

#4: Alcohol Poisoning: “Just because it doesn’t have triclosan, doesn’t mean it’s completely safe.

#5: Antibiotic Resistance: While the COVID-19 virus is not bacterial, creating more antibiotic resistant bacteria is a bad idea. If you contract a bacterial infection, now your immune system may be more compromised, which could make you more susceptible to contracting the virus.

Purell rated by

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates hundreds of products with a graphic consisting of four categories:

  • Cancer
  • Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity
  • Allergies & Immunotoxicity
  • Use Restrictions

The overall rating for Original Purell Hand Sanitizer is 4, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst.

The concern for Cancer and Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity is low. Allergies & Immunotoxicity is rated high. Use Restrictions is rated as moderate.

It appears that Purell is one of the least bad of the hand sanitizers.

What’s good? Of course, it’s going to be something homemade where you know what going into it meaning no questionable chemicals

Coronavirus hand sanitizer you can make at home — and it’s doctor-approved

The recipe is pretty basic: However, it didn’t say how much distilled water to add.

  • 2/3 of rubbing alcohol
  • 1/3 of Aloe Vera Gel
  • 5 drops of essential oil
  • Distilled Water

One hand sanitizer that I have seen, and find to be less objectionable, is Dr. Bronner’s – Organic Hand Sanitizer Spray. They have the following verbiage on their website:

Our Organic Hand Sanitizer kills germs with a simple formula: organic ethyl alcohol, water, organic lavender oil, and organic glycerin—that’s it! None of the nasty chemicals you find in conventional sanitizers, but just as effective…

This looks to be safer compared to some of the above-listed hand-sanitizers. One concern, however, is the link between hand sanitizers and BPA absorption. If it’s the use of ethyl alcohol, Dr. Bronner’s could still cause a problem if you handle cash register receipts.

A hand sanitizer-less solution or soap on the go.

I have carried a one-ounce, small plastic bottle filled with Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap. I can use is in a public restroom. It’s incredible how well a few drops of this liquid soap will lather-up.

I have also used it while traveling. I can step out of my car, lather up with Dr. Bronner’s, rinse off with a water bottle, and dry off with a small hand towel. If you have someone with you, he/she can dribble the rinse water on your hands. You can also use a spray bottle filled with water only, for rinsing. This is a terrific way to wash you hands while on the go when there is no running water available.

Note: I have no affiliation with and nor do I have any financial stake in any of the products mentioned in this article.

Conclusion: There is no question that good hand sanitation is a smart idea, not just because of the COVID-19 virus but for preventing other cold or flu bugs. Good hand hygiene is also a wise idea before eating, especially if you will be touching food.

We have heard the admonitions, “Don’t touch your face.” Sometimes that’s hard to avoid when you have an itch, need to rub your nose, or need to rub out some dried tear junk from the corner of your eye. Keeping your hands clean certainly will lessen to chance of getting a bug when you do touch your face.

Soap and water is the consensus as the optimal way to clean your hands. Hand sanitizers come in second place. You’ll have to decide the risk verses benefit of using these products. If you do use a hand sanitizer, for sure, do your due diligence and choose the safest (or least bad) products. End

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 3, The War on Fat

by Dr. Bruce Fife


Recap of Chapter 2:

Dr. Fife enumerated the importance of fat in our diets. He also explained that if we do not get enough cholesterol in our diets, our livers will produce what our bodies need. He detailed how our ancestors ate real food, but when they started to transition to refined, Western diets, degenerative diseases set in.

Chapter 3

The Heart Disease Epidemic

My Comments: This chapter details one of the greatest health-related tragedies in American history. This is the promulgation of the diet-heart-hypothesis, also known as the lipid or cholesterol hypothesis. The adoption of this misguided hypothesis has only led to increased heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, strokes, and thousands upon thousands of pre-mature deaths.

Starting: In colder climates hunter-gatherers subsisted primarily on meat and fat. Those in warmer climates ate less meat as they had more access to plant food. The human body was well adjusted to eating and thriving on diets rich in saturated fats and cholesterol.

Not only was heart disease extremely rare in these societies, the first documented case of heart disease was in Britain in 1878. Dr. Paul Dudley, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s personal physician, graduated from medical school in 1910. He commented about heart disease being a rare, new disease. Consider these statistics:

1910-1920: 10 deaths per 100,000 per year were due to heart disease.

By 1930: 46 deaths per 100,000 per year due to heart disease.

By 1970 the death rate had increased to 331 per 100,000.

That means that the death rate had increased 30-fold over a 60-year span! By 1950, heart disease had become the number one killer in the US. Fife suggests that the change was due to diet. Researchers in the 1950s noted that wealthier people had more access to fat in their diets, so they thought that fat might be a contributing factor to heart disease.

In 1953 Ancel Keys wrote a paper that gave credence to the connection between fat and heart disease. Keys later refined the idea and came up with the diet-heart-hypothesis. By 1957 he came up with his (in)famous Seven Countries Studies. The gist of it suggested that as the diets in countries had an increased intake of fat, their heart disease rates also went up. Keys had seemingly linked fat intake to heart disease rates.

