Preventive Medicine Column
Dr. David L. Katz
I wrote this column. You are reading it. Minimally, that means we are both literate. We weren’t born that way. We learned to be literate. We acquired a valuable set of related skills upon which we have relied throughout our lives.
You and I learned literacy from others who already had the relevant skills.
Learning to read wasn’t trivial; it occupyied years of our childhood. There was, for starters, that whole darn alphabet from A to Z. There were tenses, and conjugations, and punctuation; grammar, and syntax, and vocabulary. Maybe you visited conjunction junction along the way.
But one thing that did NOT happen was a magical shortcut. With parents and teachers who had already been around this block and on beyond zebra looking on, there was no way for a huckster to glide in and say: “hey, kid- over here. No need for the whole alphabet and all that grammar nonsense! All you really need is my especially shiny version of the letter ‘G.’ It’s all about ‘G,’ and I can set you right up for 3 easy payments…”
That didn’t happen. Nor were there alternative charlatans peddling other literacy fads: it’s just about Q; you need only avoid T; you have to combine P with D at suitable frequencies; everything will be fine if you cut out all semi-colons; and so on. We all learned the whole alphabet, and here we are. I’m writing, you are reading. It worked.
Not only did it work, but it left us with a valuable, even essential skill, for modern living upon which we may comfortably depend throughout our entire lives. A bit of an investment, certainly; but one heckuva return!
We went on to apply those ABC’s to much of what followed, getting a job and making money salient among them. Here, we did encounter hucksters along the way, and every now and then someone among us managed to get swindled. But most of us knew, just as we knew our A-B-Cs, that earning money took work and skill, and managing money took work and skill and time. We knew that not all opinions were created equal, too, and when we needed advice, we sought out experts.
For the most part, the only time we turned to get-rich-quick schemes was when we needed a good laugh. We watched that loveable doofus, Ralph Cramden of the Honeymooners, fall into the same tempting idiocy over and over again. Get-rich-quick schemes were the stuff of sit-coms, because we were far too wise to take them seriously. We had a good laugh; Ralph kept driving his bus, and never did get rich.
But then there’s health. When it comes to losing weight and finding health, what happens to all that good common sense? Where does our solid core of pragmatic wisdom go? The two most popular health messages at the moment are that wheat is making us fat, and grains are making us stupid.1 But consider how many other such silver-bullet, scapegoat, get-thin-quick messages we have plowed through before now. They are all instruction of the ‘you don’t need the alphabet- just don’t use commas, and you’ll win a Pulitzer’ variety.
Aren’t we ready, at last, after subjecting ourselves and our families to a long litany of hyperbolic nonsense and exploitative boondoggles, for the A-B-Cs of losing weight and finding health?
My hope is yes, and my mission depends on it. I offer you and your loved ones Disease Proof in a totally honest effort to get you to whatever weight loss you want, and the health you deserve. It’s a dose of comprehensive empowerment, one skill at a time, cultivating a basic and essential literacy for health and weight control in the modern world.
We have far too much common sense to fritter away our hard-earned money and precious hours on fanciful get-rich-quick schemes either. But get thin quick? Get healthy quick? A just-one-ingredient, fell-swoop, instantaneous and effortless program for health and weight loss? Let me get my credit card…
Folks, the genuinely magnificent opportunity to add years to life and life to years is, truly, tantalizingly within reach- for you and those you love. I can help. But my guidance, born of nearly 30 years of study, research, teaching, publishing and patient care does come with an important proviso. Losing weight and finding health is as easy as A-B-C. It just isn’t easier.
1 The books are “Wheat Belly” and “Grain Brain”
Dr. David L. Katz