Thursday, August 06, 2009

Whole Foods: We sell a bunch of junk

This is a quote from the WF big boss, John Mackey. The struggling US store says it would attempt to educate in the ways of healthy eating

When Whole Foods arrived in the UK two years ago it was hailed as a mecca for those determined to follow a healthy diet. But today the struggling US store's chief executive will probably want to eat his words after admitting that, alongside the organic carrots and bags of granola, the shops "sell a bunch of junk".

The comments came in an interview in which John Mackey was attempting to outline plans for the store to put more emphasis on healthy eating ? amid suggestions that it has recently indulged consumer cravings for more indulgent offerings.

He went on to say that Whole Foods was going to launch a healthy eating education initiative to encourage customers and employees to reduce obesity.

But Mackey told the Wall Street Journal: "Basically, we used to think it was enough just to sell healthy food, but we know it is not enough. We sell all kinds of candy. We sell a bunch of junk."

He said the store would now attempt to educate in the ways of healthy eating: "There will be someone in a kiosk to answer questions, they'll have cookbooks and health books, there will be some cooking classes. It will be about how to select food, because people don't know."

His comments come as Whole Foods reels from bad news. Jeff Turnas, who was parachuted in to take charge of the group's faltering UK operation last month, said Mackey's words "had been lost in translation", saying that what his boss meant was that eating too many crisps or cakes even if they are organic is not the best way to keep healthy.

The main Whole Foods store is in Kensington, west London, and it runs a handful of convenience stores, formerly trading as Fresh & Wild in parts of London.

But its British foray has been an unhappy one. The group made an operating loss for the year to 30 September 2008 of ?36m, widening from a ?9.9m shortfall for the previous 12 months. Its parent company, Whole Foods Market Inc, has been forced to write off almost ?50m as part of the effort to establish a foothold in the UK.

Mackey said Whole Foods would attempt to rid its stores of unhealthy food, starting with a campaign to get its employees healthier, and would be going back to its roots in selling healthy food.

"Right now, if you work for the company you get a 20% discount card," Mackey said. "We're going to create incentives for our team members to get healthier."

Mackey said Whole Foods is going back to its roots of selling healthy food.

"Healthy eating went on at Whole Foods from at least about 1980 to 1995. Now we've had a 15 year run for the foodie philosophy. We are launching a reversal now. We will be moving into food as health."

Thousands of useless procedures

Back treatment for elderly works no better than a sham procedure
(the link to the article is below).

How could this happen?

Companies with drugs and medical devices often won't even attempt to validate their procedures and pharmeceuticals by comparing them to a placebo control. It's just too risky in case they get a negative result.

It's much better to compare their products to competing products -- so even if the outcome is "just as good as the competing brand", that's still a sellable position.

That's why you see study results like this one -- only after the drug or procedure gets onto the market, and doctors distribute it into the population, do we finally get to make those critical assesments. Assessments like, is this procedure or drug any better than doing nothing at all??

In the mean time, thousands of women underwent a useless procedure and our healthcare system paid out millions of dollars, again, for a useless procedure.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Conventional medicine loses?

Americans spend $34B annually for alternative medicine treatments.

This amazing number tells you that people are moving away from
conventional medicine. They trust the alternative approaches more.

Conventional medicine is responding to this shift in market share by trying to incorporate chiropractic, acupuncture, etc., into their treatments.

That's a great outcome of basic economics -- our demand drives the
supply. Traditional medicine was traditionally hostile to these
approaches, but, thankfully, no longer.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Health Claim Free For All

The FDA is getting sued. Why? Because they have the audacity to make food products qualify their claims.

If one study shows positive results, but 20 studies show negative results, the product makers want to be able to tout the health benefits -- even though there are negative data out there.


Here is the article. Basically, the food industry is treating science data as "free speech". I'm not making this up.

“The FDA is refusing to honor the Court’s ruling in Pearson v Shalala and the mandates governing the qualified health claims system. The law states you cannot censor statements of science simply because the science is inconclusive."

Here's the catch-22. They want to use science, because science lends the weight of absolute fact. But they don't want to be bound by the nature of science -- which is that "one study does not a conclusion make". You can ALWAYS get studies to agree with your desired conclusion by manipulating the data, the study design, and even the questions that you ask!

Great that the FDA is sticking to their guns because, otherwise, science data just becomes nothing more than a retail marketing schtick.

Monday, August 03, 2009

One in 10 High School Seniors Have Used Narcotic Painkillers -


(The link to the story is below.)

The misuse of meds is as old as the prescription of those medications.
But an additional element we face is that the use of pain meds is
implicitly encouraged by any entity that stands to profit from their

Children abusing our drugs then becomes a dangerous downstream eddy of
our pop-a-pill culture of health.

Sent from my iPhone

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