February 28, 2024

Eat fruit & veg, especially leaves, and a modest amount of meat and fish

Eat fruit, veg and a bit of meat – and avoid processed food like the plague

To keep healthy eat fruit & veg, especially leaves, and a modest amount of meat or fish.

Avoid processed food. Things that have ingredients that are made in factories. Refined sugars, flour and rice. And stuff that contains chemicals that aren’t present in food. Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting.

Processed food is correlated with and so suspected of causing illness and death. Though scientists don’t understand why. Pollan suspects its because we’re not used to processing refined carbs and sugars.

And don’t be fished in by the health claims companies make when they add a ‘nutrient’, lower some ‘nasty’ like sugar or emphasise that they’ve not added a ‘nasty’ like artificial colouring – to processed food.

Eat fruit, veg and a bit of meat - and avoid processed food like the plague

Eat fruit, veg and a bit of meat - and avoid processed food like the plague

Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread

Western Processed Foods have created Western Diseases

A variety of researchers began to notice that native populations did not experience chronic diseases that were present in the West (p90).

Western diseases include heart diesease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, hypertension, stoke, appendicitis, diverticulitis, malformed dental arches, tooth decay, varicose veins, ulcers and hemorrhoids.

Pollan points out that cancer and heart disease are not inevitable, but instead they are ‘western’ diseases, caused by ‘western diet’ he reckons.

 

The Importance of Soil

Weston A. Price, a Canadian, did a study of the diets and diseases of traditional societies across the world, in the 1930s. He found that people who ate a traditional diet consisting of fresh foos from animals and plants grown on soils rich in nutrients, supported good health  (p98). He found that the butter of cows grazing on spring grasses were richer vitamins A and D, compared to the butter of cows grazed on winter forages. He thought that quality of the soil was key to health.

Sir Albert Howard argued that the industrialisation of agriculture, and in particular the introduction of ‘synthetic nitrogen fertilizer’ simplified the chemistry of the soil and be detrimental to our health. Soil health was inextricably linked to the health of plants, animals and men.

The idea then is that we ought to be consuming local products from local fields, to get the biggest health benefits, and that in return we ought to be returning the nutrients to the soil. But we’re doing neither. Food is being grown in soil, the nutritional components of which have been worsened, and hindered by the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. And then we are transporting it over great distances as part of the globalised logistical network, during which time its nutritional value is reduced.

Liebig identified that nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium were needed for plants to grow, Fritz Haber invented a method for synthesizing nitrogen fertilizer from fossil fuels. Fertilizers are then used to enhance the soil nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, but destroued the complex undrground ecyosystem of soil microbes, worms and fungi, which reduces nutritional quality of the soil. ‘Since the widespread adoption of chemical fertilizers in the 1950s, the nutritional quality of produce in America has declined substantially’. (p115) Halweil cites a considerable body of research demonstrating that plants grown with industrial fertilizers are often nutritionally inferior to the same varieties grown in organic soils (p119). Crops grown with chemical fertilizers grow more quickly, giving them less time and opportunity to accumulate nutrients other than the big three (p120).

Omega 3s

Get them from fatty fish and greens. Purslane has alot.

If you don’t consume O3s its correlated with heart disease and stroke. We’re eating less greens & O3, we should eat more.

Theory is that O3s increase permeability of cell’s membrane and rate of metabolism, though don’t quite understand how that’s relevant.

 

 

To Riff Off At a Later Date

Its very difficult to study the impact of a single nutrient

Its almost impossible to compare a group of people who consume one type of food or nutrient, with a group that eats exactly the same but without that food or nutrient because the group that doesn’t will probably substitute the nutrient or food they are not eating with something else and that substitute may be the thing that creates the difference between the two groups (if there is one) (and is likely to vary across the control group, and is likely to be something  you cannot really measure and know), which defeats the purpose of the study.

Also it ought to be pointed out that even if you could get the two groups to be exactly the same in terms of their intake, minus the nutrient or food in question, the difference between the two groups might be impact by the difference in calorific intake, rather than in some nutritional content inherent to the food or nutrient in question,

As Gary Taubes points out, its difficult to design a dietary trial of something like saturated fat because as soon as you remove it from the trial diet, either you have dramatically reduced the calories in that diet or you have replaced the saturated fat with something else [but you don’t know what] p69. …You’ve introduced a second variable into the experiment, so you will not be able to attribute any observed effect strictly to the absence of saturated fat. It could be due to the reduction in calories or the addition of carbohydrates or polyunsaturated fats. For every diet hypothesis you test, you can construct an alternative hypothesis based on the presence or absence of the substitute nutrient. [p69]

And then there’s the placebo effect. About a third of Americans are ‘responders’ – people who will respond to a treatment or intervention regardless of whether they’ve actually received it. So if you’re running an experiment, which involves giving people an additional food or nutrient, you need to study for any possible placebo effect. But this is impossible to do because you cannot realistically create a placebo if we’re talking about food (although you probably can if we’re talking about nutrients taken as a tablet).

