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MY REACTION TO VERA FILES

by RENATO U. PARAGAS, M.D. The WATERDOK


Yesterday, I tried to search my name in Google just for fun and curiosity. After pressing the “Enter” key, several posts appeared. One of the articles that caught my attention was one posted by VERA Files, the organization with the tagline “Truth is Our Business”.



Vera Files is a non-profit online news organization in the Philippines, known for its institutionalized role in fact-checking false information in the Philippines, and as one of the news organizations most prominently targeted by intimidation and censorship due to its critical coverage of the Philippine government. One can check the page at https://verafiles.org/.


Here is the article I noted:


VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Doctor’s claim on pork consumption and hypertension NEEDS CONTEXT By VERA Files Nov 25, 2022 7:00 PM (https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-doctors-claim-on-pork-consumption-and-hypertension-needs-context).


Part of the article read:


“In a video posted online, a Filipino doctor endorsing a mineral drops product claimed that pork fat intake does not cause hypertension or high blood pressure. This needs context.”

“YouTube channel IONIQUE MINERALS PHILIPPINES first uploaded the video of a doctor named Renato “WaterDok” Paragas on Sept. 14. This was posted on Facebook on Oct 13 and continues to draw views. Paragas was correct in saying that dehydration causes hypertension, but his claim that eating pork fat does not lead to hypertension needs context.”


“Cursory search shows that Paragas works for VER1REV Enterprises (Ionique Minerals Philippines), which distributes concentrated mineral drops. He finished his residency in pediatrics at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center in Quezon City in June 1987.”


“Too much meat and fat consumption leads to high blood pressure”


“In the video, Paragas said that eating pork and beef – especially pork fat – does not cause hypertension.”


“Pork contains a lot of saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, depending on the type of cut. These three are listed as risk factors for hypertension, according to the World Health Organization, Cleveland Clinic, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”


“’A high intake of red meat and animal fat has been shown to be associated with higher rates of hypertension and other health problems such as cancer and cardiovascular disease,’ Jenna Sherman, program manager and researcher of Meedan’s Digital Health Lab, explained.”


The organization mentioned “The Facts” as “Contrary to a doctor’s claim, eating pork and pork fat especially in high amounts could lead to high blood pressure (hypertension)”


Dr. Hayley Willacy, author of “Cholesterol” claimed that “Many foods contain cholesterol but it is poorly absorbed by the gut into the body. Therefore, cholesterol that one eats in food has little effect on the body and blood cholesterol level.”


I am turning 65 years old by August, 2023. I eat much beef especially when I go to buffets and some Korean Restaurants that offer unlimited meat. I can consume between 500 to 750 grams of beef, duck and chicken. I do not eat pork. Beef has more fats than pork. Right now, I do not have hypertension. At 5 feet and 6 inches, I weigh 72 kilograms. My blood pressure ranges from 118/78 to 132/86. After 40 years of medical practice, I consider the normal range of blood pressure for adults between 90/60 to 140/90.


Researching the causes of hypertension, I came up with these items:

1. Smoking

2. Being overweight or obese

3. Lack of physical activity

4. Too much salt (sodium) in diet

5. Low potassium

6. Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)

7. Stress

8. Older age

9. Genetics

10. Family history of high blood pressure

11. Chronic kidney disease

12. Adrenal and thyroid disorders

13. Sleep apnea


I noted that the consumption of much red meat and animal fats such as pork, pork fats and beef are not mentioned as one of the causes. Fats are one of the essential nutrients the body needs so why demonize it? I still claim that the true cause of essential or primary hypertension is chronic dehydration rather than much meat and meat fat consumption.


The article also stated: “The Facebook Reel got a total of 40,500 reactions and 32,000 shares, while the YouTube video got 115 views.”


I got surprised that the short Tik Tok video made and posted by one of our Wellness Consultants reached so many viewers and I am sure that they are happy to know that people can enjoy meat without fearing hypertension. Proper hydration is the preventive key because adequate intake of water fights off fats and cholesterol







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