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Interesting Information: Time’s June 12th Cover, “Eat Butter”

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Interesting Information:  July 2014

“Don’t Blame Fat” by Bryan Walsh

 

Yes, Yes, Yes!

Bryan Walsh’s article on how eating good fats is NOT DANGEROUS appeared in the June 12th TIME magazine.

“Note that “Good” fats are not just any fats–they are saturated animal fats from animals raised in holistic environments where they eat what they are supposed to eat and unprocessed olive and coconut oil.  They are NOT HIGHLY PROCESSED VEGETABLE OR NUT OILS.  Think, especially, of butter, tallow, lard, duck fat, chicken fat, eggs from free-range chickens who are NOT fed soy, raw milk and raw milk products like yogurt, coconut oil, olive oil, organic avocado, and organic nuts and seeds that have been soaked in salt water and dried.

Time Cover, Butter – Google Search.

Friend Judith Valentine–a PhD nutritionist who trained in part under Dr. Mary Enig of The Weston A. Price Foundation (judithvalentine.com), saved the article for me.

What a joy it was to read.

The work of many of the people I’ve written about here on this blog was acknowledged–like Gary Taubes.  And Michael Pollen.  And the Duke Obesity Clinic docs.

Ancel Keyes, the father of the low-fat movement, was properly debunked.

The role of politics was traced.

The fact that it’s really difficult to get reputable science published if it “goes against the momentary grain” of BELIEF was demonstrated.

EAT REAL FOOD and OCCUPY YOUR KITCHEN!

Thank you TIME and Bryan Walsh.

 

Visit your library and read the article.

 

Interesting Information: Sugar and Inflammation

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Interesting Information:  November 22, 2013

Sugar and Inflammation

Ellen Davis promotes ketogenic diets, which is a diet where fats provide most of the calories.  She has an article in the July/August 2012 issue of Well Being Journal entitled “Ketogenic Diets:  A Key to Excellent Health” (20-23).  Davis supports the ketogenic diet because she used it to reverse her own metabolic syndrome and to regain her health.  In the process, she lost over 80 pounds.  Her web site is www.healthy-eating-politics.com.  (I’ve written about metabolic syndrome in the essays on this blog.)

I am drawn to more of a balanced diet approach–as long as there are not digestive issues.  If there are digestive issues, then one needs to eat in a healing way for some time.  This ketogenic diet is very like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS protocol–which has a lot of good science and clinical practice results behind it.  (GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and there are essays on this blog about GAPS.)

I do think that most Americans are eating way, way too many carbs–that their eating so many carbs is out-of-balance and is causing chronic disease.  (This statement does not address, also, the toll that toxic poisons in and on American foods, takes.)

And I do think that eating a lot of carbs is causing inflammation in the body–which is one root cause of disease.  For instance, Davis points out that a bagel “breaks down into about sixteen teaspoons of sugar in the bloodstream” (21).  So if you are going to eat one, be sure to put a lot of cream cheese or butter on it to help cut the sugar load–just as you would with a baked potato.  And remember that the cream cheese or the butter is not going to make you fat, but that the bagel will because it turns to sugar in your system.

Davis writes that “oxidative stress is what causes metal to rust, and cooking oils to go rancid when exposed to the air.”  This oxidative stress “can create molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS.  These molecules, commonly called free radicals, are chemically reactive and can damage internal cellular structures” (21)

She writes that “if inflammation is present, excessive amounts of ROS are created and overwhelm the cell’s defenses, causing accelerated damage and eventually cell death.  This is why inflammation is linked with so many types of disease processes.”

So, food choices are very important, says Davis:  “…high-carbohydrate foods provide much more glucose than the human body can handle efficiently.  Blood glucose is basically liquid sugar, and if you have ever spilled fruit juice or syrup on your hands, you know how sticky it can be.  In the body, this stickiness’ is called glycation.”  The process of glycation starts a chain of events that increases inflammation and creates “substances called advanced glycation-end-products (AGEs)”–which “interfere with cellular function, and are linked to the progression of many disease processes, including Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and autism.”  The “higher the blood sugar, the more serious the damage” (21).  And I wonder if there is a connection between inflammation in the body and the start of cancer–which may get a toehold when the immune system is overloaded.

Davis quotes Ron Rosedale, MD, from his book Burn Fat, Not Sugar to Lose Weight:

“Health and lifespan are determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar people burn throughout their lifetime.  The more fat that one burns as fuel, the healthier the person will be, and the more likely they will live a long time.  The more sugar a person burns, the more disease ridden and the shorter a lifespan a person is likely to have.”