Keys actually studied 22 countries, but he deceptively threw out results that didn’t conform to his theory. For example, he did not include France and Germany as they had high fat intake but how heart disease rates. Other researchers questioned Keys’ results, but by this time Keys had become a media darling.

The cholesterol hypothesis was immediately hailed as the long-sought cause of heart disease. Many doctors were quick to accept the new hypothesis, as it provided a seemingly logical and convenient answer to the heart disease mystery.

What’s also interesting about Ancel Keys is another study that he did in 1953. He measured the cholesterol levels in men. Twenty-year-old men had a cholesterol level of 190. Seventy-year-old men had a cholesterol level around 265. He discovered that cholesterol levels increased with age. However, this did not fit his cholesterol-heart-disease hypothesis, so he quietly discarded this study.

My Comments: One of the major takeaways I remember from Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s The Great Cholesterol Myth is the meta study (studies of several studies) of the connection between cholesterol levels and all-cause mortality. All-cause mortality means causes of ALL deaths and not just deaths due to heart disease.

The researchers looked at four cholesterol levels. (1) 250+, (2) 200-249, (3) 160-199, and (4) below 160. Those in group (1) had the lowest all-cause mortality while those in group (4) had the highest all-cause mortality. If this is true and if Keys’ discarded study is true, then why are so many doctors still trying to lower the cholesterol levels of their otherwise healthy patients?

Continuing: Keys’ fame from finding what was believed to be the key to heart disease rolled on. He appeared on Time magazine’s front cover. He published his first book, Eat Well and Stay Well, in 1959.

Keys had one problem, however. There was a British research professor, John Yudkin, who was also studying the causes of heart disease. In a nutshell, Yudkin’s studies pointed the finger at sugar, refined sugar, of course.

One way that Keys brushed off Yudkin’s counter claims was by suggesting that sugar was just carbs.

The effects of the different types of carbs wasn’t generally recognized at the time, so sugar wasn’t seriously considered.

Sugar intake doubled from 1909 to 1999, and the type of fats people were eating also changed. Vegetable oil (really seed oil) consumption increased while the consumption of animal fat decreased. Yudkin saw the connection between the increase in sugar consumption and heart disease in modern civilization.

Keys won the battle with Yudkin as Keys vilified him and referred to his studies as a “mountain of nonsense.” He accused Yudkin of issuing “propaganda from the meat and dairy industry.” Never mind the fact that Keys’ main financial backer was the sugar industry. Meanwhile, Yudkin was a mild-mannered university professor simply trying to get the truth out. He was not combative as was Keys. In the end, Yudkin’s scientific reputation was ruined, and he had now become an embarrassment to the University of London.

Keys discarded later studies that showed inconclusive or unfavorable results to his diet-heart-hypothesis. The Minnesota Coronary study found that the greater the drop in cholesterol, the higher the risk of death during the trial. For complete details of the Ancel Keys’ saga, please read pages 33-45.

My Comments: Keys claimed in essence that “science” said his diet-heart-hypothesis was true. First off, science, doesn’t say anything. Scientists, mortal human beings, make claims or assertions, based on conclusions they draw from studying any particular topic.

The lesson to be learned here is that when anyone doggedly asserts that “science says” or “the science behind it  says,” we should ask ourselves, What is, if any, the agenda behind what said person is promoting. Keys’ agenda was obviously fame and fortune. He retired a wealthy man. Yudkins’ agenda was seeking out the truth. Generally speaking, the agendas behind the phony science-reliance are either financial, political or both.

Another point to be learned here is to observe how the accuser is actually projecting his own dirty secrets when attacking someone else’s credibility. Keys accused Yudkin of “propaganda” and being supported by the meat and dairy industry. In fact, it was Keys promoting the propaganda, and it was Keys that was secretly being supported by an industrial (the sugar industry) lobbying group.

Continuing: Dr. Fife continues by explaining that the Keys-Yudkin rivalry was far more than just a professional one. It was a carefully orchestrated scheme to discredit Yudkin and his theory. Through Keys, the sugar industry succeeded in diverting suspicion away from sugar as a possible cause of heart disease and placing the blame squarely on saturated fat.

The sugar villains formed their “research” councils and they sponsored conferences. In one conference, Lipton’s Brisk tea, containing 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving, was recommended for diabetes! No kidding!

Yes, the plot was to influence medical research, government agencies, and public opinion. A hidden, re-discovered sugar industry memo acknowledging that sugar is fattening, causes cavities, and causes diabetes outlined the following propaganda campaign: Destroy those “fallacies” and at the same time convince the people of the wholesome qualities of sugar. Among their other villainous deeds, the sugar industry also eviscerated John Yudkin.

Here’s where it went political. Keys got his allies (cronies?) on boards of various governmental and medical organizations to promote the sugar industry’s interests. Among these were:

  • American Heart Association (AHA)
  • National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others

My Comment: This lesson serves as a good example that it behooves us to perk up our ears when some association, organization, or governmental agency is stridently advocating a certain diet or health position. Again, we should ask, “What’s their agenda?”

