Calley Means Profile picture
Jan 2, 2023 11 tweets 4 min read Read on X
Early in my career, I consulted for Coke to ensure sugar taxes failed and soda was included in food stamp funding.

I say Coke's policies are evil because I saw inside the room.

The first step in playbook was paying the NAACP + other civil rights groups to call opponents racist
Coke gave millions to the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation - both directly and through front groups like the American Beverage Association.

This picked up in 2011-2013 - when the Farm Bill and soda taxes were under consideration.… Image
The conversations inside these rooms was depressingly transactional:

"We (Coke) will give you money. You need to paint opponents of us as racist."
The effort was successful, and the message was carried in thousands of articles between 2011-2013.

Coke's position was clear: soda is one of the cheapest ways to get calories - a flagrantly inaccurate statement when factoring in the health consequences.…
I watched as the FDA funneled money to professors at leading universities - as well as think tanks on the left and right - to create studies showing soda taxes hurt the poor. They also paid for studies that say drinking soda DIDN'T cause obesity.… Image
Of course, not mentioned in these studies is that incontrovertible fact that sugary drinks are one of the top causes of obesity and diabetes - leading to harrowing statistics like this.…
Soda companies are deeply embedded in the USDA - so much so that the agency carries discredited talking points like "there are no bad food, only bad diets."

This ignores fact that sugar is highly addictive and has negative nutritional value. Image
In the end: racial tensions flared, soda spending was kept in SNAP funding, and many of the soda taxes were defeated...

Of course, this has been a disaster for low-income communities. Addictive, deadly sugary drinks should never be included in a government nutrition program.
People saying that restricting soda from SNAP funding is "paternalistic" or an "assault on personal choice" are unwittingly doing the work of the soda companies.

You can't have a free market if that market is rigged.
If this resonates, I am sending out a daily email exploring the food/health system and giving actionable health ideas that have impacted me:…
And if you agree food should be at the center of medicine and our healthcare system needs to empower patients (not keep them in fear) - follow me.

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More from @calleymeans

Jan 9
In a burst of energy before she died, my mom urged us to take her to where she'd be buried.

Cupping my dad's face, she talked about how magical their life was together.

It was the most profound moment of my life, and it wouldn't have happened if we listened to her doctors.

Just 13 days before, in January 2021, my mom was apparently healthy.

She felt a pain in her stomach during her morning hike and got a scan. Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

She called me and said she wouldn’t meet her future grandchildren. The family rushed to her side. My sister @DrCaseysKitchen and I learned three things over those next 13 days... Lessons that we think provide an explanation - and solutions - for the largest issue our country faces: the fact that we are getting sicker, fatter, more depressed, and more infertile at an increasing rate while bankrupting our country with healthcare costs.

The first was that the predominant incentive in medicine is to intervene after you get sick.

Right after my mom's unexpected cancer diagnosis, a medical team out of Stanford and Palo Alto Medical Foundation jumped to action, recommending a laundry list of surgeries and procedures—biopsies, blood transfusions, and a liver stent. In most cases, the patient would have agreed to these procedures, and the meeting would wrap up quickly.

These recommendations were coming from some of the most prestigious institutions in the world, after all.

But based on my sister's experience in medicine (Stanford MD and surgical residency), she started asking questions. We learned that these procedures had about a 33 percent chance of extending her life a few more months at most, a 33 percent chance of shortening her life span, and a 33 percent chance of not impacting her life span (yet keeping her away from the family). In all cases, the invasive route would mean that my mom would need to sit in a hospital room alone, because of Covid-19 protocols, and potentially longer if the surgery had complications, as they often do with immunocompromised cancer patients.

My mom made it clear to the oncologist that she was not afraid of her rapidly impending death, but she wanted to minimize unnecessary pain or nausea in her final days. Despite being clear, the system pushed the exact procedures that would yield pain and nausea and aggressively shamed our family for questioning the full-court press approach.

Thank God we had my sister - who had routinely seen doctors push unnecessary surgeries to terminally ill patients during her training - who had the wherewithal to push back.

In 99.9% of cases, my mom would have died alone in a hospital room and we would have missed the life-changing final days with her.

The second lesson was that my mom's cancer was not "random." Her oncologists said it was "bad luck." It wasn't.

In the decades leading up to my mom’s cancer diagnosis, she was informed her rising cholesterol, waistline, fasting glucose, and blood pressure levels were conditions that she could “manage” for life with a pill. But instead of isolated conditions, all of the symptoms my mom experienced leading to her death were warning signs of the same thing: dysregulation in how her cells were producing and using energy.

But through decades of symptoms, my mom—and most other adults in the modern world—are simply prescribed pills and not set on a path of curiosity about how these conditions are connected and how the root cause can be reversed.

The third lesson was that there is a better way than our current system, and it starts with understanding that the biggest lie in health care is that the root cause of why we’re getting sicker, heavier, more depressed, and more infertile is complicated.

Depression, anxiety, acne, infertility, insomnia, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s dementia, cancer, and most other conditions that torture and shorten our lives are actually rooted in the same thing.

And the ability to prevent and reverse these conditions—and feel incredible today—is under your control and simpler than you think.

