Many Americans believe the federal government is in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies and deep-pocketed corporations to conceal health information from the public.
According to new research published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), many people subscribe to several widespread medical conspiracy theories:
- 37% believe the Food and Drug Administration is deliberately hiding "natural cures for cancer and other diseases" from the public because of financial and political pressure from drug companies.
- 20% say health officials are hiding evidence that cell phones cause cancer.
- 20% believe health officials promote child vaccines even though they "know these vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders."
- 49% of Americans believe at least one of these theories and 18% believe at least three.
The findings underscore the public's lack of trust in government and big businesses, especially drug companies, said study co-author Eric Oliver, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago.
"People who embrace these [medical conspiracy theories] are not less health-conscious," said Professor Oliver. "They're just less likely to embrace traditional medicine."
TV stars Kristin Cavallari and Jenny McCarthy recently made headlines after revealing they won't vaccinate their children because they believe vaccines cause autism (one of the conspiracy theories outlined above).
McCarthy has an 11-year-old son, Evan, who has autism. She believes Evan's autism was caused by the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine he received as a baby. In 2007, McCarthy was heavily criticized after launching an anti-vaccine movement.
"We need to get rid of the toxins, the mercury — which I am so tired of everyone saying has been removed," said McCarthy. "It has not been removed from the shots."
Jenny, a vegan, was also criticized after saying she had cured her son's autism by eliminating gluten from his diet. McCarthy discussed curing her son's autism in her book, Louder Than Words: A Mom's Journey in Healing Autism.
'Nicotine Is Not Addictive' and 'Eating Fat Makes You Fat'
It's not surprising the public is suspicious of big businesses after the shocking conspiracy Big Tobacco was involved in for decades. In 1994, the CEOs of seven tobacco companies perjured themselves after testifying under oath that "Nicotine is not addictive" (see video above), notwithstanding incontrovertible scientific proof confirming otherwise.
Subsequent class-action lawsuits revealed that Big Tobacco executives deliberately concealed evidence of the addictive nature of nicotine and of the link between cigarette-smoking and cancer.
Government health guidelines are equally suspect, especially in light of recent findings that longstanding government positions on issues like saturated fat has been wrong for four decades.
Saturated fat has been blamed for causing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol for the past 40 years. During this time, all of these diseases have exploded, in part due to government-mandated low-fat, high-carb dietary recommendations.
Many leading medical experts now say unprocessed saturated fat is healthy, and actually prevents obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The real cause of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes is a high-carb diet, they say.
In October 2013, cardiologist Aseem Malhotra rocked the nutrition world with his declaration that unprocessed saturated fat is good for you.
In his research, Dr. Malhotra found no evidence that a high-fat diet causes heart attacks, obesity or diabetes. If anything, he said consuming healthy fats (like those found in grass-fed meat, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, salmon and avocados) protect against these diseases.
Dr. Malhotra said the vilification of saturated fat for the past 40 years was due to corporate greed — not a concern for public health.
The food industry has profited from the low-fat mantra for decades because foods that are marketed as low-fat are often loaded with sugar. We are now learning that added sugar in food is driving the obesity epidemic and the rise in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
Similarly, obesity expert Dr. Eric Westman underscored that a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet not only produces rapid weight loss, but also combats epilepsy and reverses type 2 diabetes.
Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, told me the low-carb ketogenic diet prevents — and in some instances reverses — Alzheimer's disease and ADHD. "Carbs for devastating for the brain," said Dr. Perlmutter.
Dr. Jeff Volek, author of the Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living, told me the ketogenic diet reverses type 2 diabetes, prevents heart disease, and causes fast weight loss without hunger. And cancer researcher Dr. Dominic D'Agostino recently told me a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet can fight cancer without chemotherapy or surgery.
Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Duke University Obesity Clinic, is pleased that mainstream media is finally dispelling the myth that eating fat makes you fat and sick. To the contrary, he said: Eating fat makes you skinny and healthy.
"Eat lots of fat," said Dr. Westman, author of A New Atkins for a New You. "There's no problem with fat. In fact, saturated fat — the fat that we've been taught not to eat — raises your good cholesterol best of all the foods you can eat."