The British article excerpted below is typical of what one reads about fast food causing diabetes. The connection seems to be almost an article of faith. Yet when I looked at the evidence a couple of years ago, I could not find anything like conclusive evidence of an obesity/diabetes link, let alone a fast-food/diabetes link.

Let me state the obvious: Most fat people don’t get diabetes and you can find lots of non-obese people in any McDonald’s. Neither of those things would be true if fast food caused diabetes via obesity.

What has happened here, I suspect, is the usual epidemiological inattention to the direction of causation. It is true that those who already have diabetes do benefit by weight-loss and altering their diet but that does not mean that their diet caused the diabetes in the first place.

So what has caused the diabetes upsurge? At a guess: An interaction between genes and inactivity. Or maybe the increased stress of life in an increasingly lawless society. Or maybe both. But the research to find the real cause will not get done until this stupid obsession with fast food is abandoned. Don’t hold your breath

The first thing you see when you enter Mayday University Hospital, Croydon, is a Burger King concession next to the main reception desk. If you don’t fancy that, there is an Upper Crust, and the shop opposite has a huge display with a buy-two-get-one-free offer on packs of Revels, Maltesers and Skittles. Bags of custard-filled mini-doughnuts were half price – but they’re all sold out now.

It is a depressing scene, not least because Mayday was the focus of a recent installment of The Hospital – a hard-hitting, five-part Channel 4 series examining the immediate and long-term effects of teenage obesity, alcoholism, violence and sexually transmitted infections. They are problems which, say health experts, are in danger of crippling the NHS.

The episode at Mayday looked at the impact of diabetes, particularly the obesity-related type 2 diabetes. The TV programme followed consultant diabetologist Dr Richard Savine and his team as they struggled to convince young sufferers to take responsibility for their health.

Speaking today, Dr Savine sums up the problem. ‘When I qualified it was unheard of to find a type 2 diabetic under the age of 40. Now we are seeing teenagers with the disease. ‘They have diabetes because they have been fat since they were five years old or younger. In 20 years these people will get heart disease, be going blind, suffer strokes and need dialysis. ‘And a large proportion of them will not survive, no matter what we do.’

‘When I qualified it was unheard of to find a type 2 diabetic under the age of 40. Now we are seeing teenagers with the disease. They have diabetes because they have been fat since they were five years old or younger’

Watching nurses and doctors at the hospital – where one in five patients has diabetes – tuck into burgers and double choc-chip muffins, it is not hard to see why, with the best will in the world, their words fell mostly on deaf ears….

So what can be done? ‘We need to educate,’ he says. ‘Children are growing up with a skewed idea of what healthy eating is. ‘We need to get them to understand it isn’t normal to eat pizza or kebabs three times a week. And many patients see their health as something that doctors look after when it goes wrong.’

How does a Burger King in the hospital reception fit into that message? ‘Most patients will be fed hospital food, which is now very good,’ he answers. ‘It doesn’t matter whether the burger bar is in reception or next door – if a family brings junk food to a diabetic in hospital, you have already lost the battle.’

Of course, Mayday is not alone. Out of 170 NHS Trusts, 40 rent space to chains including Burger King, Subway and Upper Crust.

SOURCE

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don’t forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here

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