Posts Tagged nutrition
In an earlier post, Is Your Doctor Killing You? , I mentioned Gary Taubes’ excellent book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. I just finished it and it is one of the most important books I have ever read. It’s a fairly deep and dense book, filled with large amounts of scientific and epidemiological information. Rigorously researched, full of citations and foot notes, it’s still a good read. Taubes is a skilled writer and knows how to keep things moving. In his epilogue, he lists the ten most important conclusions that his research has revealed, conclusions that he never expected to find. In the spirit of “if only I had known then what I know now”, I ‘d like to share this with you:
1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.
2.The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis – the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well being.
3. Sugars – sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically – are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes, They are most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization.
5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating, and not sedentary behavior.
6. Consuming excess calories does not CAUSE us to grow fatter, any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger.
7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance-a disequilibrium-in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism. Fat synthesis and storage exceeds the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of fat tissues reverses this balance.
8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated- either chronically or after a meal- we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it as fuel.
9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.
10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
(page 454 “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes)
The most convincing evidence for these conclusions is the fact that so many of us are fat, hungry, and even sick, no matter how hard we try to follow our doctor’s advice concerning diet and exercise. Or if we are at times successful, why does it never seem to last? Is this an issue of physiology or psychology? Are we really all that lazy and gluttonous, as the nutritionists and doctor’s would have us believe? Really?
As for me, I worked my ass off (and on) for over 15 years trying to stay healthy by following the conventional medical establishment’s advice. Now that I’ve decided to ignore the ‘experts’ and return to a diet more like our hunter-gatherer bodies are designed for, I’m finally seeing significant success. And guess what? It’s EASY!
To those skeptics out there (and skepticism is good, or else I would still be convinced of the benefit of following the USDA dietary paradigms) I give you one word of advice: QUESTION YOUR DOCTOR! And then ask him to read this book
Think about it.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.
As we asked in an earlier thread, The Murderous Root of Religion, how did Cain come to understand that God disfavored his offering of grain (or fruits or vegetables)? Did God expressly tell him this in a thundering message from the clouds? Or perhaps in a dream?
Or was it more likely that Abel was in some way better off than Cain ? That Cain was envious of Abel’s circumstances, and figured that God just wasn’t being fair. These were primitive people without all the trappings of modern humankind. So, I don’t think that Abel had nicer clothes or a bigger house or a more luxurious wagon imported from Germany. It’s also doubtful that money was a concept that they would be familiar with. So in what way did God bless Abel over Cain? What’s left to be jealous of?
One possibility that comes to mind is Abel’s health. After all, it’s always been said that if you have your health then you have everything. Maybe Abel’s family was healthier than Cain’s, suffering from fewer maladies and in better overall physical condition. Being healthier, perhaps they were also happier. To a primitive mind, what other reason could there be for this disparity, other than that God was smiling on Abel while punishing Cain. But why would God allow Cain to be healthier than Abel?
The answer might be found in their choice of offerings; Abel’s was made up of meat and fat as opposed to the vegetarian offering of Cain. Today’s conventional medical wisdom affirms that Cain’s high carb menu would certainly be healthier than Abel’s fatty one. But perhaps God knows something that the majority of our doctors, nutritionists and dietitians do not.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll have steak tonight. Again.
This is happening near my home town:
Restaurant had previously been targeted for serving foie gras
Steve Wecker, co-owner of the Iron Bridge Wine Company in Columbia, said Monday that no references were made this time to foie gras. But Wecker suspects that the vandals who broke a window and damaged one of the front doors of the Route 108 property were trying to convey the same message as those who spray-painted “Get rid of the foie gras” while breaking several windows and gluing the front door lock on March 23.
Since the first incident, which caused an estimated $3,300 in damage, Wecker has added “Foie Gras Friday” to the restaurant’s menu and has servers wearing T-shirts reading “Got Foie Gras?” — a takeoff on the popular milk slogan.
“I’m sure that they’re mad that we didn’t cave in,” Wecker said, referring to the vandals.
Wecker, who has owned Iron Bridge Wine Company with his brother Rob for the past six years, believes the vandalism is the work of those who are against how foie gras is prepared. The delicacy is made from the livers of ducks and geese that are force-fed grains in order to fatten them up before they are slaughtered. While Wecker and others contend that the centuries-old process, known as gavage, has become more humane, many animal-rights groups have continued to protest around the country. Several cities have banned the dish.
“You can be an activist. You don’t have to be an anarchist or an idiot,” Wecker said.
Read more at the Baltimore Sun
This is too bad. The restaurant is nice, great wine selection and the people are friendly. But what about the birds – the ducks and geese? Is the force feeding of these birds actually torture? (For a fair and balanced response to this question check out this article in the Village Voice.) Certainly there are examples of animal abuse occurring within the foie gras industry but, relatively speaking, there is too little foie gras eaten in America to make this an issue worth going to jail over. I think these animal rights zealots might want to redirect their energies towards other food producing players who are doing significant harm to both the animals and those people who consume them; Big US agribusinesses. There are widespread and serious health as well as ethical problems with the practices of large growers of beef, pork and chicken. Our agricultural system is destroying the environment, other competitve food sources (fisheries) and the health of our citizens. But then again, it is probably much easier to pick on the local businessman than Archer Daniels Midland or Pepsi Cola. (I highly recommend that anyone concerned about the excesses of corporate welfare, environmental protection and the public’s general health read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Micahel Pollan.)
There is a magnitude of difference between the occasional uncomfortable goose or duck and that of the billions of corn fed, hormone injected and antibiotic laced shuffling dead that we call the chickens and cows that feed our nation.
I wonder if these animal loving activists are still buying chicken and eggs from their local grocer?