Santa Claus is alive . . . and works for the drug industry

Maybe your teenagers no longer believe in Santa Claus, but I assure you: Not only is he alive, I believe that we have evidence that he works for the drug industry!

Psshaww! you say. Yet another rant from that kook, Davis. Who can he pick on next? What other imagined "conspiracies" can he uncover?

Let me recount the evidence and I'll let you decide how damning it all is:

--Christmas is a culture of excess, overeating, celebration: Cookies, candy canes, pie, chocolate, egg nog, more cookies . . . A virtual wheat and sugar frenzy!

--Wheat and sugars make us diabetic!

--What does a diabetic look like? How about big protuberant abdomen, florid cheeks, baggy eyes (from sleep apnea)? The red outfit and beard is optional, of course. Could you think of a better representation of what happens to a person when they eat goodies all the time?

I therefore submit that Santa Claus is at the root of a campaign to cultivate diabetes! Diabetes: a growth industry that is raking in billions of dollars for the drug companies!

I'd bet that Mr. Claus would agree with the dietary advice dispensed by the folks at the American Diabetes Association website:

A place to start is at about 45-60 grams of carbohydrate at a meal. You may need more or less carbohydrate at meals depending on how you manage your diabetes.

Eat more carbohydrates, get fatter in the abdomen, require more medication to keep sugar low. Then start over: eat more carbohydrates, get fatter, more medicines. Kaching!

"You may need more?" Personally, I'd be rendered comatose and helpless if I indulged in such carbohydrate gluttony.

If Mr. Claus were, instead, interested in our health and keeping us non-diabetic, Christmas would be a time for pistachios, almonds, dark chocolates, and tea.

You want health advice? Don't ask Santa Claus!

Comments (7) -

  • Jenny

    12/14/2008 4:47:00 PM |

    Dr. Davis,

    Have you written a letter to the ADA or even better to the ADA's Diabetes Care journal, protesting these damaging carbohydrate recommendations?

    Us regular folks are completely shut out of access to the ADA. We're supposed to send them money and shut up. But the are practicing medicine, and you're a doctor, so you CAN squawk.  

    Please do! And get your MD friends doing the same thing. When an organization has this much power over medical practice the only way it can be reformed is if doctors stand up and take that power back.

  • Nickname unavailable

    12/14/2008 11:41:00 PM |

    I'm not a diabetic, but I guess I don't see what is so egregious about the ADA recommendations.

    Let's do the math.  45g x 4 calories per gram x 3 meals means 540 carb calories a day.  For a 2000/day calorie diet, that means 27% coming from carbohydrate, far lower than the average American diet.  Since the other 73% has to be protein or fat, it gets tricky going with a percentage much lower than this.

    60g would make more carbs of course, 720 calories, or 36%. That's  still not particularly high.  Of course it depends what kind of carbs they are talking about.

  • Dr. William Davis

    12/15/2008 2:54:00 AM |


    What you call "not so egregious" is responsible for the modern epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

    I'd call that pretty damn egregious. The fact that  you've bought into the good carbs vs. bad carbs argument tells me that they have succeeded in propagating the low-fat diet argument to the detriment of your health.

  • Dr. William Davis

    12/15/2008 2:55:00 AM |


    What you call "not so egregious" is responsible for the modern epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

    I'd call that pretty damn egregious. The fact that  you've bought into the good carbs vs. bad carbs argument tells me that they have succeeded in propagating the low-fat diet argument to the detriment of your health.

  • Nickname unavailable

    12/15/2008 5:44:00 AM |

    I disagree.  Americans aren't obese because they are eating only 135 grams of carbohydrate per day.  They are eating way more than that. A 1994 study showed that Americans ate, on average, 2100 calories, 50% which came from carbs.  So that would make 1050 calories, or about 262 grams, almost double the ADA's lower recommendation.  It's probably even more now.

    And  yes, I do believe there is a big difference between overdosing on unhelpful carbs such as sugar, flour, baked goods and sodas, and eating a small to moderate amount of low-glycemic fruits, vegetables, alcohol and intact grains, which can easily add up to 135g of carbs over the course of a day.  Bear in mind, athletes and active people may need more than 2000 calories a day, and therefore the 135 grams would be an even lower percentage of total calories.

    I don't understand the comment about low-fat; if you are eating less than a third of your calories from carbs, then it would be virtually impossible to also eat "low-fat."

  • Sue

    12/16/2008 1:03:00 AM |

    45g carbohydrate per meal is too much for a diabetic.

  • BenignaMarko

    12/18/2008 5:24:00 PM |

    How do you come up with this one.  Santa Clause is working for the drug industry.  If he is, then we all need to ask Santa for our dosage of drugs to avoid heart problems.  As it stems from over the years of indulgence, so now we need to retract and ask Santa for healthy items.  I for one will make sure to get some.  Benigna Marko

At what score should a heart catheterization be performed?

At what score should a heart catheterization be performed?

That's easy: NONE.

(Although I've addressed this previously, the question has come up again many times and I thought it'd be worth repeating.)

In other words, no heart scan score--100, 500, 1000, 5000--should lead automatically to procedures in someone who underwent a heart scan but has no symptoms.

This question is a common point of confusion.

In other words, is there a specific cut-off that automatically triggers a need for catheterization?

In my view, there is no such score. We can't say, for instance, that everybody with a score above 1000 should have a catheterization. It is true that the higher your score, the greater the likelihood of a plaque blocking flow. A score of 1000 carries an approximately 25-30% likelihood of reduced blood flow sufficient to consider a stent or bypass. This can nearly always be settled with a stress test. Recall that, despite their pitfalls for uncovering hidden heart disease in the first place, stress tests are useful as gauges of coronary blood flow.

But even a score of 1000 carries a 70-75% likelihood that a procedure will not be necessary. This is too high to justify doing heart catheterizations willy-nilly.

Unfortunately, some of my colleagues will say that any heart scan score justifies a heart cath. I believe this is absolutely, unquestionably, and inexcusably wrong. More often than not, this attitude is borne out of ignorance, laziness, or a desire for profit.

Does every lump or bump justify surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy on the chance it could represent cancer? Of course not. There is indeed a time and place for these things, but judgment is involved.

In my view, no heart scan score should automatically prompt a major heart procedure like heart catheterization in a person without symptoms. If a stress test is normal, signifying normal coronary flow (and there are no other abnormal phenomena, such as abnormal left ventricular function), then there is no defensible rationale for heart procedures. Heart procedures like stents and bypass cannot prevent heart attacks in future; they can only restore flow when flow is poor, or stop the heart attack that is about to occur.

However, EVERY heart scan score above zero is a reason to engage in a program of prevention.

Comments (2) -

  • Drs. Cynthia and David

    11/20/2008 11:08:00 PM |

    Thank you Dr. Davis.  Your efforts on behalf of patients are very much appreciated.

    I wondered if you would be willing to submit a comment regarding the new USDA guidelines for food intake.  Your experiences with improving and reversing heart disease using diet (cutting out wheat, starch and sugar, etc) are very important.  People like McDougall are still pushing the low fat vegan approach and being listened to, and the members of the committee are all low fat dogmatists.  I think your experiences as a practitioner would hold more weight than anything I could say (though I submitted my two cents anyway). See to submit comments.

    Thanks again for your efforts.


  • Anonymous

    11/21/2008 4:10:00 PM |

    At the least, we should ask that the recommendations be based on research and not industry demands.