The member information mailers from my own Medicare company still parrots the following about diet and nutrition. “Watch your cholesterol and fat intake. Eat lean meats and use sugar moderately.” Cholesterol and fat are still baddies, while some sugar is okay. Why can’t they say, “Avoid all refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup products.” The writers of such publications still have their heads buried in the false sugar industry propaganda from over 50 years ago. Looks like falsehoods don’t die out too quickly.

Continuing: The sugar industry formed (and still does) lofty sounding organization names such as the Food and Nutrition Advisory Council. This council wasted little time in printing up 25,000 copies of an 88-page booklet titled Sugar in the Diet of Man, Theses were distributed to media and other opinion makers. Accompanying those booklets was the headline, “Scientists Dispel Sugar Fears.”

Sugar Propaganda

Dr. Fife quotes some of the verbiage used by sugar promoters in magazine advertisements.

Example 1: 1954 The headline on the ad reads What makes people fat? It then answers the question: People get fat simply because they overeat. Why do they overeat? Because they are hungry. Why are they hungry? One of the reasons…is because their blood sugar level is low. What is the fastest way to raise the blood sugar level and help keep them from overeating? Sugar and the good things containing it.

My Comment: This is as bad as the old 1950s magazine ads that read, “More doctors recommend Camel cigarettes.”

Continuing: Well, duh, a person eats more sugar to raise a falling blood sugar level only to have it crash again due to spiking his blood sugar. Have another doughnut to get your blood sugar up again!

Example 2: 1959 The ad headline reads, “Are you getting enough sugar to keep your weight down?” Then the verbiage says, “Sounds strange until you consider the necessity for appetite control when dieting. How do you curb a king-sized appetite? The easiest way is sugar. No other food satisfies your appetite so fast with so few calories. That’s why you’ll find sugar in many modern reducing diets.”

“Why today’s active women need more sugar…The strenuous life requires energy—the kind sugar provides. That’s why active people who know their energy needs include sugar in their diets.”

Sugar makes peaches taste peachier! All of us talk about tasting food, but now science tells us that your sense of smell is also very important to your recognition of flavors…”    

Fife’s comment, “There you have it. Science proves sugar is better.”

Example 3: 1971  An ice cream a day…Sugar can be the willpower you need to undereat…When you’re hungry, it usually means your energy is down. By eating something with sugar in it, you can get your energy up fast. In fact, sugar is the fastest energy food around. The ad goes on with similar blather.

The Federal Trade Commission would never allow such verbiage today. In fact, the sugar industry’s propaganda is so bad that it’s almost comical. The sad truth, however, is that the country bought into it.

1980 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Cut back on the consumption of fat, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Avoid excess consumption of sugar, primarily in the form of candy to prevent cavities.

There it is. Saturated fat and cholesterol were demonized while sugar in processed foods got a pass. For sure, this horrible dietary advice was at the hands of Ancel Keys and the Sugar Industry’s minions. And this was all done on the latest scientific evidence!

Sadly, the public as a whole, instead of becoming thinner and healthier, grew fatter and sicker.

Misleading Medicare Advantage TV Advertising

By Ron Iverson, President of the National Association of Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage Producers

Sick of the Medicare TV commercials yet?  They’ve made their way into major network programming and still keep appearing in senior interest market networks.  I don’t expect they will subside until after [the January 1 – March 31 Open Enrollment Period] OEP, if then.  Either TV advertising is too cheap, or the people who run the ads are making a lot of money off of them–enough to keep running them.

Forbes ran an interesting article by Forbes Contributor, Diane Omdahl, last week headlined, “Half-Truths and Medicare Advantage Commercials.”  She spent a lot of time fact-checking the statements and started her story like this:

“If you watched any television in the last several months, you probably saw a slew of commercials for Medicare Advantage plans.  One that pops up frequently features a former professional football player who once did a commercial wearing pantyhose.  His commercials must be working so well that another former NFL star has also started promoting Medicare advantage plans.  All the commercials, no matter the narrator, talk about the Medicare benefits you deserve and that you should be getting.  They list those benefits in a very big and bold font and encourage you to call the toll-free number and sign up today.”

“According to federal law, whatever we see or hear in an advertisement must be truthful and not misleading.  I spent some time the last few days closely watching several different commercials.  Everything that was said about the cost and benefits was true, to the extent that it was said.  But there was much left unsaid, and that’s important information you need to make a smart decision.”

“First, the benefits: ‘Get the benefits you deserve, including rides to medical appointments, private home aides, nurse and doctor visits by telephone.’  Medicare describes these as benefits for daily maintenance and doesn’t cover them. However, because of policy [and funding] changes, Medicare advantage plans can now provide them. The plan, not Medicare, must cover these costs.  This is a new program and not that many plans offer these benefits.  Based on my preliminary plan research, here are some important points not mentioned in the commercials:”

  1. These benefits appear to be more common in health maintenance organization (HMO) plans. Except for an emergency, the benefits are only available through a network of selected providers, which can limit the individual’s choice.
  2. The plan likely requires prior approval or authorization. Before receiving care, the plan must review and approve the physician’s order.
  3. There are limits on these benefits. For example, two meals a day for five days after hospitalization with a limit of four hospitalizations, and a private home aid four hours a day for no more than 31 days a year.
  4. And, most important, the plans we researched require members to select only one benefit per calendar year.

