‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it’

Doctors, dieticians, hygienists and so on are constantly discovering new harmful substances in the food we eat and which they say pose a threat to our health. A recent study by Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) puts an end to all our concerns as it reveals that all those food products we’ve always considered innocent, healthy, and essential for our survival are, after all, dangerous. The FSA warned that acrylamide – a potentially cancer-causing chemical – is formed in potatoes, rice and cereals when they are fried or baked. This means that potatoes are safe only when boiled, rice only when soggy. Once again, hyperbole and unfettered scaremongering have generated the opposite results, mocking our legitimate concerns. This seems to be the case today as preventive and so-called aggressive medicine tends to sideline defensive treatment. Our general practitioner or family doctor has been replaced by the famous checkup, which we pass for purely preventive reasons. We are usually advised to visit specialized doctors who make sure to discover and eliminate any potential secret enemy to our health. Hence we pass numerous examinations, often being the victims of commercialized rather than preventive medicine. We are subject to deprivations, prohibitions and medical treatment, not in order to recover from something but so that we do not fall ill. In the old times, although we treasured and trusted our family doctors, behind their backs we would express the hope that we never had to see them again. Today, doctors are not called up by the patient when they are needed. They come self-invited and interfere with our lives at their own will in order to protect the healthy. Aggressive medicine, however, is at odds with public wisdom. The other day, I heard that in villages the elderly continue to turn down preventive check-ups saying: «If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.»