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  • ​Compromise Versus Moderation


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Thursday, December 05, 2013 11:57 am Email this article

    Recently I added two new orders to the Eight Doctor’s Orders to make ten. The first new order was “Eat some breakfast, a long lunch and a small supper”, i.e. move more of your food into the front part of the day when you have more self-control. We’re good with that one.

    The second new order was “Moderation in all things”, and right away I got into trouble. At first I didn’t understand what was going on, but then I discovered that people confuse moderation with compromise. They are not the same. Moderation means keeping within reasonable limits. Compromise means a settlement of differences in which both sides make concessions.

    To illustrate the difference, consider two people to whom I presented a mountain of evidence showing that cholesterol does not cause heart attacks and cholesterol-lowering statin drugs do enormous harm. Their response was to cut their Lipitor dose in half. That was compromise, not moderation; it was inappropriate under the circumstances. 

    There is no such thing as compromise in science for the good reason that no one gets credit (or gets well) by being half-right. There is moderation in science however; you don’t shout, you reason, gather evidence and give credit to others. Reason is the root of the term “reasonable” in the definition of moderation, “within reasonable limits”. Compromise does not have to be reasonable and often isn’t.

    Spurred by the new order to be moderate, some of my patients started disobeying some of my Orders, excusing it as a compromise. But I said moderation in all things, not compromise. I meant for patients to do ALL of the Ten Orders, always . . . but they don’t have to be perfect. You can occasionally eat a snack. You can occasionally eat from a white plate. The goal is to make you leaner, not skinny; happy, not stressed.

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