Interesting items from my inbox and elsewhere …
PETA wants our kids to get cancer!
Okay, just kidding with that headline. Now and then it’s fun to act like a True Believer vegan and accuse those who don’t agree with me of being horrible, horrible people – you know, the weenie mentality I described in the previous two posts.
Anyway, check out this article from the U.K. Telegraph:
Long term vegetarianism can lead to genetic mutations which raise the risk of heart disease and cancer, scientists have found.
No, no, no! Vegetarians don’t die of heart disease or cancer! Just ask them. (Or don’t … there’s a good chance they’ll tell you anyway.)
Populations who have had a primarily vegetarian diet for generations were found to be far more likely to carry DNA which makes them susceptible to inflammation.
Scientists in the US believe that the mutation occurred to make it easier for vegetarians to absorb essential fatty acids from plants. But it has the knock-on effect of boosting the production of arachidonic acid, which is known to increase inflammatory disease and cancer. When coupled with a diet high in vegetable oils – such as sunflower oil – the mutated gene quickly turns fatty acids into dangerous arachidonic acid.
So PETA wants you to follow a diet that will give your kids and grandkids cancer. Or something like that.
The finding may help explain previous research which found vegetarian populations are nearly 40 per cent more likely to suffer colorectal cancer than meat eaters, a finding that has puzzled doctors because eating red meat is known to raise the risk.
I see. So eating meat raises your risk of colorectal cancer, but vegetarian populations are nearly 40 percent more likely to suffer colorectal cancer. So that means … uh … uh … something.
Researchers from Cornell University in the US compared hundreds of genomes from a primarily vegetarian population in Pune, India to traditional meat-eating people in Kansas and found there was a significant genetic difference.
“Those whose ancestry derives from vegetarians are more likely to carry genetics that more rapidly metabolise plant fatty acids,” said Tom Brenna, Professor of Human Nutrition at Cornell.
“In such individuals, vegetable oils will be converted to the more pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid, increasing the risk for chronic inflammation that is implicated in the development of heart disease, and exacerbates cancer.
Okay, now I’ve got it: if you’re a vegetarian living in India and come from a long line of vegetarians, you need to move to Kansas. I knew there had to be a logical conclusion in there somewhere.
You can read more of the article, but I’d put this one in the “so what?” category … even though it would be fun to wave it in the face of the next vegan zealot who shows up here predicting my demise from colon cancer.
Sunbathing will extend your life and perhaps also kill you
More fun with observational studies … take a look at this article from Shape Magazine: (If you’re in the sun, you may want to put on your sunglasses first.)
You’ve made it a point to regularly choose the shade over the sun (right?!). Well, new research from the Journal of Internal Medicine challenges the whole “avoid the sun like the plague” thing.
According to the study, women who regularly sunbathed had lower mortality rates than those who tried to stay out of the sun. They also had a lower risk of developing heart disease and dying of non-cancer and non-cardiovascular-related causes than the shade seekers.
They were also linked to more boyfriends because of their nice tans.
The researchers, who followed nearly 30,000 Swedish women for 20 years, determined the sun avoiders reduced their lifespan by .6 to 2.1 years.
I wonder if those 30,000 Swedish women got tired of researchers following them around for 20 years. I’m thinking by around year 18, some of them were yelling, “Hey! Piss off and leave me alone! I’m trying to get a tan here!” (I’ll ask Dr. Eenfeldt to translate that into Swedish when I see him on the cruise.)
Researchers even went so far as to conclude that avoiding the sun is just as bad as smoking since nonsmokers who stayed in the shade had a lifespan similar to smokers in the sun-loving group. Cue confusion.
“Hey! Piss off and leave me alone! I’m trying to enjoy a smoke and get a tan! Go follow that pale-skinned lady around for a change!”
Not everyone’s on board with the study’s findings. “They could have dangerous repercussions,” says Stuart Spitalnic, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine at Brown University School of Medicine. The results may be skewed since women who sunbathe likely come from the upper class, which is a group that tends to be healthier to begin with, he says. “You could then make a case that sunbathing perhaps shortens the life of sunbathers compared to similar people who avoid the sun.”
Yes, of course. You can speculate every which way, because it’s an observational study. We don’t know why the Sunbathing Swedish Stewardess—er, Swedish women had longer lifespans. (Sorry, I had a brief flashback to drive-in movies from my high-school days.) Could be they got more vitamin D. Could be that women who are lean and fit are more likely to go sunbathing because they look good in a swimsuit – and also live longer because they’re lean and fit. Could be the upper-class connection the good doctor mentioned. There’s no way of determining cause and effect.
