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  • When Good Advice Is Bad


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Friday, November 15, 2013 2:25 pm Email this article

    Eighteen years ago when I began in bariatrics, I did not know what to tell people. I knew that the existing nostrums were all wrong. So I made up stuff. In my defense, I always checked the results of my advice and discontinued it when it wasn’t working. 

    For example, I used to tell people to eat when hungry and stop when full. Sounds right, doesn’t it? But it was a disaster. People started gaining weight. I quickly snuffed out the advice. In postgame analysis I realized that fat people assume they are always hungry and feel full only when the overfull stomach is stretched. My advice had given them permission to snack and eat huge suppers, the very things I now oppose.

    I’ve got it straight now. All of my advice is battle-tested.

    Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” I know what he meant by that, but imagine the disaster if we gave that advice to the average American who believes all men are equal, anyone can be an expert and knowledge can be picked up from friends, Dr. Oz, the AHA, Republicans, headlines and things half-heard and un-analyzed. Walt Disney, the quintessential American, described our attitude . . . 

    “If you wish upon a star,
    makes no difference who you are,
    anything your heart desires
    will come to you.”

    What a bunch of bullhorn! America is a faith-based nation. We would be more useful to the world if we were reality-based.

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