"The Doctors" Ill-Advised Suggestion for Viewers to Fake a Butter Allergy
UPDATE: The post you see below was deleted/censored from the comments section by "The Doctors" website. Attempts to repost have also been met with deletion, and there has not been any response from the producer of the program, Jay McGraw.
Recently the Program "The Doctors" aired a segment advising their viewers to tell a "little white lie" and fake a butter allergy when eating out to avoid the ~120 calories from butter added to vegetables and other prepared items. Read it here: http://thedoctorstv.com/main/show_synopsis/1012?section=synopsis
As a food-allergic individual, and physician for hundreds of allergic patients, my jaw dropped at the irresponsibility of this suggestion. Read my response to them below, and tell me... what are your thoughts about their recommendation to fake a food allergy?
As a practicing board-certified allergist, mother of children with allergies, and food-allergic individual, I felt compelled to reply to the irresponsible suggestion by your program that viewers "fake a butter allergy" in order to avoid caloric intake. Faking an allergy is not a "white lie". It is feigning an illness and disability, with profound consequences for those who truly suffer from the condition in question.
True food allergy is not something one "fakes". Rather, it is something that you wish you didn't have, because it can KILL YOU. Individuals with serious food allergies have a difficult enough time explaining the intricacies of cross-contamination to restaurants, and have only recently made enormous strides in restaurant safety. Your promotion of false allergy claims is a slap in the face of years of hard work, advocacy and education.
- Encouraging your audience to feign illness is anathema to those physicians who work so hard to ensure that food allergies are not overdiagnosed, so that the diets of growing children are not unnecessarily limited.
- Encouraging your audience to feign illness promotes a glut of false allergy claims in eating establishments, which will undoubtedly lead to true food allergies being taken less seriously by restaurant staff.
- Encouraging your audience to feign illness goes against the grain of what you are supposed to be doing in your daily work and on your show -- promoting ACCURATE information and HEALTHY choices.
Would you encourage your viewers to fake diabetes in order to avoid sugar? How about faking celiac disease to avoid gluten? Oh, here's a good one: let's encourage our patients to fake CANCER or disorders of DNA repair to avoid going through the whole body scanners at airports!
If the above suggestions seem unreasonable, take another look at your ill-advised recommendation. That the segment was aired during Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month is the ultimate irony.
Also, just so we have our medical facts straight... IgE-mediated food allergy is in almost all cases an aberrant immune hypersensitivity response to a food protein. Butter is a prepared food product. Claiming that you are allergic to butter is like saying you're allergic to a casserole.