While I am always leery of MDs who are writing about nutrition–since most have had no nutritional training whatsoever–what Rosedale is saying about fat being healthy is a fit with Dr. Mary Enig’s stance on fat in Eat Fat, Lose Fat, written with Sally Fallon Morell, both of The Weston A. Price Foundation.  Dr. Enig is an internationally recognized expert on dietary fats, and I have written about her work in many places on this blog.

And Rosedale’s statement is a fit with Gary Taube’s work on the hormonal conditions caused by eating too many carbs, in Why We Get Fat.

So, there you have it…

Some interesting information…

Interesting Information: “What Really Makes Us Fat”

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Interesting Information:  July 6, 2012

“What Really Makes Us Fat”

Husband John reads The New York Times every Sunday.  It’s a national paper, and we are lucky to be able to get a national paper way up here in Mid-Coast Maine.  We don’t get The NYTs until mid-morning on Sunday, but we do get it delivered to our driveway–which did not happen until about a year ago.  Before that time, one had to go to a nearby market mid-morning on Sunday to get a copy.

I rarely have time to read the Sunday paper, so John brings me articles in which he knows I’ll be interested.

This Sunday he put Gary Taubes’ “What Really Makes Us Fat” at my place at the dining room table.

I’ve written about Taubes’ work in my essays.  He’s a careful researcher, and he’s telling a story that has a lot of scientific data behind it but which isn’t catching much fire in the mainstream understanding of how the body works with regard to obesity.  His work has pretty thoroughly debunked the “calorie is a calorie” and you-just-need-to-cut-back” theory of fat accumulation–showing that what kind of calorie one eats does matter rather a lot.

In “What Really Makes Us Fat,” Taubes cites a very recent article (last week) in The Journal of the American Medical Association detailing the results of a clinical trial by Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital and his collaborators.  This study, writes Taubes, speaks to a fundamental issue–what causes obesity.

Ludwig’s team did something that has never been done before.  First, explains Taubes, they “took obese subjects and effectively semi-starved them until they’d lost 10 to 15 percent of their weight.  Such weight-reduced subjects are particularly susceptible to gaining the weight back.  Their energy expenditure drops precipitously and they burn fewer calories than people who naturally weigh the same.  This means they have to continually fight their hunger just to maintain their weight loss.”

Next, “Dr. Ludwig’s team then measured how many calories these weight-reduced subjects expended daily, and that’s how many they fed them.”  But, the subjects were “rotated through three very different diets, one month for each.  They ate the same amount of calories on all three, equal to what they were expending after their weight loss, but the nutrient composition of their diets was very different.”

One diet was low fat so was high in carbohydrates–it’s the “diet we’re all advised to eat:  whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein.”  One diet had a “low glycemic index:  fewer carbohydrates in total, and those that were included were slow to be digested–from beans, non-starchy vegetables and other minimally processed sources.”  The third diet was Atkins, which “is very low in carbohydrates and high in fat and protein.”

The “results were remarkable” write Taubes.  “Put most simply, the fewer carbohydrates consumed, the more energy these weight-reduced people expended.  On the very low-carbohydrate Atkins diet, there was virtually no metabolic adaptation to the weight loss.”

On the low-fat diets, participants “had to add an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity each day to expend as much energy as they would effortlessly on the very-low-carb diet.  If the physical activity made them hungrier–a likely assumption–maintaining weight on the low-fat, high-carb diet would be even harder.”

Taubes notes that if we consider the weight-reduced participants as being “pre-obese,” their reactions to foods tells us what can make us fatter.  This study showed that “the fewer carbohydrates we eat, the more easily we remain lean.  The more carbohydrates, the more difficult.  In other words, carbohydrates are fattening, and obesity is a fat-storage defect.  What matters, then, is the quantity and quality of carbohydrates we consume and their effect on insulin.”

Taubes notes that “from this perspective, the trial suggests that among the bad decisions we can make to maintain our weight is exactly what the government and medical organizations like the American Heart Association have been telling us to do:  eat low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diets, even if those diets include whole grains and fruits and vegetables.”

Taubes notes that these conclusions are controversial, and he calls for experiments to be “replicated by independent investigators.  We’ve been arguing about this for over a century.  Let’s put if to rest with more good science.   The public health implications are enormous.”

In his books, which I wrote about in my essays on this blog, Taubes discusses many ongoing clinical trials and numerous obesity clinics (like the one at Duke) which are showing that people lose weight and improve their health data on an Atkins-type diet.  Many other diets utilize parts of the Atkins approach–Paleo and GAPS among them.

