Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nutritional Lies Busted

Any rational person would find it a risky business to base public nutrition advice according to lobby. But if you think about it, that is what happened, especially in the US.

Remember this food pyramid that got thrust at us for years?
Classic food pyramid
I suppose it was the wheat lobby that pushed it initially. Lots of lovely bread and pasta to give us energy to last until the next meal (or snack). Preferably wholemeal but whoever took much notice of that? Kids don't often like wholemeal bread, and wholemeal pasta tastes like cardboard, so people packed in the highly processed white flour products and the wheat producers were happy.

Then came the corn lobby which pressed to put GMO corn syrup in everything but the kitchen sink, and the soya lobby which told the government that its products were really healthy and look at the vast populations of Asia to see how right they were. So soy (GMO) products were pushed and it was put in everything but the plug in the kitchen sink. Convenience food was advertised as labour-saving so we could get on with more important things (cue images of smiling mother playing with her rosy offspring, or rugged man striding off doing something sporty), and the microwave revolutionised producing food for those with no time.

Strangely, obesity rose to reach epic proportions, heart disease increased, and people had never been so unhealthy. Yet they were all following health advice given to them by government agencies and their doctors.

It was only fairly recently, in March 2012, that one man, a heart surgeon spoke out. Dr Dwight Lundell, a heart surgeon with over 5000 heart surgeries under his belt, revealed that heart disease is not caused by cholesterol but by inflammation in the artery wall. This is caused by following a recommended diet which is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates. Remember those (rich) lobbies? Thanks guys!

Inflammation is caused by eating highly processed carbohydrates like sugar, flour and everything made from them, and excessive consumption of high omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower which are found in many processed foods. For a graphic description of what happens to your arteries when you consume these products, and why, do read his article here. It's not pretty.

To combat inflammation, we should be following a food pyramid that looks more like this:
Chronic-disease prevention pyramid
It's another reason to go back to basics. I really want to avoid chronic disease, and reading that article opened my eyes to the vital importance of eating properly.

This includes avoiding all non-fermented soya products. How did soya become the number one low fat milk substitute? Back in 2002 the soy industry lobbied to promote calcium-fortified soy milk as a healthy alternative to milk. For vegetarians they advised soy as a meat protein substitute. It was all down to the soy industry lobbyists who decided that they should modify nutritional advice for the masses.

There are numerous problems with unfermented soy. It is high in allergens so the more you eat the more likely you are to develop allergies, while the phytates obstruct absorption of protein and minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium. Most soy products found in soy milk and processed foods are unfermented. Unfermented soy is linked to a number of illnesses you don't want to have such as digestive distress, immune system breakdown and reproductive problems to name but three. It's particularly bad for men.

We were told that Asians have been eating soy since time began, but what we weren't told is that they only eat fermented soy products (miso, tempah, tofu, etc) and only a small quantity per day (about 25g).

No wonder public health in the US and elsewhere has declined dramatically. People are slowly poisoning themselves, take medication to deal with the symptoms, but do not deal with the underlying source of the problem which is poor nutrition. And they have poor nutrition because they follow advice given to them by those in charge of protecting public health. Except they don't, do they? They protect industry. Follow the money and you'll find a circle of death - poor nutrition, heart disease, toxic medication, early demise.

Take your life in your hands in the kitchen!

23 comments:

  1. We try to eat a lot of fruit and veg, but I doubt we'll ever reach those proportions. But I do try to avoid soya as much as I can. It mimics oestrogen in the body and after two oestrogen-dependent breast cancers I'm taking no chances. Keep it simple is my motto - avoid processed foods as much as possible and make a small amount of meat go a long way.

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    1. I have never been a fan of soya-based products and I'm pretty happy about that now!

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  2. Thanks for this Sarah, this gives me all the excuses I need to plant more courgettes this summer. It really is quite scary stuff!

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    1. Have you tried to plant kale?

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  3. I read the article when you posted it on Facebook. Really interesting. When all the conflicting advice has bombarded us over the years, it pays to keep food as natural and home-made as possible.

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    1. With you on that, Trish, and I take more notice of a heart surgeon raising the alarm that a bunch of suits fresh out of their meeting with lobbyists telling me what to eat.

