More evidence that what “everyone knows” is changing
Yesterday I linked to articles in the popular press that dispute the “fat kills!” everybody knows advice. Today a reader sent a link to an article titled 15 Ten-Second Health Tips on Yahoo Health. Here’s the relevant quote:
Eat Bacon and Eggs for Breakfast
Regularly skipping breakfast increases your risk of obesity by 450 percent. Moreover, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that people who regularly ate a protein-rich, 600-calorie breakfast lost significantly more weight in 8 months than those who consumed only 300 calories and a quarter of the protein.
And no, eggs and bacon aren’t unhealthy. (Overeating eggs and bacon—or anything else—is what’s unhealthy.) In fact, whole eggs contain more essential vitamins and minerals per calorie than any other food. They’re also one of the best sources of choline, a substance your body requires to break down fat for energy. What’s more, in a recent review of dozens of scientific studies, Wake Forest University researchers found no connection between egg consumption and heart disease. As for bacon, once it’s been cooked it contains just 1 gram of saturated fat per slice—and one-third of that is the kind that has no effect on cholesterol levels.
Frankly, I don’t care if bacon has one gram of saturated fat or 20, because saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease. That little complaint aside, it’s encouraging to see eggs and bacon publicly exonerated in the press — a mere 27 years after TIME magazine fingered them as killers.
Sugar in a can
Here’s a question I get in emails all the time: If carbs make us fat, why aren’t the Japanese fat, since they eat rice? Yes, they eat rice. Americans eat rice, pasta, bread, cereals, donuts, french fries, ice cream, pizza crusts, cookies, potato chips, corn chips, and Little Debbie Snack Cakes. Then, on top of all that, you can toss in the sodas. Here’s a graphic showing the rise in soda production in the U.S.
Now here’s another graphic comparing annual per-capita soda consumption in several countries:
Notice Japan down there at the bottom of the list — with about 1/10th the per-capita consumption of the U.S. I’d say that could make a difference.
A reader happened to send me this email last week:
Hi, Tom – I thought you would appreciate this. Today my husband accidentally grabbed a regular instead of a diet soda at the store. He’s a lab researcher studying aging in fruit flies and just happened to have sucrose around since it’s used in the fly food. He posted the attached picture to Facebook, with the comment: Accidentally grabbed regular instead of diet coke at the convenience store. Ouch 260 calories. Decided to weigh out 70g of sugar, and here’s what it looks like.
There’s your sugar from a 20-ounce soda. According to my math, the average American consumes somewhere between 270 to 300 times this much sugar from sodas each year. Since I don’t drink any, that means someone else is consuming 600 times this much sugar from soda per year. (If anyone knows that guy, tell him to STOP RIGHT NOW!)
I recently appeared on Jim Harold’s Conspiracy Corner podcast. I warned him beforehand that I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe our government has the competence to pull off grand conspiracies.
My views on how the government screwed up our diets may be interpreted by some as a conspiracy, but I chalk it up to two factors: 1) as the great economist Milton Friedman said, people have an inexhaustible capacity to believe that whatever is good for them is also good for society as a whole, and 2) as detailed in the wonderful book Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), people also have an inexhaustible capacity to deny their own mistakes. The USDA recommended a diet that happened to benefit the grain industry whose products they’re supposed to promote anyway, and they’re probably incapable of admitting they goofed.
Anyway, Jim still wanted me to appear on the podcast. His site is normally subscription-only, but you can listen to the podcast here.
The Older Brother on Cognitive Dissonance
The Older Brother’s latest post is about the disconnect between what the experts recommend and what the evidence shows:
Today’s SJ-R Health section focused on the very real food-health connection and an anti-inflammatory diet, but only the last sentence mentioned that “foods labeled ‘low-fat’ often remove fat and replace it with pro-inflammatory carbohydrates.”
Like the low-fat menus being force-fed to school kids now, which remove the fat their brains and bodies need to be healthy; then fill them up with grains and other carbohydrates; then wonder where all of the childhood obesity, diabetes, ADD and autism is coming from. That ought to make someone’s brain hurt.
I probably shouldn’t mention this since he didn’t, but yesterday was his birthday … so if you visit the blog, wish him a happy belated.
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