Real Bad News for Big PHARMA & Big FOOD


The Plant-Based paper from Kaiser Permanente is a HUGE breakthrough.

Yesterday’s blogpost about Kaiser Permanente’s breakthrough paper on plant-based nutrition is likely to put the fear of God in the leadership teams at the Big Pharma and Big Food industries. It appears to be the first chink in the armor of our vast, interconnected “system” of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, food producers, health-insurors, media, nutritional science, medical schools and government.

The only "green" thing about Cargill is the leaf in their logo.

The only “green” thing about Cargill is the leaf in their logo.

Up until now, all of the pieces of this deadly “system” appeared to be in lockstep with the lame and ineffective dietary advice as created by our USDA. You’re very familiar with the phrase about the “lean cuts of meat, wild fish and low fat dairy.”

That phrase is ubiquitous. It’s on every major “disease specific” website like the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.

Up until now, that vast “system” has thrived by keeping the American public sick and fat. Trillions of dollars have been made as we became the sickest nation on Earth while paying far more than any other nation for our healthcare. But things are now about to start changing. How about this closing statement in the article?

The future of health care will involve an evolution toward a paradigm where the prevention and treatment of disease is centered, not on a pill or surgical procedure, but on another serving of fruits and vegetables.

Kaiser Permanente logoThe dominoes begin to fall. Now that the nation’s largest managed care and hospital company has publicly recognized the disease prevention and reversal power of plant-based nutrition, others will follow suit—eventually.

Things will start moving much more quickly if KP gets serious in terms of measuring and acting on the following metrics mentioned in the article’s Conclusion:

Finally, we should encourage performance-driven measurable outcomes, which may include:

  1. the percentage of physicians who have completed a course on nutrition that includes a discussion of the benefits of a plant-based diet and exercise;
  2. the percentage of our hospitals, cafeterias, and physicians’ meeting facilities that serve meals that are consistent with a plant-based diet;
  3. the percentage of patients on a physician panel who are obese and who have completed a course on weight management and nutrition that emphasizes a plant-based diet; and
  4. the percentage of patients in a physician panel with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or cardio- vascular disease who completed a course on nutrition that emphasizes a plant-based diet.
Does your doctor know how to reverse heart disease? Then, find a new doctor?

Maybe someday they can trade the iconic stethoscope for a recipe book of delicious, health-promoting meals.

What gets measured, get’s done. I know this from my training and career as an industrial engineer and process improvement consultant. Now if KP starts measuring all of these things AND starts tying physicians’ compensation to health-promotion, then we’re about to enter a whole new ballgame in the world of healthcare.

To be sure, the future of healthcare will ultimately mean a much smaller overall system. But it’s going to take a long time. With our food choices driving up to 80% of our cost of healthcare, we’re talking about a dramatic reduction in the overall size of our total “system” over the next fifty years.

Just as we went from 5% of our GDP for healthcare to the 18% that we have today in the past fifty years, we should start trending back in the other direction before long—but only after the population starts demanding the kind of health-promotion that KP is talking about. From the paper’s “Conclusion:”

The major benefits for patients who decide to start a plant-based diet are the possibility of reducing the number of medications they take to treat a variety of chronic conditions, lower body weight, decreased risk of cancer, and a reduction in their risk of death from ischemic heart disease.

Now let’s see if our mainstream media provides any help in spreading this Earth-shattering information. So far, I have heard absolutely NOTHING from them. Just imagine what would happen if this news just captured one percent of the combined time devoted to the Boston Bombers, the IRS scandal, storm disasters and the Benghazi talking points.

Do you think the CEO will be happy to learn that men will soon learn how to manage their E.D. with broccoli instead of his little blue pills.

Do you think the CEO will be happy to learn that men will soon be learning how to manage their E.D. with broccoli instead of his little blue pills.

Morality vs. Profits. What if you were the CEO of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies? What goes through your mind when you read the above statement about plant-based diet reducing the number of prescriptions people take? A few things to ponder:

  • What is going to happen to all those $100,000-a-year-per-patient cancer drugs that you have in development?
  • What if people stop getting cancer and the news media starts talking about finding the plant-based cure that has eluded the entire army “fighting” cancer since 1971?
  • What will happen to your business if cancer, heart disease, diabetes and E.D. start trending sharply downward?
  • As the CEO of your giant pill-making corporation, how do you plan to spin this news for your workforce?
  • Finally, as a human being, would you be happy if cancer, heart disease, E.D. and diabetes all completely disappeared tomorrow?
Cancer---now one of the biggest businesses in the USA

This has been the driver of our healthcare “system” for the past fifty years. It’s about time morality begins to trump profits when it comes to the health of our citizens.