After leaving traditional medicine and working with patients to understand their biomarkers and take simple root causes actions - my sister routinely saw quick reversals of formerly intractable conditions.

The siloing and medicalization of chronic disease in the past fifty years has been an abject failure. Today, we’ve siloed diseases and have a treatment for everything:
✅High cholesterol? See a cardiologist for a statin.
✅High fasting glucose? See an endocrinologist for metformin.
✅Depressed? See a psychiatrist for a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
✅Can’t sleep? See a sleep specialist for Ambien.
✅PCOS? See an ob-gyn for clomiphene.
✅Erectile dysfunction? See a urologist for Viagra.
✅Sinus infections? See an ENT for an antibiotic or surgery.

But what nobody talks about—what I think many doctors don’t even realize—is that the rates of most of these conditions are going up at the exact time we are spending trillions of dollars to “treat them.”

In the face of these unprecedented trends happening to our brains and bodies across our life span—which all have metabolic dysfunction as a root—we are told to “trust the science.” This obviously doesn’t make sense. We have been gaslighted to not ask questions over the past fifty years at the exact time chronic disease rates have exploded.

The truth: we should consider listening to the medical system if we have an acute issue like a life-threatening infection or broken bone. But when it comes to the chronic conditions that plague our lives, we should distrust almost every institution giving the advice. The answers are much more simple and under our control.

In the days following my mom's death, my sister and I affirmed to devote our lives to changing these broken health incentives. And Casey expressed a passion to write a book with lessons she's learned working inside and outside the medical system. I have helped her write this book over the past several years and it will be coming out in May.

A lot of issues will be discussed as we enter 2024, but the most important is that our human capital in America (particularly kids) is being decimated by preventable and reversible metabolic conditions. Thank you @bariweiss @TheFP for publishing an excerpt.Image
Here is the full excerpt in @TheFP…
Over the past three years, my sister and I have been writing a book about what the future of American healthcare must look like. Spurring this change is our life's work.

More info here:
Read 4 tweets
Jan 8
In 2010, opioid companies bribed the Dean of Stanford Med School millions of dollars.

In return, Dr. Philip Pizzo (a "pain specialist") chaired an NIH panel to recommend lenient standards.

He then used DEI language to protect opioid makers.

This is how the game is played:
With negative opioid headlines entering the news around 2011, the NIH assembled a blue-ribbon panel to assess the issue.

The report was a full-throated endorsement of opioids - asserting that pain is a "disease" that impacts more people than diabetes and cancer.Image
Stanford Dean Pizzo called for a "cultural transformation" to take more "comprehensive" steps to combat pain (i.e., more opioid prescriptions).

He chastised the existing culture that denied opioids to marginalized groups.Image
Read 16 tweets
Sep 20, 2023
More than 50% of psychologists are directly paid by antidepressant makers.

The US has "medicalized" our brains more than any other country - and we lead the world in depression and childhood suicide.

Here are 8 other facts that prove why the US psychiatry industry is a scandal:
1) Former Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Loren Mosher recently said:

“Psychiatry has been almost completely bought and paid for by the drug companies.”…
2) A recent meta-analysis by The Lancet of 21 leading antidepressants showed the short-term benefits as:

“modest; and… [the] long-term balance of benefits and harms is often understudied.”…
Read 14 tweets
Jun 15, 2023
Doctors have the highest suicide rate of any profession.

It’s not bc they’re working hard.

The @nytimes argues they are suffering from mass “moral injury,” the same dynamic soldiers face when they’re pushed to commit war crimes.

When are more doctors going to speak out? Image
The @nytimes points out the obvious:

that the incentives of medicine (which make money when interventions occur on sick patients and lose money when patients are healthy) systematically put doctors in moral binds. Image
Think about what is happening at scale:

The US medical system is a magnet for the best and brightest. These budding doctors could make more money elsewhere and get in for right reasons.

The system takes these mission-driven people, saddles them with hundreds of thousands in……
Read 4 tweets
May 18, 2023
Congress Is on track to renew a $200 billion bailout to Coke and other sugar companies.

If there is one policy we can all agree on, it is to stop government funding of diabetes water.

Here are key points from my op-ed with Rep. Andy Harris 👇…
According to a recent study, 184,000 worldwide deaths yearly could be attributable to obesity from sugar-added beverages alone.…
Shockingly, soft drinks are not only allowed on SNAP – but they are also the #1 item purchased.

In total, 10% of all SNAP funding goes to sugary drinks.

This amounts to a direct government transfer of more than $10 billion.….
Read 6 tweets
May 4, 2023
Yesterday, @MichelleObama announced she is partnering with a junk food company to sell sugar water to kids.

We must speak plainly: this is a cynical cash grab.

Kids don't need safer cigarettes. And they don't need safer sugar water.

They need leadership.

Here's the facts: Image
Mrs. Obama partnered with Juggernaut Capital Partners, a private company that specializes in "celebrity-driven" junk food brands and pharmaceutical products. Image
Juggernaut recently helped The Rock launch Zoa Energy - full of chemicals and sugar.

The pitch to Mrs. Obama was obvious and simple: we will make you a billionaire, using a tried and true formula of addicting kids to sugar and celebrity marketing.…
Read 13 tweets

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