“In some commercials, there were two more benefits that require clarification.  ‘Free preventive screenings.’  Medicare covers a long list of preventive and screening services.  You don’t need to enroll in one of these plans to get preventive services.  ‘A 75% discount on prescription medications in the Coverage Gap.’  You see this and think, ‘Wow! A big discount on drugs!  Where do I sign?  However, as with preventive services, this benefit is not unique to Medicare advantage plans.”

“The coverage gap is more commonly known as the donut hole.  In 2020, the donut hole closed.  Beneficiaries are responsible for 25% of the cost of medications in this payment stage.  In other words, they get a 75% discount.  Anyone with Part D prescription drug coverage will qualify automatically for this discount when their total drug costs hit $4,080. This benefit comes with the plans in the commercials, some other Medicare advantage plan with drug coverage, or a stand-alone Part D drug plan.” Note: this is like extolling a certain make of automobile because it comes with four wheels.

“Second, the costs.  ‘All these benefits may be available at no additional cost to you.’  The commercials focus on zero-premium plans and benefits available for no added cost.  However, at the moment the narrator says this, a small line of type appears on the bottom of the screen.  It’s there for only four seconds, while the list of benefits continues.  The small type reads, ‘Plan premiums, co-payments, and coinsurance can apply.’ ”

“Not all Medicare Advantage plans are zero-premium.  And for those that are, it’s important to know that zero-premium does not mean zero costs.  There are out-of-pocket costs for most services.  Plan members will pay their share of costs until they reach the plan’s out-of-pocket maximum limit.  That’s how much a person could write in checks when something happens, like a cancer diagnosis or a major car crash.  In 2019, the average limit was $5,059.”

“Third, the call.  The narrators talk about the help you will get when you call the toll-free number.  But, once again, the small print is revealing.  Dial the number and you’ll be transferred to a licensed insurance agent.  One commercial noted that the agent may or may not offer Medicare advantage plans.  Another said the person you talk with may not offer plans in your area.”

Then, Omdahl, who has written about health matters for thirty years, asks a question.  “The facts, as presented, are true but then the question becomes, “Are these commercials misleading?”  According to the Macmillan dictionary, misleading means something that is intended or likely to make someone believe something that is incorrect or not true.  She then refers to the American Medical Association (AMA), which in the fall of 2019 passed a resolution.

“Whereas, Medicare Advantage plans are heavily marketed to seniors by insurance companies, with less than ideal transparency in advertising; …and “Whereas, Presentations by insurance company officials to seniors can overemphasize the value of different options and can create confusion; therefore be it “RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association encourages AARP, insurance companies and other vested parties to develop simplified tools and guidelines for comparing and contrasting Medicare Advantage plans.”

“The AMA identified the need for tools to help individuals go beyond the TV commercials and get the information they need to make a smart decision.”

“Keep in mind that these Medicare Advantage plans are offered by for-profit entities, corporations not unlike your cable provider, department store, or neighborhood used car lot.  The purpose of the TV commercials is to get you to act, to call the number on your screen to make a purchase.  First, do your research.  Be an informed shopper.  Go beyond the commercials to the whole truth.  Your Medicare coverage is too important.”


Fed up with Telemarketers?

In anti-fraud effort, feds to probe how telemarketers get hands on seniors’ Medicare info

This article is a summary of a recent CBS News post.

The best thing to do when your phone rings from a “Medicare” telemarketer or one who claims to be a “Medicare specialist” is to treat it like a rattling rattlesnake. Yep, stay away from it and don’t get bitten.

Background: Insurance companies, pharmacies, and other interested parties can electronically access Medicare and Medicare’s records of any Medicare beneficiary. This can be done for legitimate purposes. For example, there might be some confusion on a claim of your date of birth or your Medicare number. However, there is also a nefarious use of this database.

The watchdog agency’s decision comes amid a wave of relentlessly efficient telemarketing scams targeting Medicare recipients and involving everything from back braces to DNA cheek swabs.

So how are these telemarketers getting access to your personal information? Answer: It’s from some entity that is accessing Medicare’s database for an illicit purpose.

Key personal details gleaned from Medicare’s files can then be cross-referenced with databases of individual phone numbers, allowing marketers to home in with their calls.

Put another way, a pharmacy may be accessing Medicare’s database when they have no business doing such.

But investigators found that some pharmacies submitted tens of thousands of queries that couldn’t be matched to prescriptions. In one case, a pharmacy submitted 181,963 such queries but only 41 could be linked to prescriptions.

In one report, 98% of the queries from a group of 25 pharmacies “were not associated with a prescription.” This also puts an individual’s privacy at risk.

Inappropriate use of Medicare’s eligibility system is probably just one of many little-known paths through which telemarketers can get sensitive personal information about beneficiaries, investigators said.

If a telemarketer contacts with seeming private information that he/she should not have had access to, do not let yourself be mesmerized by such. Know that your information was illegitimately obtained. Do not engage these people

Hang up immediately! Do not allow them to set their hook into you.

