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Hangry January 25, 2020 Death of a Taxi Driver

Joshua Rothman, in a recent New Yorker article about equality, talks about his fondness for a taxi driver. “Peter, who was still driving cabs, picked my father up from the airport and gave him a business card. Peter started driving him, too; that year, on a trip with my dad and his family, Peter and I were reunited, to our great delight. But not long afterward he died. He suffered from diabetes and hypertension, and had no health insurance; he went too long before seeking treatment for an infection in his toe. It got into his bloodstream, and he died of septic shock.”

The diabetes likely caused the toe infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, complications from Diabetes can include foot damage. “Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections, which often heal poorly. These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.”

Just this morning I listened to CBC radio’s Quirks and Quarks. “Beyond weight loss, other benefits to intermittent fasting could include increased physical and mental energy, improved learning and memory, reduced anxiety levels and improved mood. There was also evidence that fasting can suppress inflammation, improve blood sugar regulation and could even help extend life expectancy.”

Dr Jason Fung is quoted: “Fung says the key to fasting is in the insulin response. Insulin levels are increased by the body when we eat. He describes insulin as a train conductor that can switch tracks to redirect where the body gets its energy. ‘When insulin levels are up, the track switches to burning fuel from the food we just ate. When insulin levels are down, it switches tracks and starts burning fuel from our liver and fat stores.’ After this switch to burning fat happens, our cells can go into “repair and maintenance” mode, a process called autophagy, that starts recycling components of cells that aren’t functioning well.”

Even if Peter been covered by health insurance in America, he probably would have been told by a dietician or doctor to keep eating carbs, keep fat intake low, take Metformin for Diabetes and other pills for high blood pressure. Maybe he would even be told that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and dutifully eaten “enriched” cereal.

It makes me sad that this happened in Rothman’s childhood. It makes me angry that this is still happening today.

The Nutrition Coalition, an American group, says, “For the past 35 years, the federal government has published the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) —the principal policy guiding diet in the United States—with the goals of promoting good health, helping Americans reach a healthy weight, and preventing chronic disease. But since the introduction of the DGAs, there has been a sharp increase in nutrition-related diseases, particularly obesity and type 2 diabetes, that the DGAs have been unable to stem.

Similarly, in Canada we have Clinicians for Therapeutic Nutrition. They say, “The rates of nutritional diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, and metabolic syndrome have skyrocketed in the last several decades since the low-fat dietary guidelines were issued in the 1980s.

“Every day, we see patients suffering from the effects of these chronic but preventable nutritional diseases. These diseases often result in devastating complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, amputations and blindness. Food availability data show that Canadians have in fact been diligent at following the food guide, and have increased their intake of carbohydrates while decreasing their intake of dairy products, red meat and natural fats such as butter. Despite this, our nutritional disease epidemics are out of control; we all know family or friends with one of these chronic, food-related diseases.”

LCHF (Low Carb Healthy Fats) and IF (Intermittent Fasting) aren’t for everyone — just for the people who suffer ill effects from the SAD (Standard American Diet).

Canadian Clinicians for Therapeutic Nutrition. (N.D.) From

Mayo Clinic. (N.D.) From

Nutrition Coalition. (N.D.) From

Quirks and Quarks. (2020.) Transcript here:

Rothman, J. (2020.) “The Equality Conundrum.” From


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