Written by louisaenright

July 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Interesting Information: 10 Salt Myths

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Interesting Information:  June 4, 2012

Ten Salt  Myths

This past Sunday’s New York Times ran a long piece by Gary Taubes called “Salt, We Misjudged You” (Opinion, 8-9).  Taubes traces the history of how salt became demonized in the 1970s and 1980s–without adequate scientific data to justify such a stance.  It might seem like “common sense” to relate salt intake to high blood pressure problems since salt can make one thirsty.  But that HYPOTHESIS has not proven to be true–as I related in Mainely Tipping Points Essay 38, located on this blog.

Meanwhile, Taube notes, many prominent organizations are promoting a low-salt diet, among them the USDA, the Institute of Medicine, the CDC, and the NIH.  Their view is based on a 30-day trial of salt, the 2001 DASH-Sodium study.  That study suggested that lowering salt intake “modestly lowered blood pressure,” but it “said nothing about whether this would reduce hypertension, prevent heart disease or lengthen life.”  And, I would ask, how would one know if the salt reduction was a factor or if other foods eaten or not eaten were factors?

The recommendations from these large organizations is ignoring, deliberately, recent research showing that salt reduction is dangerous to human health.  Recent research using some 100,000 people in 30 countries showed that salt consumption has been, Taubes writes, “remarkably stable among populations over time.”  Four recent studies “reported that the people eating salt at the lower limit of normal were more likely to have heart disease than those eating smack in the middle of the normal range.”  This “normal range” is considerably higher than recent recommendations by the USDA in its food guide.

In November of last year, Taubes writes, both the USDA and the FDA held hearings to “discuss how to go about getting Americans to eat less salt (as opposed to whether or not we should eat less salt).  Proponents speaking against salt consumption argued that “the latest reports suggesting damage from lower-salt diets should simply be ignored.”

OK.  That’s not scientific.  That’s BELIEF SYSTEM, and I’ve said many times on this blog, uncritical BELIEF SYSTEMS are dangerous.  They can, like this one about salt, kill you.  Taubes says the following:

“This attitude that studies that go against prevailing beliefs should be ignored on the basis that, well, they go against prevailing beliefs, has been the norm for the anti-salt campaign for decades.”

Mortin Satin, PhD, Vice President, Science and Research, The Salt Institute, writing in the Spring 2012 Wise Traditions, the journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, lists 10 myths about salt (http://www.westonaprice.org/vitamins-and-minerals/salt-and-our-health).  Some will surprise you.

Myth 1:  We eat more salt than ever before.  NOPE.  Our salt consumption today is about one half of the amount consumed between the War of 1812 and the end of World War II–which was about 3.3 teaspoons per day.  Increased refrigeration and not using salt as a preservative are factors.

Myth 2:  Our knowledge of the major sources of salt in our diet (80% from processed foods) is unquestionable.  NOPE.  This notion is based on a single paper from 1991 which involved 62 people and dietary recall–which is not reliable.  (It’s amazing to me how often dietary recall is being used in studies  The most recent I can recall is that study saying red meat was bad for you.)

Myth 3:  Our salt consumption continues to rise every year.  NOPE.  See Myth 1.

Myth 4:  The thirty-year public health initiative in Finland represents a successful model of salt reduction.  NOPE.  Health benefits were marginally worse than countries that did not reduce salt consumption.

Myth 5:  Current levels of salt consumption result in premature cardiovascular disease and death.  NOPE.  Data shows that the higher the salt consumption, the longer the life expectancy.  (Mainely Tipping Points 38 discusses the connections between cutting salt consumption and heart problems.)

Myth 6:  Cutting back on salt will improve the overall diet.  NOPE.  Salt enhances foods that would be bitter without it, like the all-important greens.  (Somewhere else I read that salt helps you break down and digest meats.)

Myth 7:  Reduced salt levels are critical to the DASH diet.  NOPE.  Data shows moving to a DASH diet significantly impacts blood pressure without any changes in salt consumption.  (I am NOT a fan of the DASH diet–too many carbohydrates and fructose.  It’s useful if you’ve been eating junk food, but I believe the GAPS diet and the Paleo diet are better choices.)

Myth 8: There is a clear relationship between salt intake and blood pressure.  NOPE.  There, famously, is not a clear relationship.  Satin gives a really good example using the standard hospital saline IV drip, which gives about 4.5 teaspoons of salt per day in addition to the teaspoon of salt taken in food.  Blood pressure, checked every 4 to 6 hours, does not change.

