Mainstream Medicine Is Starting To Wake Up

NOT a self portrait

Yesterday, media outlets around the world ( here, here and here) discussed a new scientific study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,  which reaffirmed the notion that a large waist can almost double your risk of premature death.

This shouldn’t come as news to anyone who takes an active interest in their health.

Us health nuts have known for years that visceral fat is a killer.

Because of this, I usually just skim these articles to make sure that I am not missing any new breakthroughs.

Surprisingly, in this case, I did find something interesting.

But it wasn’t the research.

It was the response to the research.

I noticed two things:

  1. The Main Stream Media can be pretty stupid, and
  2. Doctors have drastically improved their understanding of how our lifestyle (physical activity, nutrition, thoughts and feelings) impacts our health

So, why do I think that the MSM is stupid?


To explain this, I need to tell you a little story.

Yesterday afternoon, a client of mine asked me if I had heard about this new study which claimed that having love handles doubled your risk of premature death.

Love handles?

I told him that he was be mistaken.

Belly fat or visceral fat is bad news.

But love handles?


Love handles may not look very sexy, but they aren’t a killer.

But he was pretty adamant and pointed me to this BBC headline:

Love handles’ raise death risk

Whoops, the BBC screwed up.

The study looks at waist circumference and visceral fat, not love handles.

Love handles, in colloquial or slang speech, are a layer of fat that is deposited around a person’s midsection, especially visible on the sides over the abdominal external oblique muscle. They are called “love handles” because they provide a soft place to rest one’s hand while one’s arm is around a person, or perhaps because they can serve as places to hold on while copulating.

So, before anyone else starts thinking that their love handles are out to get them:

Love Handles: Squishy / Not a Killer

Visceral Fat: Less squishy / Big Time Health Risk


Interesting Observation # 2

Doctors have drastically improved their understanding of how our lifestyle (physical activity, nutrition, thoughts and feelings) impacts our health.

Just check out this video.

What I want you to notice is the doctor’s closing statement.

As he discusses treatment options for patients with a large waist (caused by visceral fat), he says:

“We can ask them to consider exercising more, reducing their carbohydrate intake, taking more fruit and vegetables in their diet, and by that way, we can help them reduce the risk and live longer and happier.”

He doesn’t say:

He says:

And considering that fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates, I think it’s fair to assume that the good doctor is telling us to reduce our consumptions of GRAINS.

Tell me it’s not true.

Eat less bread, corn, pasta and rice…how will I ever survive?


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  1. Thanks DR
    The study just recomfirms what we already know, but if it gets the word out more…
    One of slogans is If you want headlines, read the mainstream media. If you want the real scope, go to JHMFD (or Healthhabits)

  2. WOW!!!!!! That is what I picked up when I watched it too and then I saw your next sentence. That IS truly amazing. Your right no mention of diets, calories – just don’t eat refined carbs! I am stunned silent.

    On a side note and nothing to do with this topic. My flatmate who is a doctor has got me to get a blood lipid profile done. Free (yes gotta love that socialised medicine…right). haha. But I wouldn’t mind you having a look at it and saying what you think since you seem to be pretty on to it and understand my eating philosophy. I am on the paleo diet so I am very interested in the results. But would like your professional opinion. I will let you know when I get it but hope this is ok?

  3. Right there with you on every point!

    …until you got to the carbs.

    Carbohydrates (raw, complex) are a vital part of your daily calorie intake. Yes, the vast majority of us fill this gap with simple sugars and super refined grains, but the fact is most people don’t take in enough of the good stuff ever. At all.

    In America, at least, the real culprit for over-eating is protein. We’re inundated, it’s gross. And of course saturated/trans fats pack it on, as well.

    Carbs, in fact, are the food most capable of feeding our brains! Which explains the downward spiral of the Atkins’ diet.

  4. My GP also warned me that as a South Asian, the circumference of my waist ought to be smaller than the reccommended guidelines, which are designed more for Caucasians. I guess we are one community that is at higher risk for type II diabetes and stroke.

    One thing I just never understand is my fathers case. Perhaps some light can be shed on it here. He is 5’6″, 135-145 lbs his whole life, and mostly lean muscle. I never saw fat anywhere on him, and he used to wrestle, swim and bike ride his whole life. His diet was farm raised poultry, goat, and vegetables, and whole wheat Indian bread. At 22, he was diagnosed with type II diabetes, which runs in his family. He started taking medication, cutting down on the bread, and increasing exercise. His diabetes was under control, then at age 52, he began to get dizzy spells, took a stress test, and needed a quadruple bypass. His diet became steamed veggies, beans, lentils. His cholesterol was fine, and 4 years later he had a stroke. He survived and has recovered well with physical therapy. He is still on the beans, lentils, and veggies plan, and he walks and bikes. He is truly a tiny tiny man, and it is incredible to me that with so little fat on his frame, this could happen to him. His doctors feel genetics is the culprit, despite his efforts to guard against it. What do you think? Incidentally, my mother is 4’11” and 180 lbs. She has high blood pressure but no other signs of failing health. I was born quite overweight, and after years of fluctuation have finally gotten to a healthy sustainable weight with good muscles, which I’m still working on. Am I doomed, like my dad, to keep fighting family history?

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