February 23, 2001 (Ira Pilgrim)

Diet Doctors

I have a great diet. You're allowed to eat anything you want, but you must eat it with naked fat people.

Ed Bluestone

There is an old saying that a psychiatrist is an MD who can't stand the sight of blood. Well, the same thing applies to diet doctors. The difference is that a psychiatrist might rarely make a mistake that might cost someone his life. The diet doctor can't. No matter what he says and people follow, their lives will not be endangered to any great extent. Of course, their lives will probably not be extended to any great extent either.

What makes this type of career desirable is that it can be very lucrative. One best-selling book can yield a million bucks or more. A person who writes a diet book doesn't have to have any great talent either. He doesn't have to be right, because people who are overweight will buy just about anything that they believe might help them to lose weight. Unfortunately for them, the only thing that will really work is a complete change in their life style, which means being more active and eating less. Almost any diet will result in weight loss, but staying on a diet for the rest of your life is like being in constant pain for the rest of your life. I tried dieting once and I thought of nothing but food, day and night. I have never been so hungry all of the time in my whole life.

What does a diet doctor have to know in order to write an "authoritative" book? He has to know how to write a coherent English sentence, and little else. It helps if he has been to medical school. In medical school, he will also have had a course in biochemistry in medical school and therefore might know the vocabulary and probably little more than that about the subject. Anyone who has dealt with medical students knows that a medical student who has taken a course, automatically becomes an authority on the subject. He becomes a "certified" authority after he graduates and can put the initials MD after his name.

In the good old days, before the sulfonamides and antibiotics, there was no cure for gonorrhea. Some doctors made a damn good living treating gonorrhea, despite the fact that there wasn't a treatment that was worth a damn. They were contemptuously referred to as "clap doctors," which was the next worst thing to being an abortionist. With the advent of the Roe vs. Wade decision, abortionists became more respectable. Doctors who were not abortionists also performed the procedure. Now the dregs of the medical profession become diet doctors.

I once said to a physician friend that I though that, before the advent of antibiotics, doctors killed more people than they cured. He said, "I disagree; they're still killing more than they are curing." Well, you can't say that about diet doctors because they neither cure anyone nor kill anyone. They just take money for doing absolutely nothing. They don't steal it because they don't have to. There are plenty of fat people who will buy their books.

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