Myth 9:  Reducing salt intake can do no harm.   NOPE.  It can seriously harm you, and Satin gives a long list of worrisome outcomes.  Mainely Tipping Points 38 does as well.

Myth 10:  The U.S. Dietary Guideline process is valid.  NOPE.  Satin notes that these guidelines have not been peer-reviewed and are based on the lowest quality of information–opinion.  Or, in my terms, on BELIEF SYSTEM.  These guidelines are not independent or objective, according to Satin, who walks through why.   I would say that the USDA guidelines about so many food issues–among them consumption of salt, saturated fat, meat, the amount of carbohydrates deemed ok, and so many of the issues I’ve been covering in my essays–are now so far off track that it’s far, far better to totally ignore them.

Let your body decide your salt intake.  But, use GOOD salts–as discussed in Mainely Tipping Points 38.  They include real salt dried from seawater–not the fake salts in the grocery store.  Real salt is full of minerals.

Written by louisaenright

June 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Mainely Tipping Points 32: Fiber Menace

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Tipping Points 32:  Fiber Menace

FIBER MENACE

One of the most striking things I’ve discovered while researching food and health issues over the past few years is how often strong personalities (usually males with a fervent belief system and either money or political power) drastically change what we think is healthy to eat.  Science refuting belief is ignored, obfuscated, or denied.  And, when industry becomes involved, the changes are permanently cemented into cultural truth.  Such is the case with our current practice of overeating fiber.   

Konstantin Monastyrsky, in FIBER MENACE:  THE TRUTH ABOUT FIBER’S ROLE IN DIET FAILURE, CONSTIPATION, HEMORRHOIDS, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, ULCERATIVE COLITIS, CHROHN’S DISEASE, AND COLON CANCER (2008), identifyies Sylvester Graham (1794-1851) and John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) as agents of dietary change.  Graham, a Presbyterian minister who undoubtedly held the anti-body dictates of Calvinism, “prescribed a high-fiber vegetarian diet” to control lust” (1).  Graham believed men should not have sex until after they were 30 and then only once a month.  He believed white bread caused constipation and recommended “Graham” flour made from coarsely ground wheat.  Graham died alone, and Monastyrsky notes that Graham’s “abrasive, irritable personality” was likely a “manifestation of acute protein deficiency and unstable blood sugar” (1-2).

Kellogg, writes Monastyrsky, was a prominent physician, a celebrated surgeon, a successful entrepreneur, an author, a charitable man, and a health reformer.  Kellogg had a profound impact on the American diet since “he had the resources, the forum, the charisma, the conviction, and the authority to deliver his message over a long, long period of time and to lots and lots of people” (2).  Kellogg, like Graham, was obsessed with chastity and constipation.  He “never made love to his wife.”  To remedy masturbation, he “advocated circumcision without anesthetic for boys and mutilation of the clitoris with carbolic acid for girls.”  He believed constipation caused sexual desire as impacted stools stimulated the prostate gland or the vagina.  He proscribed a coarse vegetarian diet and bran and paraffin oil with every meal—which caused constant anal leakage along with the “decline of libido, functional impotence, and infertility” due to protein deficiencies.  Since he lived to be 91, Kellogg was likely “a typical hypocrite, who didn’t practice what he preached, sex or no sex” (2).

Kellogg’s namesake company is “still minting a fortune by peddling…sugared breakfast cereals fortified with fiber.”  In 2004 alone, the Kellogg Company spent over $3.5 billion just on ` promotional expenditures,’ “ so “no wonder fiber is still on everyone’s mind and in everyone’s stools….” (3).  And so, writes Monastyrsky, “if you believe that the introduction of fiber into the American diet came about as a result of thorough academic research, methodical clinical investigation, and penetrating peer reviews…it didn’t.  It’s actually based on profane sacrilege, fanatical misogynism, medieval prudishness, common quackery, crass commercialism, incomprehensible medical incompetence, and by the legal standards of today, negligence and malpractice” (3). 

There is, writes Monastyrsky, no scientific proof that high-fiber diets are healthy or aid constipation (13).  And a major text for gastroenterologists (ROME II) notes that “`there is little or no relationship between dietary fiber intake and whole gut transit time’ “ (114-115).

Indeed, there are reams of studies demonstrating that anything but “minor quantities of fiber from natural, unprocessed food” upsets the whole digestive chain in ways that leads to the problems listed in FIBER MENACE’s title (13).  Worse, many reputable studies show that high-fiber diets do not provide protection from the second largest cancer killer in the U.S.–colon cancer–and are probably a cause of it–information which has been largely ignored (180-187).  And, studies show that “carbohydrate intake…[is] positively associated with breast cancer risk.”  Yet, health authorities continue to insist that we eat more fiber, avoid meat and animal fat, eat more fruits and vegetables, and drink a lot of water (185).     

