The pledge, the turn, and the prestige…

Did you see "The Prestige" with Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and Michael Caine a couple years ago? It came to mind for me today because tonight a dear friend of mine who's a master magician (and has his PhD in Audiology, by the way... can you imagine dinner conversation in *that* house?) is performing at the Magic Castle tonight and I have the pleasure of going.

As you know, I'm always looking for new ways to explain true health, and today I'm going to use the theme from the movie, and the entire premise that magic tricks are based on. That's The Pledge, The Turn, and The Prestige.

The Pledge: Basically the promise. That you are seeing something that you and I agree on, whether it's a deck of cards, or a handkerchief, or a dove. We both agree on the item and that there's nothing tricky or weird about it.

In my field, one of the pledges many people fall for is "diet" food. It's publicized as healthy for you, and on the surface appears to be a better choice. After all, if pastries are loaded with sugar and fat, and a "low fat, low sugar" pastry has less of it, then I should be able to eat it, right?

The Turn: This is where I take the item that you and I agree on, let's say a deck of cards, and I do something to it or have you do something to it. You write your name across the card and then tear it up, for example. This is where the "magic" or "trickery" comes in because I brought you into the process, and you've bought in that what you just did is "real."

Let's go back to low fat, low sugar foods. The food companies take fat (which isn't bad for you in the right types and right proportions) and sugar out of their products and then they have to add something back in so it tastes good. The somethings that they usually put back in are hydrogenated oils (which cause oxidation and plaque build up in the heart arteries) and artificial sweeteners. In case you missed me on the soap box about artificial sweeteners, let's recap. Aspartame (Equal) has been linked to neurological symptoms and migraines and a host of other "weird" symptoms. Sucralose (Splenda) appears to be safer, but let me remind you that they take an oxygen and hydrogen molecule off sugar and replace it with chlorine. Ick. I'm not eating chlorine. End of story.

Then there's The Prestige: This is the WOW, or the "How did you do that?" That's when your torn up playing card with your name on it winds up in your front pocket and it's whole.

This is the whole part of this analogy where it's not a one to one comparison but I'll do my best. With diet foods, the promise is that you'll be healthier. The trickery is that if you look at the health statistics of America, we get sicker every year. Obesity is on the rise and now it's affecting children. The Prestige, in my mind, is that we never should have picked up the diet food in the beginning. Fat and sugar make you feel satisfied. Eaten in small quantities, they release a cascade of hormones related to satiety, feeling full, and they trigger your "stop eating" mechanism. Artificial sweeteners and fats don't do the same thing, so your natural defenses against overeating don't kick in the way they should.

If you have chronic diseases related to inflammation like arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions or blood sugar issues, diet food isn't really helping you. I know the marketing departments of the big food companies have done a terrific job making you think they help. But they don't.

I'll be speaking on Tuesday, September 30 at the Whole Wheatery at 6 p.m. The topic is on food sensitivities and allergies, but I'll be available afterward to talk about nutritional counseling. I invite you to come and bring a friend!

On another note, we're getting more and more patients asking us to handle their insurance billing. We strive to offer the best service in the valley, and we just can't ignore the requests we get every week for this service. We listened, and have brought an outside billing company in to handle the billing for those patients who can't get care any other way. As you come in for treatment, we'll discuss if and how this change affects you. If you have referrals who have been hesitant to come in over the insurance thing, please forward this email to them.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Yours in good health, Dr. Andrea Mills