Nutrients don’t have the same impact, when they’re extracted from food

Foods with anti-oxidants in, appear to protect against cancer. However when anti-oxidants are ingested separately from the foods in which they occur, they don’t seem to have a protective function against cancer. (p64)

The benefit of eating a particular food or combination of foods may not be a function of the total set of known nutrients within those foods. Partly, because we may not understand all the nutrients in the food that benefit. But also because the components of a particular food or meal, or what have you, may act synergistically, the benefits in other words may be greater than the sum of its parts.

Suggested by a study which found that the consumption of whole grains appeared to have additional health benefits, that what we know about its component nutrients could not explain (p110). Subjects getting the same amounts of these nutrients from other sources were not as healthy as whole-grain eaters.

The health benefit of a food is influenced by what you eat the food with

Drink coffee with your steak, and your body won’t be able to fully absorb the iron in the meat. (Realist evaluation!) (p67),

Drink coffee with your steak, and your body won't be able to fully absorb the iron in the meat.

What if its the lack of good food that causes ill health?

[Researchers] assumed that a bad outcome like heart disease must have a bad cause, like saturated fat or cholesterol, so they focused their investigative energies on how these bad nutrients might cause disease rather than on how the absence of something else, like plant foods or fish, might figure in the etiology of the disease. …that the problems it studies are the result of too much of a bad thing instead of too little of a good thing. …The epidemiologist John Powles has suggested this… is little more than a Puritan bias: Bad things happen to people who eat bad things.

...The epidemiologist John Powles has suggested this... is little more than a Puritan bias: Bad things happen to people who eat bad things.

Food and Culture

Its an obvious thing to say, but I am interested in exploring this more.

How a people eats is one of the most powerful ways they have to express, and preserve, their cultural identity.

Is the Stomach a Brain?

The human digestive tract has roughly as many neurons as the spinal column.

Is the Mediterranean Diet all that Healthy?

Epidemiological studies, which correlate health outcomes with diet are bedevilled by the fact that whilst certain dietary habits correlate to health outcomes, the studies cannot discount the fact that other dietary habits not included in the study or other lifestyle factors, may be the real reason for the health outcomes.

For example, the Mediterranean diet is believed to be one of the most healthy traditional diets, but what we know of it comes from studies of people living on Crete in the 1950s. People who many other lifestyle differences that could have explained their health outcomes. Yes, they ate lots of olive oil and fish. But they also did more physical labour, fasted and ate fewer calories. In other words, there may be a correlation between eating one type of food and health, but the cause of the health outcomes may be some unimagined unknown third factor, called confounding variables. Randomising people to the experimental and control group can cover these unknown factors, but these studies were not randomised.

The Mediterranean diet is believed to be one of the most healthy traditional diets, but what we know of it comes from studies of people living on Crete in the 1950s. People who many other lifestyle differences that could have explained their health outcomes. Yes, they ate lots of olive oil and fish. But they also did more physical labour, fasted and ate fewer calories. In other words, there may be a correlation between eating one type of food and health, but the cause of the

The Mediterranean diet is believed to be one of the most healthy traditional diets, but what we know of it comes from studies of people living on Crete in the 1950s. People who many other lifestyle differences that could have explained their health outcomes. Yes, they ate lots of olive oil and fish. But they also did more physical labour, fasted and ate fewer calories. In other words, there may be a correlation between eating one type of food and health, but the cause of the

Does taking supplements really make any difference?

People who take supplements are healthier than the population at large. But this might be a correlation than a causative relationship. But supplement takers tend to be better educated and affluent (more potentially confounding variables).

The Women’s Health Initiative

The Women’s Health Initiative is the biggest and best known large-scale intervention study in nutrition research. A large population is divided into two groups. The intervention group changes its diet, whilst the control group does not. The two groups are then tracked over time to see if there are any differences in rates of chronic disease. In 2006 the headlines from the study were that low-fat diet does not cut health risks.