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  4. My parents grew up on farms...most of what they ate was home produced.
    they went through the rationing in World War !! and kept away from sugar afterwards...processed food wasn't around or if it was, it wasn't on their radar.
    Father lived until 93...and died from a bug caught in hospital...mother is still going strong - and vocal - at 97.
    I've never touched the soy products - and reading this I'm glad I didn't

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    1. Thanks for the information. It looks like my Mediterranean diet, with all the olive oil, is not all that bad after all...

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    2. My mother grew up with WWII rations and said the population had never been so healthy. Not much chance of getting fat either!

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  5. OK; I'm going to try to comment again - wordpress and blogger seem to have fallen out again. I read up on the cholesterol debate last year when I was told to cut mine down a bit. There's now an argument that statins don't change anything much as many people treated with it still have strokes or heart attacks. You are what you eat, it's as simple as that. Trying to make your body run on industrial junk is like trying to make a car work with ketchup. I tried getting my family to eat brussel sprouts this weekend. Epic fail. I will persist.

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  6. Yes, I read about the statins debate too and found the evidence a tad dodgy. I need to have my blood tested some time, except that you have to lay off breakfast to do it and I can never bring myself...

    If your kids like coleslaw, grate some sprouts into it. They'll never notice. Otherwise, mine love this Asian salad because the sauce is so tasty:
    http://thedeliciousrevolution.com/alkalizing/marinated-asian-salad/
    I put sprouts in that too. :)

    Give them a whirl in a food processor and you can add them to lots of things. :)

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  7. Great post - very informative. We were raised on home grown veg and we've continued that with our own kids, both of whom really appreciate good, fresh food. Sprouts are great shredded, briefly fried in a little olive oil with some lardons and a splash of white wine. Even my kids like them then!

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    1. Thanks CQ. Mine are pretty good about eating veg, but won't touch mushrooms or avocados... yet.

      I'm impressed you grow your own veg. We have such poor earth here that even after years of (random) composting, I still can't get much to grow. Costs more to buy the seeds and eat the couple of veg (at most) that show their faces than just buy the organic veg from the shop.

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  8. There's something a bit curious about that second pyramid, and it is this: 30-60% of calories to come from vegetables excluding potatoes and with an emphasis on green vegetables.

    Take the low end of 30%, which for me comes out at 720 kcal per day.

    Cabbage has 25 kcal per 100g, so I'd need to eat about 6 lb of cabbage to achieve this; even if I pushed the boat out and went for something more calorific like carrots I'd need 4lb or so. That just can't be right.

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    1. You're right, it is difficult to imagine! I don't take much notice of calories. What I take from it is that I need to eat more leafy greens and veg which is what I'm trying to do, with varying degrees of success.

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  9. Sugar is now being seen as alcohol for kids. It all makes sense, if it doesn't look like food, it isn't. I try and impress that on my kids as they heart up another bowl of pasta instead of eating something else

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    1. The thing with adolescents is that they want filling food and the easiest way to get that is pasta or bread. My eldest eats a lot of bread, but I make mine (in a machine) and take the edge off his processed wheat intake by using spelt flour and a variety of wholemeal flours and seeds.

      As I've stopped buying Nutella for the moment, he eats it with local honey which has to be better for him! :)

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  10. Pretty much what you say. My husband finally stopped drinking soy milk and his cholesterol went down 40 points.
    I have heart trouble of a kind that seems to happen to everyone in my family over a certain age, so it's not true that an optimum diet will keep you perfectly healthy, but it does help. Our greatest dietary asset is a fantastic avocado tree that bears fruit almost all year round.

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    1. You can't fight genetics unfortunately. I'm amazed at your husband's experience with drinking soy milk. I'm glad I've never liked the stuff so never bought it. You are lucky to have a fruit-bearing avocado tree, and year round too!

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  11. There's almost too much information round now I find. Eat what makes you happy and feel ok - it's the only rule!

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    1. I'd be eating nothing but bacon sarnies in that case, and crisps! I always feel fine after stuffing my face with a bacon sarnie. :) Eat them too often though and you're storing up trouble for the future. I've reached that future, at my age, and I want to protect my health, and that of my kids even if they don't want it protected at all. :)

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  12. Based on the second graph, I might never meet my maker. That's all we eat, lots and lots of the veggie stuff. But I do love a good 330ml Coke occasionally.

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    1. You must be in roaring good health then! :)

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