But, let’s back up for a moment.  Monastyrsky received medical training and a  pharmacology degree (1977) in Russia (Ukraine) before emigrating to the U.S. in 1978, where he embarked on a very successful career in technology, primarily on Wall Street.  Then, after years of eating a high-fiber vegetarian diet, he became very ill with diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, hemorrhoidal disease, and anal fissures.  He returned to his medical training and research skills to heal himself and  learned that his life-threatening condition often takes decades to develop. 

According to Monastyrsky’s web site (www.gutsense.org), he is a certified nutritional consultant and an expert in forensic nutrition, a new field of science that investigates the connection between supposedly healthy foods and nutrition-related disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.  Treatment is through nutritional intervention.  He’s written two best-selling books in Russian and FIBER MENACE and GUT SENSE in English.  His work is highly respected by the Weston A. Price Foundation and is a fit with other work denouncing the overeating of carbs, the loss or lack of gut flora and fauna (disbacteriosis), and the need to eat nutrient-dense foods for health—such as Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME and Gary Taubes’ WHY WE GET FAT.

Monastyrsky explains the “evolutionary functions of each digestive organ” and notes that each organ specializes in a specific food group.  The mouth macerates and masticates flesh for we are “canine-wielding predators”; the stomach ferments and digests proteins; the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine) mixes chyme (a thick liquid without any solids that arrives from the stomach) with enzymes and absorbs water; the gallbladder uses bile to break down and assimilate fats; the jejunum and ileum (the last two sections of the small intestine) complete digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and absorb “their basic components (amino acids, fattly; acids, monosaccharides); and the large intestine recovers remaining water, nutrients and electrolytes, converts “liquid chyme to semi-solid stools,” and expels them (8-9). 

If this process is disturbed by an overabundance of indigestible fiber, the system struggles.  Malabsorption, where needed nutrients are not absorbed, occurs, which leads to malnutrition and disease.  Constipation and/or diarrhea occur, as does bloating and gas.  The stretched digestive system—a condition worsened by drinking water that makes fiber swell–begins to need more and more fiber to function.  The delicate tissues of the normally narrow anal canal are torn and scarred by too-large stools.  The lack of appropriate fats further compounds these disease conditions by causing stool impaction.  Intestines “bloated from inflammatory diseases caused by indigestible fiber” create hernias (28).       

Monastyrsky warns that a lot of fiber is hidden in fake processed foods under obscure names, like “cellulose, B-glucans, pectin, guar gum, cellulose gum, carrageen, agar-agar, hemicellulose, inulin, lignin, oligofructose, fructooligosaccharides, polydextrose, polylos, psyllium, resistant dextrin, resistant starch, and others.”  These factory made ingredients are derived from wood pulp, cotton, seaweed, husks, skins, seeds, tubers, and selected high-yield plants that aren’t suitable for human  consumption without extra processing” (18). 

So, what constitutes constipation?  Monastyrsky notes that mainstream medicine does not recognize constipation as the very serious condition that it is until it is too late and more extreme digestive conditions have developed.  If you’re not experiencing twice-daily easy and complete stools–Monastyrsky describes in detail what a healthy stool should look like using the UK’s Bristol Stool Form Scale—you might want to read FIBER MENACE. 

WARNING:  Monastyrsky warns that one must wean off fiber very gently or one will set off unintended consequences, like increased constipation.  To heal a damaged digestive tract, the GAPS diet, from GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME, is excellent—www.gapsdiet.com. 

 

Turkey Tracks: Juicing

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Turkey Tracks:  May 27, 2011

Juicing

My niece, Lauren Howser Black, is starting to experiment with juicing–which she shared on Facebook.

I am trying to figure out juicing myself and am slowly coming to some conclusions.

First, all food is made up of three ingredients:  protein, fat, and carbohydrates.  Protein and fat are the building blocks of the body.  They are absolutely necessary for ideal  human health.  Carbohydrates are, apparently, not, since one can get every single nutrient, vitamin, enzyme, etc., one needs from meat alone.  (This information comes most recently from Gary Taubes in WHY WE GET FAT–which I covered in Tipping Points Essays 29 and 30.)

We eat carbs to give ourselves energy.  And, they taste really good for the most part as most are yummy fruits and vegetables.  But, the plant kingdom has been vastly misunderstood for some time.  Plants are chemically based, and they can pack a powerful punch.  For instance, all the major drugs that really work come from plants.  And, plants have chemicals that are absolutely addictive for humans.  Sugar and grains are an example.