The Bottom Line. Since writing yesterday’s blog, I have been thinking a great deal about the KP paper and the ripple of beneficial effects that it will have all over the world. The health effects, the economic effects and the environmental effects will all be tremendous once the human species begins moving steadily in the direction of a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Just this morning, I told a friend that this is the best news I have heard since President Clinton announced that he had chosen a plant-based diet to reverse his heart disease. Both of these events add tons of legitimacy and credibility to the most important process in the history of the world—beginning to choose the food that nature intended for us to eat. By doing so, we promote our own health while helping to ensure Mother Nature’s longterm ability to sustain our species.

Once again I have provided a link below to the entire KP Paper but have decided to provide the entire powerful “Conclusion” for your convenience. Please send this blog to everyone you know that is employed in the healthcare, food production or pharmaceutical industry. Change is coming—and it will be the best change we have ever seen.

Why is all of this such a big deal? Kaiser Permanente is the largest HMO in the United States with 182,000 employees, including 14,600 physicians.

The KP Plant-Based Paper Conclusion

A healthy, plant-based diet requires planning, reading labels, and discipline. The recommendations for patients who want to follow a plant-based diet may include eating a variety of fruits and vegetables that may include beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains and avoiding or limiting animal products, added fats, oils, and refined, processed carbohydrates. The major benefits for patients who decide to start a plant-based diet are the possibility of reducing the number of medications they take to treat a variety of chronic conditions, lower body weight, decreased risk of cancer, and a reduction in their risk of death from ischemic heart disease.

A plant-based diet is not an all-or-nothing program, but a way of life that is tailored to each individual. It may be especially beneficial for those with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, lipid disorders, or cardiovascular disease. The benefits realized will be relative to the level of adherence and the amount of animal products consumed. Strict forms of plant-based diets with little or no animal products may be needed for individuals with inoperable or severe coronary artery disease. Low-sodium, plant-based diets may be prescribed for individuals with high blood pressure or a family history of coronary artery disease or stroke. A patient with obesity and diabetes will benefit from a plant-based diet that includes a moderate amount of fruits and vegetables and minimal low-fat animal products. Severe obesity may require counseling and initial management with a low-calorie diet or very-low-calorie diet and the supervision of a physician’s team. Patients with kidney disease may need a plant-based diet with special restrictions, for example fruits and vegetables that are high in potassium and phosphorus. Finally, patients with thyroid disease will need to be careful when consuming plants that are mild goitrogens, like soy, raw cruciferous vegetables, sweet potatoes, and corn. These patients should be informed that cooking these vegetables inactivates the goitrogens.

Physicians should advocate that it is time to get away from terms like vegan and vegetarian and start talking about eating healthy, whole, plant-based foods (primarily fruits and vegetables) and minimizing consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products. Physicians should be informed about these concepts so they can teach them to staff and patients.

A registered dietitian should be part of the health care team that designs a plant-based diet for patients with chronic disease, especially if multiple medications are involved. Depending on the underlying conditions, patients with chronic disease who take multiple medications need close monitoring of low blood sugar levels, low blood pressure, or rapid weight loss. If these occur, the physician may need to adjust medications. In some cases, such as the one presented here, the need for certain medications can be eliminated altogether. Although the risk of deficiencies may be low, health care teams need to be aware that a motivated patient on a strict plant-based diet may need monitoring for deficiencies of certain nutrients, as outlined above.

The purpose of this article is to help physicians understand the potential benefits of a plant-based diet, to the end of working together to create a societal shift toward plant-based nutrition. There is at least moderate-quality evidence from the literature that plant-based diets are associated with significant weight loss and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality compared with diets that are not plant based. These data suggest that plant-based diets may be a practical solution to prevent and treat chronic diseases.

Further research is needed to find ways to make plant-based diets the new normal for our patients and employees. We cannot cure chronic diseases, but we may be able to prevent and control them by changing how we eat. With education and monitoring for adherence, we can improve health outcomes. Patterns of families and other colleagues who may be reluctant to support the efforts of individuals who are trying to change are a challenge to be overcome.