But several problems in the study’s design:

  • The focus was on dietary fat, not on any particular food.
  • No distinctions were made between types of fat, some women might be reducing good fats, other bad fats.
  • The low-fat group failed to do what they were asked, i.e. reduce their intake to 20%.
  • The control group gradually reduced their fat intake over time, Pollan said presumably because they were being influenced by messages about the importance of a low-fat diet. Pollan called this ‘the treatment effect’ or the corruption of the control group.

What Pollan describes in this study is a classic example of how contextual factors, impinge on the population under study, and the study itself, to make doing an impact study, where factors are strictly controlled, both difficult to achieve.

 

The Aborigine Study (Kerin O’Dea)

In 1982 an experiment was done. Ten diabetic Aborigines from Australia, were asked to go an live in the ‘bush’, having spent a good period of time living in urban Australia.

Not only did they have to live in the bush, they had to eat the old traditional bush diet of seafood, birds, kangaroos, witchetty grubs, the fatty larvae of local insects, turtle, crocodile, yams, figs and honey.

This diet contrasted with their urban diet of flour, sugar, rice, carbonated drinks, alcohol, powdered milk, cheap fatty meat, potatoes, onions, fruit and veg.

After seven weeks they had lost weight, blood pressure had dropped and several other things had improved.

the old traditional bush diet of seafood, birds, kangaroos, witchetty grubs, the fatty larvae of local insects, turtle, crocodile, yams, figs and honey

Humans Evolved to Drink Milk

Babies and very young children have long been able to drink and digest milk. But until five thousand years ago older children and adults could not digest milk. Milk made them sick. But then five thousand years ago a mutation kept the gene for the production of the milk digesting enzyme, lactase, on in older children and adults, of a a population of animal herders in north-central Europe. These guys were able to use this new ability to grow strong on their cattle’s milk. In return the cows numbers and habitat greatly improved a result of this symbiotic relationship.

Biological networks and symbiosis

Cows and coffee.

The development of interdependence between species, creates a symbiosis, that in turn strengthens both. For example, babies and very young children have long been able to drink and digest milk. But until five thousand years ago older children and adults could not digest milk. Milk made them sick. But then five thousand years ago a mutation kept the gene for the production of the milk digesting enzyme, lactase, on in older children and adults, of a a population of animal herders in north-central Europe. These guys were able to use this new ability to grow strong on their cattle’s milk. In return the cows numbers and habitat greatly improved a result of this symbiotic relationship.

Coffee plants have worked with humans in a similar way. Coffee, for example, it has been argued, when discovered by the Arabs, may have been responsible for the scientific revolution in Arabian culture and thought. When coffee later arrived into western Europe, and to a certain extent replaced alcohol as the drink of choice for day to day stuff, it fired off an intellectual revolution in Europe. Alcohol spaces you out, perhaps to some extent allows you to enjoy the monotony of farm labour. Coffee focuses the mind intensely on a problem or issue, and allows you to unpick, untie and solve complex problems. Coffee, possibly, then, led to the Arab cultural and military dominance in the early middle ages, and then to the dominance of European culture from the 1700s onwards. There is some material destiny, driven by experience, driven by a better state of being, experienced within the human being, but which foretells the meeting, eventually, of these lovers, coffee and man, coffee and woman; as if the coffee-human confederation or confluence or union is somehow an evolved form of previous human-material relations.

 

coffee and humans have formed a partnership to dominate the world

When one species is dominant, then the survival of other species can be greatly enhanced by the evolution of an interdependence. For example, babies and very young children have long been able to drink and digest milk. But until five thousand years ago older children and adults could not digest milk. Milk made them sick. But then five thousand years ago a mutation kept the gene for the production of the milk digesting enzyme, lactase, on in older children and adults, of a a population of animal herders in north-central Europe. These guys were able to use this new ability to grow strong on their cattle’s milk. In return the cows numbers and habitat greatly improved a result of this symbiotic relationship.

 

Dr Kellog was not a great fan of wanking

Dr. Kellogg, a Seventh-Day Adventist, thought eating meat promoted masturbation and the proliferation of toxic bacteria in the colon.

Dr. Kellogg, a Seventh-Day Adventist, thought eating meat promoted massage of the part of the body between the top of the legs, and the proliferation of toxic bacteria in the colon.

Dr. Kellogg, a Seventh-Day Adventist, thought eating meat promoted massage of the part of the body between the top of the legs, and the proliferation of toxic bacteria in the colon.

Dr. Kellogg, a Seventh-Day Adventist, thought eating meat was bad, because he thought eating meat encouraged people to massage themselves at the part of the body between the top of the legs, and the proliferation of toxic bacteria in the colon.

https://eatwild.com/

 

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