Second, humans do not handle cellulose well at all.  Unlike cows, we don’t have four stomachs full of bacteria specifically meant to break down cellulose, in the form of grass.  Our system is much closer to dogs.  We have a single stomach, longer intestines, and bacteria specializing in processing meat and fats.  When we overload them with cellulose, we set up gut conditions that make us sick since all that bulk in the gut, according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who wrote GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME, starts preventing the absorption of the good nutrients we need.

Third, humans really do not handle sugars well at all.  Sugars of all kinds throw off the delicate balance of our digestive system–which, in turn, causes the host of chronic diseases associated with people who have settled in one place and are growing, particularly, grains.  You’ll recognize some on the following list:  arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, schizophrenia, and cancer.   Autoimmune and inflammatory conditions abound.  These all appear alongside developmental degradation, like crooked teeth and bad eyesight.  Hunter-gatherers and nomad herders, on the other hand, have been and are (yes there are still some in the world) disease free.  [This kind of assessment is widely discussed.  Here, I’m using Lierre Keith’s recounting of this history in THE VEGETARIAN MYTH (139+).  She is, in turn, drawing on the work of Dr. Loren Cordain, who has worked extensively with archeological evidence of what earlier people ate and how it affected their bodies.]

Given this information, one might avoid all carbs.  I think that would be hard, and most hunter-gatherers and nomadic herders foraged for greens, tubers, seasonal fruits (which were much less sweet than our fruit today), and the like.  Plus, we are surrounded with eye-catching produce all year around.   AND, one has to consider, also, that juicing has long had a place in healing circles.  Maybe it works to detoxify the body–short term–but long-term health requires nutrient dense foods.  Vegetables are not nutrient dense.  Period.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride absolutely holds a place for juicing in the GAPS diet.  (I wrote about GAPS in Tipping Points 31.)  But, she is dealing with a population of sick people (autism, in particular) who have significant gut issues.  (There is a growing recognition that autism almost always has a particular profile of an impaired digestive system AND that autistic people crave carbohydrates and have very limited diets.)  I know I have a gut issue–it was the root cause of my food allergy issues.  I suspect most Americans today do, given all the grains, other carbs, processed food, and chemicals they’re eating.

Dr. Max Gerson was one of the pioneers of healing the body through, among other practices, juicing.  But, he also used infusions of raw liver as well.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has an interesting web page and who wrote THE NO-GRAIN DIET, juices–but mostly green vegetables.

So, how to think about this issue?

It’s pretty clear that fruit juices are really high in sugar and offer a terrible jolt to the system.  Fructose sugars are particularly difficult for the body to handle and cause elevated insulin levels.  No one should ever drink commercial fruit juices.  If one is struggling with obesity, too much fructose can and does lead straight down a road that has stops at diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and so on.  But, what about vegetable juices?

I have a Vita-Mix, which pulverizes whatever goes in, so I have to think about all the added cellulose as well.  I’ve decided I need to strain whatever I am going to mix up.

Let’s start with a seemingly balanced approach.  Campbell-McBride says juicing is a great way to get nutrients without all the cellulose.  She advocates about a 50-50 ration of fruits to vegetables.  The sweet in the fruits make the good of the vegetables drinkable–especially for picky eaters.  And, the GAPS work shows that some fruits help heal the gut.  She  recommends two cups of juice a day total.  Here are some of her suggestions:

Pineapple, carrot, and a little bit of beetroot (5%  total) in the morning prepares the digestive system for the coming meals.

Carrot, apple, celery, and beetroot cleanses the liver.

Green juices from leafy veggies (spinach, lettuce, parsley, dill, carrot, and beet tops) with some tomatoe and lemon chelate heavy metals and provide magnesium and iron.

Here’s a list of vegetables she uses:  carrot, beetroot (5% of mixture only), celery, cabbage, lettuce, greens (spinach, parsley, dill, basil, fresh nettle leaves, beet tops, carrot tops, white and red cabbage)

And, her list of fruits comes from the GAPS approved fruits.  She also really likes black elderberry as an immune builder.

The Green Approach.  Dr. Mercola does not permit fruit juice because of the elevated levels of sugar.  I’m not sure I see the difference between eating an apple and juicing it, however, especially since I have this new sensibility about all the cellulose in the apple itself.  Anyway, his juicing is confined to green vegetables.  He avoids carrots, beets, and squashes.

Here’s his beginner green drink:  2 stalks of celery, 1 cucumber, 2 stalks of fennel.

