Within his first hours in office, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at rolling back Obamacare, with plans for a possible repeal. However, the doctor and medical adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton says a re-do on the Affordable Care Act won’t fix the underlying health-care issue plaguing Americans today.
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“I think the focus on insurance reform doesn’t get to the real problem, which is why are people getting into the health-care system in the first place -- and it’s really driven by obesity,” Mark Hyman, M.D., and Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, tells FOX Business.
Today, nearly one third of the U.S. population is obese, and another third is overweight, according to the CDC. The government agency released a report last month showing life expectancy has taken a dip for the first time since the early 1990s, while heart disease—the leading cause of death in the U.S.—has risen 0.9% from 2014.
The cause? Hyman says it’s simply that Americans have been fed the wrong nutritional information dating back to the 1950s, when an American physiologist, Ancel Keys found a correlation between fat consumption and heart disease. Hyman says Keys findings about the dangers of fat in a diet were overblown.
“It was just a correlation, it didn’t prove cause and effect,” says Hyman, who wrote “Eat Fat, Get Thin.” “So then the American Heart Association got on board, then the government got on board and in the 1980s, they developed the first dietary guidelines, which said to eat less fat and more carbs.”
Last year, the USDA dietary guidelines committee changed their guidance on fat consumption, saying they no longer encourage a low-fat diet and in fact, up to 35% of daily calories can come from healthy fats like fish, eggs and olive oil. Since then, big corporations like Campbell’s Soup (NYSE:CPB), Kellogg’s (NYSE:K) and Nestle have tweaked their products by removing artificial flavoring/sugars, preservatives and trans fat (the bad fat which has been ruled as not “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA). But Hyman says more work still needs to be done.
“It wasn’t intentional. I think what happened was [the food companies] were following the lead of scientists and the government telling us to eat less fat and not worry about sugars or starch,” Hyman says. "I met with the CEO of Campbell’s Soup and I was very impressed with their desire to get out GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and label and change the ingredients so that they are healthy and not processed, and I think the food companies can step up to the plate and change and they are.”
Campbell's Soup said in a statement to FOX Business that they "are not looking to get out of GMOs" but rather on a mission to get them labeled because they believe their customers have a right to know.
In “Eat Fat, Get Thin,” Hyman outlines the “pegan” diet—a mash up of parts from the paleo and vegan diets—which he says he used to sway Bill Clinton, who turned vegan in 2004, back to eating some animal proteins again.
“I changed [Bill] from being vegan to eating more fish and other good quality proteins,” he said. “I know that it’s challenging for them [Bill and Hillary] to be on the road and there are stresses, but they are big believers in the power of nutrition to address chronic disease.”