Health & The Supermarket: The Profit Motive Is Alive and Well in the 21st Century-- So You Must Be Too!

Health & The Supermarket: The Profit Motive Is Alive and Well in the 21st Century-- So You Must Be Too!
Dr. Claudewell S. Thomas Psychiatrist RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA

Claudewell S. Thomas, MD, MPH, DLFAPA, is an established psychiatrist currently retired and living in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. He received his medical degree in 1956 at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and specializes in social psychiatry, public health psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry. Dr. Thomas was board... more

The other day I made a series of rare visits, first to a supermarket, then to a drug store, and finally to an auto body shop. A friend and neighbor drove past as I had to drive my wife's car back. I had put myself on an ulcer diet because of lifelong problems with a hiatal hernia, and was shopping for items in accordance with that. The auto body shop visit was a source of annoyance because the left front bumper had sprung loose under pressure from a water hose! We assigned one half hour to the task of shopping for that diet. The first market encounter was with a brightly lit display of lean deli meats at about $4 per package--1/4lb. Moving forward, the available light got dimmer and the store got colder. However the general deli section had packaged meats at prices 1/4 to 1/2 the prices encountered at the front of the store, but because of poor light I could only sense that the deli cut inside the plastic case was not uniform in color. Anyway, the price was right, so on to the fruit juices! Citrus juices and tomato based juices with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) were to be avoided. Once again, the fluorescent light was hard to see by and the labels were hard to read. Price can probably be a guide, but punch is a bad word. Blends are a bit safer with water being the added ingredient but fructose is all over the place. Why? It's 1/2 of sucrose (ordinary table sugar) but that fructose separated by stomach acids is mostly subject to digestive enzymatic action, and like glucose (the other 1/2) enters the decarboxylation process called the Krebs cycle. The fructose (as in HFCS) is often open chain (not carboxylated), extremely soluble, experienced as intensely sweet and thus addictive. It can access the hepatic portal vein directly, gets deposited in liver, kidneys, brain and lung, and is severely diabetogenic. (I will gladly accept correction and clarification by those more knowledgeable!!) Anyway, we only succeeded in buying almond milk and soft bread, all else was returned by my wife because we'd missed undesirable carbohydrates, hidden nitrites and nitrates etc. The prepared foods are full of undesirable substances that are cheap and tasty. So special care has to be taken with them and with delivered foods. The auto body shop called to request permission to do a non warranty repair costing something rather than nothing, but substituting bolts and steel for plastic and glue. Permission cheerily granted! No more complaints about the time my wife spends reading labels in the stores. The profit motive is part of human nature and it's pursuit is part of the American success story but as always CAVEAT EMPTOR !!