But I wish doctors and researchers would be consistent in their opinion of observational studies. Because I have a feeling if the sunbathing women died younger, we’d be hearing all about how getting a tan will kill you – an idea the doctor floated even though the sunbathers had longer lifespans.
Finally, a health magazine I like
While sitting in my chiropractor’s waiting room some weeks ago, I thumbed through his magazine collection. Usually the magazines in medical offices just annoy the bejezus out of me. Article after article (placed strategically opposite the ads for Weight Watchers meals and various drugs) proclaiming the wonders of whole grains and low-fat diets, stuff like that.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I began reading articles in a magazine called Experience L!fe. The focus was all on real foods, good sleep, quality exercise, meditation, etc. I wasn’t in the waiting room long enough to read the whole thing, so I asked the receptionist if I could pull out the subscription card and take it with me. Sure, she said.
Here are some article titles from the issue sitting on my desk:
The Cortisol Curve
Rebuild Your Back
How to Measure Your Resting Heart Rate
Resistant Starch for a Healthy Gut
Here’s a bit of advice from the article on cortisol:
A low-carb diet can support weight loss, but it’s not idea for those with disrupted cortisol. In a 2014 clinical trial, subjects with cortisol issues were able to reset their curves by eating low-carb breakfasts, moderate amounts of health carbs in the afternoon, and higher amounts of healthy carbs (think sweet potatoes, not bread of pasta) in the evening.
Endocrinologist Alan Christianson, NMD, author of The Adrenal Reset Diet, directed the trial. He now prescribes carb cycling to his patients who are dealing with any type of cortisol disruption.
Lots of good stuff in the issue – and not one ad for Weight Watchers or Healthy Whole Grains!
Just thought I’d mention it in case any of you still enjoy the feel of an actual magazine in your hands, as I do. Seems well worth $21 per year.
Serve the food we tell you to serve – or else!
Recommending good magazines, books, blogs and other educational material is one way to change people’s eating habits. Now here’s the government method:
The federal government is taking steps to fine schools that do not comply with first lady Michelle Obama’s school lunch rules.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service issued a proposed rule Monday to codify parts of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by Mrs. Obama.
The regulation would punish schools and state departments with fines for “egregious or persistent disregard” for the lunch rules that imposed sodium and calorie limits and banned white grains.
We are The Anointed. We know what’s best for you. Bow before us and obey.
A West Virginia preschool teacher was threatened with fines for violating the rules by rewarding her students with candy for good behavior in June 2015. The teacher ultimately did not have to pay, but the school had to develop a “corrective action plan” with training on the policies.
I don’t like seeing teachers reward kids with candy. But the proper response is to explain to her why it’s a bad idea … or just explain to your kids why they shouldn’t eat the candy. Or just let your kids eat the candy on rare occasions and serve them real food at home.
The government now seeks to make fines enforceable by regulation. Section 303 of the law requires that the federal government “establish criteria for the imposition of fines” for all the Department of Agriculture’s child food programs.
The fines would be the latest consequence of the healthy eating law that Mrs. Obama lobbied for in 2010. More than 1.4 million students have left the lunch line since the rules went into effect, as students have complained of small portions and unappetizing fare. The standards have been blamed for cafeteria workers losing their jobs, and some kids have even resorted to creating black markets for salt to add flavor.
We The Anointed commanded you to serve kids tasteless, low-salt, low-fat, low-calorie foods. Millions of your rebellious offspring responded by refusing to buy school lunches .. so YOU, YOU WORTHLESS PEONS, responded by trying to break our commandments. We The Anointed do not tolerate peons making their own decisions. You will submit. You will obey. We know what’s best for your children.
The Food and Nutrition Service is targeting schools that refuse to comply with Mrs. Obama’s lunch rules and said monetary penalties are a “useful tool” to get noncompliant cafeterias in line.
I’m afraid the federal officials have confused useful tool with useful idiot.
So let’s see … there’s no good scientific evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease or obesity, yet the USDA is mandating low-fat meals in schools. There’s no good scientific evidence that salt causes health problems — in fact, a study commissioned by the CDC concluded that low-salt diets may be dangerous — but the USDA is mandating low-salt lunches. Studies show that kids who drink skim milk are no leaner or healthier than kids who drink whole milk, yet the USDA mandates skim milk … but allows sugar in the skim milk, in spite of all the scientific evidence that sugar is bad for kids, from their teeth on down. And now schools that refuse to comply with USDA commandments will be fined.
Well, at least the people imposing and enforcing all this unscientific nonsense don’t belong to what one reader insists is the “anti-science” party.
But I’ll stop now before I commit a microaggression.