COVID-19 Scams

Sadly, the fraudsters are taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation. Hang up on any telemarketing schemes dealing with the virus or government paychecks. Likewise, delete any emails attempting to click-bait you into to clicking on something. Those are to be treated as venomous snakes, as that’s what they are. Stay clear and social-distance yourself from them.

The Connection Between Your Diet and COVID-19

For several years we have published articles, book reviews, transcripts of YouTube videos and other articles all discussing this central theme: The over-consumption of sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and refined carbohydrates leads to what’s called metabolic syndrome.

These refined carbohydrates elevate your blood sugar, which triggers your pancreas to secrete more insulin to bring down your elevated blood sugar levels. Eventually, your cells become more resistant to the effects of insulin, and your doctor then tells you that you have developed insulin resistance.

The doctor prescribes metformin to head off your incipient type 2 diabetes. Hypertension meds follow. Next, it’s statin drugs, Now, you’re being treated for full-fledged metabolic syndrome, and the door is now wide open to a panoply of degenerative illnesses. Among these are type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, strokes, kidney problems, vision diseases, cancer, and others.

Then the metformin doesn’t work as well as it used to, and your doctor now prescribes insulin. The costs go up, and you are hit with high copays. Things keep progressing downhill.

The above scenario can seriously compromise your immune system. We’re now seeing many reports that in addition to respiratory issues, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and heart illness are co-morbidity factors aggravating one’s coronavirus illness. Put bluntly, you are more likely to die if you contract the COVID-19 virus.

What seems to be the trigger mechanism for these degenerative illnesses? From my readings and personal experience my answer is this: Sugar and HFCS. They may taste good, but they also tickle your dopamine receptors as well as being addictive.

To get a better understanding as to how sugar consumption compromises your immune system, here is an abbreviated transcript of the first ten minutes of Dr. Shiva’s YouTube video titled, This Event Was A Coordinated Last Ditch Effort By The [DS], Moves & Countermoves: Dr. Shiva.

Note: I recommend stopping at the 10:45 mark. After that point, Dr. Shiva starts going off on politics and conspiracy theories.

Dr. Shiva’s Presentation

3:40-4:14 He explains the parable of the six blind men and the king to illustrate the reductionist way of thinking.

4:21 Dr. Shiva explains in detail the reductionist way of thinking, and he uses the elephant in the room example.

4:30 People in power want to use science to hide the larger piece.

4:38 To look at this issue we need to look at the whole issue. The elephant in the room is the immune system.

4:43 Is the immune system so frail that a virus can destroy it? That’s the central question.

4:55 If you look at medical education, it’s built on the big pharma model.

5:10 With all the years of study, they really don’t understand the immune system. How does this all work?

5:40 The immune system is a very complex system. He expands in detail just how complex it is.

6:02 It’s much more complex than what was understood when the national vaccine act was passed in 1962.

6:20 He explains in more detail how the immune system works.

6:55 The body is fighting back against these pathogens and it resolves itself. It’s called resilience.

7:05 However, if people are not running on all six cylinders [assuming a 6 cylinder engine] and if a couple of them have been knocked out through bad eating, lots of high sugar diets [Ed: My emphasis] which creates candida, creates gleo-toxins which takes out your macrophages or T-cells; well guess what happens?

7:24 Your body in its infinite wisdom tries to self-protect itself. So, it will start using two of its cylinders, and they overreact. It’s the overreaction of a weakened and dysfunctional immune system.

7:38 It not only tries to attack the virus particle by trying to explode its cell wall and break it up. He further explains this process and references the Ebola virus.

8:06 In the case of the coronavirus, it goes to the epithelial cells in your lungs. It’s your over-reaction of your own body.

8:18 Why does that over-reaction occur? It could be genetic…. It could be that you have been eating garbage most of your life…you’ve compromised your immune system

8:28 It could be your diabetes…

8:36 Or as you age… As you age, your thyroid function goes down. Why’s that an issue? When your thyroid function goes down, you don’t produce enough vitamin A

8:42 And guess what vitamin A is? It’s a hormone which builds a wall around your cells to protect any pathogens from coming in.

8:55 And on top of that, if you’re not getting enough vitamin D…vitamin D is an amazing nutrient…  your body uses it to create a very powerful chemical called cathelicidin.

9:10 These are like bullets. These bullets poke holes in the walls of bacteria or in the walls of viruses, and it basically destroys them.

9:25 What you’re really looking at is that the immune system needs certain nutrients. When it has those nutrients your body functions beautifully. It takes care of itself. If you deplete yourself of these nutrients, your body become immuno-suppressed, or you have other types of diseases.

9:45 None of the people around the president are studying [this] at all. It’s vaccines, vaccines, vaccines… forgetting the immune system in most of is fine. We get viruses every day. We build anti-bodies every day, and we move forward.

10:00 We have millions? of viruses in our bodies right now.

10:05 He explains that the coronavirus is a variation of the SARS virus. It has a higher infectivity rate and a lower mortality rate. It is a virus, and our body knows how to deal with it.