We should invite our colleagues, patients, and their families to a shared decision-making process with the goal of adopting a plant-based diet and a regular exercise program. We should invite health care teams to complete a course on healthy eating and active living. We should encourage staff to be knowledgeable about plant-based nutrition. Finally, we should encourage performance-driven measurable outcomes, which may include:

  1. the percentage of physicians who have completed a course on nutrition that includes a discussion of the benefits of a plant-based diet and exercise;
  2. the percentage of our hospitals, cafete- rias, and physicians’ meeting facilities that serve meals that are consistent with a plant-based diet;
  3. the percentage of patients on a physi- cian panel who are obese and who have completed a course on weight management and nutrition that empha- sizes a plant-based diet; and 
  4. the percentage of patients in a physician panel with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or cardio- vascular disease who completed a course on nutrition that emphasizes a plant-based diet.

Too often, physicians ignore the potential benefits of good nutrition and quickly prescribe medications instead of giving patients a chance to correct their disease through healthy eating and active living. If we are to slow down the obesity epidemic and reduce the complications of chronic disease, we must consider changing our culture’s mind-set from “live to eat” to “eat to live.” The future of health care will involve an evolution toward a paradigm where the prevention and treatment of disease is centered, not on a pill or surgical procedure, but on another serving of fruits and vegetables. 

The second link below is a PDF of the entire KP Paper.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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6 Responses to Real Bad News for Big PHARMA & Big FOOD

  1. CJ says:

    Jim, this is fantastic news, thanks for sharing this extremely positive info!!

  2. Joanne Irwin says:

    Kaiser Permanente’s masterful piece is an answer to prayer for those of us who spread the scientific data on the healing effects of a whole foods, plant based lifestyle. I plan on sending this to Mika Bryzenski at MSNBC. I’ll be eager to see IF anything comes of it. She’s been an outspoken advocate of healthy eating, having just published a book on that subject.
    All of us should consider sending a copy of the article to our own personal physicians. That’s a beginning. Write letters to local papers. Spread the message on Facebook and Twitter, etc.
    The great news is that the door is open. Kaiser Permanente has spoken, and that’s massive. Let’s keep hope alive, keep the message flowing, and demand change. YES WE CAN!!

  3. Salvatore Liggieri says:

    Jim,

    If only your enthusiasism could be put in a pill, maybe the world could become pill happy for the right reason.

    No one I talked too heard about or read the Kaiser report. America still goes on its merry way with its SAD, happy in the thought they are eating as nature intended. All my logical arguments on WFPB eating falls on deaf ears. How dare I question their belief system.

    Just finished reading Esselstyn’s new book WHOLE. Overwhelming to say the least but certainly not for the typical SAD reader, much too complex.

  4. Jim – I pasted your yesterday and today’s blogs here on the “New Akins” “CON” thread that was started by Dr. Campbell in March 2010. I invite your readers to go there and vote “Helpful!”

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R2W7KWZKQY6BGJ?_encoding=UTF8&asin=1439190275&cdForum=FxZJ813G2J60B7&cdMSG=addedToThread&cdPage=1&cdSort=newest&cdThread=TxCB0L17B0KXSQ&newContentID=Mx29N41WGQ10GIN&newContentNum=4900&store=books#CustomerDiscussionsNRPB

    Thanks for tipping the thread toward endorsing WFPB!

    Bill Kleinbauer

    http://chinaoneorcutt.com

    ======================
    Oh – My letter to the Editor of my local Santa Maria Times Newspaper that was printed today:

    http://santamariatimes.com/news/opinion/mailbag/how-to-avoid-breast-removal/article_85c19212-c1d7-11e2-8c0c-001a4bcf887a.html

    How to avoid breast removal

    Print Email
    10 hours ago • Bill Kleinbauer, Orcutt …. (1) Comments

    I recommend reviewing online responses from healthy lifestyle experts to Angelina Jolie’s breast-removal decision.

    Thirty-two years ago — and now age 60 — author Ellen Jaffe Jones considered having mastectomies to dodge a family history of cancer, but instead chose diet/running to defy odds.

    Dr. John McDougall said some important lessons can be learned from her [Jolie’s] story.

    My comment: Don’t rush into following choices made by celebrities — unless it is to adopt the whole-foods, plant-based diet of former President Clinton.

    ====================

  5. Susan Sasek says:

    I love the quantifiable outcomes! This is what has been missing. How do we help you move this forward?

  6. barbwire1@earthlink.net says:

    Thank you for all you do in keeping us informed! Barbara Montgomery

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