He recommends starting with 1 or 2 ounces and adding to that until you are drinking 12 ounces at a time.

He recommends mixing mild greens (lettuces, but not iceberg; endive, escarole, spinach, cabbage) with stronger veggies (kale, collard, dandelion greens, mustard greens), and adding herbs, eggs (1 to 4), and some flavorings (1 Tablespoon coconut that is whole fresh grated or unsweetened dry from a health food store, 1 Tablespoon fresh cranberries, 1/2 lemon, 1 inch ginger root).

Hmmmm.   I’d have to work up to liking these green mixtures.  But, it’s something about which to think.  I would caution that spinach and chard have high levels of oxalates which can give you kidney stones if eaten in excess.   Also, I really like the cookbook THE GARDEN OF EATING, Rachel Albert-Matesz and Don Matesz.  She has a few juiced drinks as well, but has a Vita-Mix and one eats everything.

CAUTION:  YOU MUST USE ORGANIC PRODUCE!  If you want to be healthy, you cannot consider eating anything that is full of poisons.  Juicing for health when you’re using a tainted food defeats your whole purpose.  The Environmental Working Group now has a web site listing what poisons are on our foods:  http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/

I juiced a mixture of fruits and veggies today, and we drank it for lunch.  I used too many fruits.  It was sweet and good, but I had a headache an hour later.  I think for the moment I’m going to stick with my homemade yogurt, egg, coconut oil, fruit smoothies for the moment, with more limited fruit included.  And, a tonic of raw eggs, lemon juice, and honey.  Maybe I’ll play around with Mercolas more green suggestions.  But, we eat so many fresh, locally grown greens and bone-broth soups, that maybe I don’t need the juicing thing.   I am worried about too much fruit and weight loss, which I need to do.  Hey!  I just read that cinnamon is MAGIC for getting tired, insulin-resistant cells to give up fat.  Will add it to my smoothie in the morning.  I do like Campbell-McBride’s suggestions–just have to curb the urge to put in more fruit.

Mainely Tipping Points 29: A Cultural Studies Answer

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Tipping Points 29

A CULTURAL STUDIES ANSWER

In WHY WE GET FAT (2011), Gary Taubes asks a scientific question.  His answer deploys scientific data from respected scientists working with the relationship of food to human body chemistry.  To recap, overweight people develop a hormonal disorder which is caused by eating carbohydrates, especially the easily digestible, highly processed carbohydrates (white flour, sugars, grains, starchy and/or sweet vegetables, and fructose from fruits bred to be big and sweet).  This disorder causes human bodies either to trap and store food energy in fat cells, no matter the energy needs of the body, or to funnel food energy to the muscles, which makes for a lean body with lots of energy that must be exercised away.

Taubes addresses some of why the inaccurate calorie in/calorie out, or “energy,” paradigm has persisted despite a decided lack of supporting science and the existence of a growing body of contrary evidence stretching back at least sixty years.  My own discipline, Cultural Studies, would begin where Taubes often leaves off by asking who is benefitting and what structural and cultural forces are being deployed for support.   

Cultural belief systems are probably the most powerful organizing forces man has ever devised.  Taubes describes a particularly insidious cultural belief that supports the energy paradigm.  By arbitrarily deciding that obesity is not a dysfunction of the body, a path opens which allows the belief that obesity is caused by the brain —which has been culturally interpreted to be about behavior, about character, about gluttony and sloth (80-86).    

Taubes’ identifies Louis Newburgh, a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, as one originator of the “head case,” or psychological, explanation for obesity.    In the 1920s, Newburgh became a nationally recognized expert on obesity, and he posited that either obese people were taught to overeat by their parents or they had a “`combination of weak will and a pleasure seeking outlook upon life’” (83). 

“Newburgh,” Taubes notes, “was preaching to a medical establishment that had been taught to revere authority figures, not question their pronouncements” (83).  Newburgh, I’d say, lived in a time when most fat people were poor people.  He was a patriarch who was preaching something that most people of his own class understood to be true:  there’s something wrong with people who are poor, and the fat ones, well, they have “perverted appetites” (82).   

Wrapped up in this psychological explanation are the intersections of class, race, and gender.  Taubes points out that the poorer one is, the fatter one is likely to be since the calories available to the poor derive from cheap carbohydrates (18).  Taubes lists many worldwide studies of poor fat populations who are, with one exception, people of color.  (The exception is Naples, Italy, right after World War II ended, when Naples was destitute.)   Within these studies, the fattest of the fat, by large percentages, are women, who, Taubes infers, are giving the best food to their families (17-32). 