10:06 However, if you have immune-compromised people like older people. He references Italy with an older population.

10:42 He then rhetorically asks, “Why are we shutting down the country for this phenomenon when we don’t shut the country down when 600,000 people die of heart disease?”

Mr. Comments: The takeaway here is that consuming sugar trashes your immune system. In addition to social distancing and staying at home, one of the very best things you can do for yourself is to eat healthily and avoid foods that trash your immune system

More Evidence of Co-morbidity Factors

HUGE! Infectious Disease Expert Says His Clinic Has Not Seen ANYONE UNDER 70 Who was not Obese or Pre-Diabetic Get Seriously Ill with COVID-19 (VIDEO)  …The title to this article says it well.

Here is a key quote from Dr. Stephen Smith’s interview:

The more we see this disease, the more we understand that severe rapid COVID disease especially is in diabetics or prediabetics. We have 19 or 20 patients who are intubated. And 18 of the 20 are diabetic. And two are prediabetic. We don’t have anybody who’s been intubated in our group of over 80 now that was not diabetic or pre-diabetic that was intubated. We’ve seen younger patients with severe disease that have a very high BMI. We have patients that are over 300 pounds. We’ve seen a lot of it. And just now I think the world is catching up to this. A Seattle group published their data in the New England Journal of Medicine saying 58% of their ICU code patients were diabetic and that their average BMI was 33 which is morbidly obese. That fits with our data. What people haven’t focused on yet is that pre-diabetics are also at risk, especially if they have a high BMI. We haven’t had anyone under 70 who didn’t have a high BMI or was pre-diabetic get seriously ill. (Ed: I bolded key points.)

In the video, here a key quote from another contributing physician, Dr.Ramin Oskuoi:

Clearly those with diabetes and pre-diabetes are to a much, much higher risk…

My Comments. Please connect the dots. What are the primary causes of the type 2 diabetes and obesity that Dr. Smith references? Answer: It’s sugar, HFCS, and other refined carbohydrates.

Dr. Duc Vuong

Dr. Duc Vuong explains that type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are aggravating factors regarding the virus.

The following is an abbreviated transcript from Dr. Duc Vuong’s YouTube video, HOW COVID-19 KILLS–I’m a Surgeon–And Why We Can’t Save You.

Caution: Dr. Vuong uses some profanity is his video.

3:24 There is no immunity, which means what? Everybody who comes in contact with the virus will catch it and will have some sort of symptoms.

3:35 It can be mild…there might be some asymptomatic carriers…80% will have a mild case of corona virus.

3:40 Mild means you don’t need to be hospitalized. This is not the regular flu.

4:04 Twenty percent of the people will need to be hospitalized. Of those, about half will need to be in the ICU. Of those, about half will need to be on respirators.

4:20 Why am I talking about respirators? That has to do with how coronavirus kills.

4:33 Coronavirus is a respiratory illness. That’s important, because if anyone has a respiratory issue, he’s at a higher risk.

4:40 He names various respiratory issues…

4:50 You’re at risk guys….

4:54 There’s a direct correlation with coronavirus and bad outcomes…

4:58 If you have high blood pressure…that’s a bunch a Americans right there…I’ll explain why that’s important.

5:06 High blood pressure…it’s related. I promise you; it’s related.

5:11 Morbid obesity. That’s most of my following. If you lost the weight, you’re at normal risk. If your BMI is over 40, you’re at a higher risk.

5:25 Older age, but it’s coming down. We’re warning 60 year-olds.

5:44 He starts diagramming on his white board and explains how the virus illness progresses.

13:45 He references ACE inhibitors (for regulating blood pressure).

14:05 He demonstrates how the coronavirus targets the ACE protein. [Ed: it’s a little technical at this point.] ***

He describes how the lungs fill with fluid when infected by the virus.

24:00 The treatment [once the illnesses has seriously progressed] is to put you on a ventilator.

24:27 Half the time they’re put them on a ventilator, they don’t make it.

*** Dr. Vuong’s point is that taking ACE inhibitors seems to aggravate the lung illness caused by the COVID-19 virus. For further information, please consult this article from Science Daily: ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers may increase the risk of severe COVID-19, paper suggests.

Some common ACE inhibitors are lisinopril, enalapril, fosinopril, quinapril, and ramipril.

Some common angiotensin receptor blockers are losartan, candesartan, telmisartan, and valsartan.


Obesity: Major COVID-19 Risk Factor

Finally, I read another article titled, Obesity Major COVID-19 Risk Factor, Says French Chief Epidemiologist.

The opening paragraph:

Being overweight is a major risk for people infected with the new coronavirus and the United States is particularly vulnerable because of high obesity levels there, France’s chief epidemiologist said on Wednesday.

Conclusion and Takeaways

There appears to be overwhelming evidence that obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart illness are co-morbidity factors for those that have contracted the COVID-19 illness. These situations are a result of metabolic syndrome, which to a great extent is caused by consuming sugar, HFCS, and other refined carbohydrates. Additionally, these behaviors are avoidable if you so desire.

If this is you, here is what can you do NOW!

