Sunday, September 19, 2021

A Few Health Numbers (by the book... or, buy the book)

 Recently finished, and much enjoyed, Dr. Robert Lustig’s latest volume on nutrition/health/food, “Metabolical,” a fairly searing take on the American diet and how it got to be this way. Toward the end of the volume comes this passage hinting at the insidious countervailing pressures at work:

Which addictive substance is the cheapest to produce and procure, yet the most expensive burden to society? Nicotine used to be the cheapest. At its worst, lung cancer claimed 443,000 people a year and cost healthcare $14 billion annually. But it also made the U.S. government lots of money, because the median smoker died at age sixty-four, before they started collecting Social Security and Medicare….

[he goes on to dispatch with alcohol in a similar vein, before coming to his conclusion that “By far and away, the most expensive burden to society is sugar,” which he has spent much of the book detailing].

Not terribly mathematical (though plenty of facts and figures), but a good, if scathing, read on processed food in America.

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