Taubes demonstrates that these poor people are not lazy, that they work hard, physical jobs.  And, like the investigating scientists, Taubes concludes that both malnutrition and subnutrition coexist in these populations because traditional patterns of living have been displaced and available food is mostly highly processed carbohydrates (17-32). 

The medical community, Taubes explains, uniformly swerved in the “head case” direction until well after World War II (84).  Historically, we know that post World War II America is when industry began providing more and more processed food, particularly the highly processed vegetable oils and margarines that replaced animal fats like butter, lard, and tallow.  And, we know that obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer rates all increased.

In the 1970s, Taubes relates, the practice of “behavioral medicine” emerged and the term “eating disorder” became the preferred label, but the “head case” tenants are still intact.  The psychological eating dictates are with us today:  slow down your eating and eat only in the kitchen or at the dining room table (84).  I’d add this one:  we eat when we’re emotionally disturbed in order to nourish ourselves—rather than understanding when we’re emotionally upset, we have more trouble controlling an unsatisfying diet.  Anyway, Taubes notes that today “many, if not most, of the leading authorities on obesity are psychologists and psychiatrists, people whose expertise is meant to be in the ways of the mind, not of the body”—an outcome that ignores the chemical connections between obesity and diabetes (84). 

How is it that certain people get to be “experts” in combating obesity?  Newburgh, for instance, was a doctor of medicine.  Yet, most medical doctors study neither nutrition nor the chemical impact of foods on the human body.  So, where are medical doctors getting their information?  Like most of us, not many medical doctors have time to sit down and figure out whom among the “experts” actually has adequate credentials, is asking the right questions, has formulated solid scientific answers in an independent arena that is not tainted by either personal belief system or corporate funding, whose work has withstood ensuing peer critique, and whose results have been duplicated. 

Today, we are struggling with pronouncements from a host of medical doctors who have written very famous diet books—and made a lot of money–but whose diets often prove ineffective or, even, unhealthy when scientifically tested.  Many of these books are predicated upon the lipid hypothesis (anti-saturated fat).  Taubes uses the 1960s turn toward the belief that animal fats are bad for us and carbohydrates “heart healthy” to describe the formation of the lipid hypothesis belief system:   “…doctors and nutritionists started attacking carbohydrate-restricted diets, because they bought into an idea about heart disease that was barely even tested at the time and would fail to be confirmed once it was….They believed it though, because people they respected believed it, and those people believed it because, well, other people they respected believed it” (160-161). 

We are struggling with information from “expert” organizations like the American Dietetic Association, whose partners and sponsors, as revealed by Zoe Harcombe in THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC,  include “Coca-Cola ($31.4 billion), PepsiCo ($44.3 billion), GlaxoSmith Kline ($45.2 billion), General Mills ($14.9 billion), SoyJoy ($9.2 billion), Mars ($30 billion) and many others” (Tim Boyd, book review of Zoe Harcombe, THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC:  WHAT CAUSED IT?  HOW CAN WE STOP IT?, in “Wise Traditions,” Winter 2010, 50-52). Corporate industry funds academic departments and specific scientists and successfully obfuscates bedrock science, just as it did with tobacco and is doing with many current drugs and toxic chemicals.       

And we are struggling with a government whose agenda and regulatory mechanisms are controlled largely by industry–a government who has, regardless of dissenting bedrock science, used its authority and our tax dollars to effect vast, damaging, and unsustainable changes in our food system since World War II.  Industry has bent our government and our legal system to its will–corporations are now people, but do not have the ethical responsibilities of people–which is a potential death knoll for what remains of our democracy.      

In 1977, when Senator George McGovern’s U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs—a group operating out of belief, not science, decreed that saturated animal fat was dangerous, Dr. Mary Enig, then a graduate student of biochemistry at the University of Maryland, was so puzzled that she analyzed the report and reached the opposite conclusions.  Enig’s own work pointed to the highly-processed vegetable oils and trans fats as the likely culprits in increasing rates of cancer and heart disease.  She noted that the McGovern committee had “manipulated the data in inappropriate ways in order to obtain untruthful results.”  She published her findings, and the edible oils industry not only successfully silenced her and her colleagues, they prevented them from getting any further research money.  Though Enig and her colleagues continued their research, it wasn’t until the 1990s when European work on trans fats began to be published that Enig was vindicated (http://www.stop-trans-fat.com/mary-enig.html).  Nevertheless, deadly trans fats, often labeled “partially hydrogenated fats,” are still allowed in our foods.  

So, who is benefitting from the current energy paradigm?  In the end, no one.