  • Eliminate sugar, HFCS, and refined carbs from your diet. Yes, you can do this!
  • Lose weight if overweight.
  • Exercise more.
  • Eat real foods, not processed garbage!

Your best defense to ward off nasty viruses and nefarious bugs is to maintain your immune system and overall health! End

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 2, Modern Diets and Degenerative Disease

by Dr. Bruce Fife

A Big Fat Lie

Dr. Fife gets right to the point:

The warning to reduce consumption of fat, specifically saturated fat and cholesterol, is found everywhere we look. Doctors advocate low-fat diets to help fight heart disease and other degenerative conditions.

Here is the real irony about this situation. Doctors are offering dietary advice that is more of the same as what likely has caused these degenerative diseases (DDs)in the first place. Health insurance companies are on the same misguided bandwagon. I have seen in the “health tips” from my Medicare company promoting the same worn out bad advice: “Reduce your intake of saturated fat.” Sadly, the American Heart Association (AHA) spews out the same, horrible advice.

Dr. Fife explains that fat is a necessary component of our lives, and without it we would be dead. Consider just how important fat is:

  • Fat provides a protective cushion for our delicate organs.
  • Fat helps insulate our bodes when exposed to cold temperatures.
  • Fat is involved with the production of vital hormones.
  • Fat provides energy when food is restricted or when physical activity. Is increased.
  • Several vitamins and other import nutrients are only found in fat (lipids) from animal and vegetable sources.
  • Fats are an important part of the structure of our cells and particularly our cell membranes.

Fat provides necessary calories between meals and helps keep our blood sugar levels much more even compared to eating carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates. Fife explains that one of the most important lipids is cholesterol, and without it, we would die.

My comment: Previously, we spent over a year digesting Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s book, The Great Cholesterol Myth. We learned just how essential is a proper level of cholesterol is in our bodies for optimal health.

Continuing: Dr. Fife points out that without cholesterol, we would be sexless, meaning that our bodies transform cholesterol into important hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and others.

He continues by saying that if we do not consume enough cholesterol in our diet, our liver will produce the shortfall. If we eat too much cholesterol, it is broken down by the liver and stored as fat.

Dr. Fife broaches a subject that has been the topic of entire books: Not all fats are the same; in fact, some fats are downright dangerous. He reminds us that “health” professionals condemn good fats and advocate consuming bad fats. We still have the AHA condemning saturated fats and promoting fats from oils such as soybean, canola, corn, etc.

The Food Revolution

Our ancestors ate fresh, local food right off the farm. These were real foods with only a minimal amount of refining and additives. As societies urbanized, foods become packaged and canned for longer shelf life. This resulted in food becoming less nutritious and containing more and more questionable additives.

Nutritional diseases were rare in these primitive cultures as well as the panoply of degenerative diseases (DDs) that we see today. Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis were the dreaded diseases of the day but certainly not coronary artery disease.

The food habits of our ancestors changed. Wholesome brown rice was polished into starchy white rice. Whole wheat was milled into white flour. Sugar consumption dramatically increased.

  • 1800: Sugar consumption was about 15 pounds per person per year
  • 1900: 85 pounds per person per year
  • 1999: 150 pounds per person per year
  • Today: About 130 pounds per person per year. The drop isn’t necessary good as it’s due to the increased use of artificial sweeteners.

The increase in refined carbs wasn’t the only problem. The fats our ancestors ate were lard, beef tallow, butter, coconut and olive oils. Except for olive oil, the other fats are all saturated. Thanks to the invention of hydrogenation and seed oil presses, seed oils (soybean, canola, corn, etc.) were processed into cheaper Crisco shortening and margarine containing dangerous trans-fats.

These refined foods were then packaged to make them look appealing. The processing of whole wheat into white flour removes 22 nutrients and vitamins. Four or five synthetic ones are put back. So now we have “enriched” flour.

My Comments: the easiest way to remember this trifecta of cheap, refined foods is the acronym SORF:

Sugar — Oils (derived from seeds) – Refined – Flour  =  SORF

Continuing: The important thing to remember is that as fats, particularly saturated fats, were demonized, we transitioned from a high fat diet to a high carb diet.

My Comments: Think of a breakfast of pancakes (refined flour) slathered with fake butter (margarine) and fake syrup (a high fructose corn syrup concoction) all washed down with frozen orange juice (mostly sugar). That’s a high carb, SORF-loaded breakfast that will shoot anyone’s blood sugar level through the roof!

By contrast, our ancestors enjoyed bacon, fresh farm eggs, and raw, whole milk. Degenerative diseases (DDs) such as heart attacks, strokes, and type 2 diabetes were a rarity among these people.

Knowing that societies that consumed large amounts of saturated fats and having an absence of degenerative diseases should make one wonder why the AHA condemns these healthy fats while at the same time promoting unhealthy, refined fats. Stay tuned!

Continuing: Traditional Diets

Dr. Fife uses pages 18-27 highlighting various groups of people that used to eat, an ancestral, real food diet. He also discusses a constant theme: When these people transitioned to Western, refined foods, they began developing the list of DDs.

As soon as a population starts to adopt modern foods, degenerative disease sets in. Diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, allergies, obesity and the like are referred to “diseases of Western civilization.”

He first discusses Dr. Weston A Price. Dr. Price, a dentist who practiced in the first half of the 20th century, noticed a decline in the general health of his patients through the years. The correlated with the introduction of more and more refined foods, particularly after WW I.

Dr. Price set out to study foods from various cultures across the globe. He noticed that the more isolated these people were, the better was their dental health (lack of cavities) along with a virtual absence of DDs.

He also noticed that even unborn children from parents who ate processed foods were affected as their pallets were less well developed. People in the more isolated cultures had room for their wisdom teeth.

Here is one of the most important observations made by Dr. Price:

One of Price’s most frightening discoveries was that it didn’t take much of a change in the people’s diets to cause notable changes in health. While their diet remained primarily the same as it had always been, the additives of even a small quantity of sugar and white flour made dramatic differences in their health. [Ed: my emphasis]

My Comments: How many fad diets suggest that you keep your head to the grindstone five days per week only to capitulate to your cravings for that doughnut, bagel, Danish, or whatever the other two days. Not only is this advice bunk, it’s dangerous to your health. Imagine telling a smoker not to smoke during the weekdays, but it’s okay to smoke on the weekends. Imagine telling the alcoholic to stay dry during the week, but happy hour Friday and Saturday night is okay! Think how well that advice would go over at an AA meeting.

The problem is that most everyone is an alcoholic (meaning addicted) to refined, processed foods. To further complicate matters, these addictive, processed foods tease our dopamine receptors. We like them and get a buzz from eating them. The best solution is to purge our homes of SORF, refuse to buy it, and refuse to consume it even in social situations. Doing so will help prevent us from succumbing to the “some is okay” mentality. According to Dr. Price’s observations, some is not okay.

Continuing: Are High-Fat Diets Harmful?

Dr. Fife recounts several cultures that ate a high fat, low carb (HFLC) native diet while at the same time were remarkably free of DDs. There are groups in east Africa whose diet is primarily meat and milk. Pacific islanders ate saturated coconut meat and fish. The Innuit’s (Eskimos) diet was mostly meat and fat. 80% of their calories were from fat!

In every situation when these cultures were exposed to Western refined foods, DDs started occurring. The slim and trim Innuits became paunchy.

Whenever a people have adopted modern, processed foods, diseases of modern civilization have quickly followed. The transition from moderate to high fat diets to a modern low-fat diet has always resulted in declining health. When fat is removed from the diet, it is invariably replaced with carbohydrates, so now we have a high carb, low-fat diet. These carbohydrates are primarily refined flour and sugar. Fat is necessary for optimal health.

You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet

There are those who contest the HFLC concept and instead suggest that the reason these isolated cultures were virtually disease-free was because they were physically active. Their argument is that exercise overcomes and “burns up” refined, processed foods. Dr. Fife points out that even high carb athletes suffer from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses just like everyone else.

He then references the 1977 best selling book, The Complete Book of Running by the running guru, Jimmy Fixx. The only problem is that Fixx died at age 52 from a massive heart attack. His autopsy revealed that his coronary arteries were plugged up.

Dr. Fife cites another study of 36 runners dying an early death due to heart disease. Their mean age of death was 43.8 years. Getting regular exercise and being physically fit did not protect them from heart disease. He concludes by saying that the belief suggesting that the isolated cultures stayed healthy due to their physical activity doesn’t hold up.

Dr. Fife references the concept of carbohydrate-loading. High endurance athletes would load up on carbs (pasta, bread, etc.) for several days before an event. The belief was that this technique was to store up as much glucose in the body as possible. Meanwhile, fat was declared a useless nutrient. With these runners dying off like flies, it appears that this theory wasn’t such a smart idea after all.

Dr. Fife mentions Peter Attia MD, a physician specializing in preventative medicine. Dr. Attia, too, was on the high carb, low fat bandwagon. Despite avoiding junk foods and fast food restaurants, his health continued to decline. Worse, he was developing insulin resistance, the marker for type2 diabetes. His intense exercise could not overcome the negative effects of his supposed healthy, low-fat diet.

My Comments: I was not familiar with Dr. Attia, so I did an internet search to learn more about him. I cam across this YouTube video titled Dr. Peter Attia: Readdressing Dietary Guidelines. While it runs over an hour, it packs in plenty of fascinating information about fats and cholesterol.

Continuing: Frustrated, Dr. Attia started cutting out the sugar from his diet. He switched from relined grains to whole grains foods. He reduced his protein consumption. Over a two-year period, he gradually transitioned to a high fat, low carb (HFLC) diet. During this timeframe his markers continued to improve. His LDL dropped and his HDL (good cholesterol) went up. His waistline shrank from 38 to 32 inches. Lastly, he was able to exercise less to maintain his same level of fitness.

Conclusion: No amount of running or exercise will protect you from a bad diet. …Regular physical activity is not the magic bullet that protects primitive societies from degenerative disease. It is the sugar-free diet that does that. (Ed: My emphasis) End