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Good commentary. You even took note of the omega-6/omega-3 imbalance problem. I hope Taubes eventually turns his attention to omega-6s. It has far more impact on weight and chronic inflammatory diseases than most people realize. Google "Susan Allport omega-6" and you'll see what I mean. I nearly did myself in by consuming almost daily peanut butter sandwiches for lunch for many years. I didn't realize how much omega-6 I was ingesting though I could tell something wasn't quite right. When I heard Dr. Bill Lands say, "Did you know that peanuts contain 4,000 milligrams of omega-6 in each 28 gram, one ounce serving of peanuts, and one milligram of omega-3?" I realized my mistake. Two months after I stopped eating peanut butter the pain in my legs subsided. I've been researching omega-6 ever since. Google omega-6 and or lenoleic acid along with words such as depression, mood, alzheimers, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. and you'll see why I feel that the the use of seeds for animal feed and the inclusion of seed oils in the human diet is the major public health disaster of the 20th Century and beyond.
Toggle Commented Jan 4, 2011 on Why We Get Fat: A Book Review at Refuse To Regain
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"Indeed, even if, by some miracle, we suddenly understood the multiple causes of obesity..." No miracle is needed. The same dietary factors that generate inflammatory responses leading to cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc., are responsible for boosting the percentage of fat people among us. The major culprits are excessive fructose and omega-6 intake. Google "1 of 4 Dr. Bill Lands" to learn about the primary prevention of chronic inflammatory diseases.
What I'd like to see is more attention paid to the omega-6 problem. Omega-6 fats are the anonymous, invisible ingredient in the food supply responsible for much of the chronic inflammatory diseases most people die from these days. To be sure, there are other ingredients in the food supply, such as added sugars, that promote inflammation. However, no one is talking about omega-6. And that makes it dangerous. For example, I've been eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch more often than not since my discharge from the military in 1972. Last November I heard NIH scientist Bill Lands utter these words. "...there are some really interesting foods that have more omega-3 than omega-6; but not all. Did you know that peanuts have 4,000 milligrams per 28 gram, one ounce serving of peanuts? 4,000 milligrams of omega-6 and one milligram of omega-3. The United States is the land of peanut butter. Grow our kids. Make our kids healthy. Whoops." Whoops indeed! I stopped eating peanut butter and three months later I'm finding I can get up from a sitting position without thinking about it and am able to run again. Watch this 37 minute presentation and see if you think omega-6 needs more publicity. http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=8108 Dr. Lands begins his presentation at about minute 12. Just drag the time button slightly to the right.
The comment I posted about improving the quality of the food supply and correcting the mistakes in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans must have been judged inappropriate. Well, to satisfy the criteria for posting a comment I'll just mention that I'm a God fearing man, though not one who prays all that often. I'd rather spend my time gathering information and reflecting on the problems that engage my interest. I think of prayer in terms of being caught out in a storm in a rowboat. You can pray, but pray as you row toward safety. I once prayed for wisdom which I define as doing what is right. And ever since, I've been relentlessly studying nutritional issues and controversies. In the course of my investigations I came to realize that, where healthy eating is concerned, most people would rather not be bothered with the facts. They just want some expert to tell them what is safe and healthy to eat. Well, sorry to say, experts disagree. That's why controversies exist. But a fact? A fact is always true. Remember Dragnet? "Just the facts, Mam." So here we are. It's been almost a hundred years since a company founded by a candle maker and a soap maker introduced a product called Crisco (Short for crystallized cottonseed oil) into the American food supply claiming it to be healthier than lard. Well Crisco is still around and lard is considered unhealthy and most people die from heart disease and cancer. Want to hear more of this story? Here's the phrase. 0mega-6:The fat that ruins your health.
Toggle Commented Jan 27, 2010 on One thing I can always do at No Impact Man
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The big problem is the cost of doing business in the USA. Much of our industrial base has migrated out of the country because of the high cost for employment benefits; especially health insurance. Reducing worker demand for medical services would restore a competitive edge that has steadily eroded with the increase in obesity and chronic disease. How can chronic disease be brought under control? Improve the quality of the food supply and correct the mistakes in the federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The two biggest mistakes in the Guidelines are the failure to warn Americans about excessive omega-6 fat consumption (Google "Omega-6: the fat that ruins your health") and the failure to acknowledge the benefits associated with high consumptive levels of saturated fat (Google "Controversial Saturated Fat").
It's important to keep in mind that commerce, not the United States, is the culprit when it comes to environmental collapse. We're a melting pot of people and cultures from all over the world. When people arrive here, they expect to fully participate in the freedom and material prosperity this country's circumstances have made possible. That said, allow me to frame the problem in the light of what commerce has wrought. Omega-6: the fat that ruins your health Lately, I've been asking everyone I encounter what they know about omega-6 fat. The usual responses are "A little" or "Nothing." And most of those who say "A little" actually mean "Nothing." This is not surprising given the lack of scientific interest in the metabolic effects of excessive omega-6 intake. A lot of heart disease research, over the past forty years, has consisted of studies in which scientists attempted to connect saturated fat consumption to heart disease. It was assumed that since saturated fats increase cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, reducing saturated fat intake would lower the risk of developing clogged arteries. More recently, scientists have shown that it is cholesterol particle size that is associated with heart attack risk, not total cholesterol. You wouldn't know this from the ads for statin drugs. So how does omega-6 fit into the picture. That's a long story - almost 200 years long. Ironically, it began in 1813 in France with the discovery by Michel Chevreul of margaric acid. In 1853, the German structural Chemist Wilhelm Heintz analyzed margaric acid and found it to be a combination of stearic acid and the previously unknown palmitic acid. In 1869, Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France offered a prize to anyone who could make a satisfactory substitute for butter, suitable for use by the armed forces and the lower classes. French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés invented a substance he called oleomargarine. The name became shortened to the trade name "margarine." Mège-Mouriés patented the concept but was unable make money manufacturing the product so in 1871 he sold the patent to the Dutch company Jurgens, now part of Unilever. In 1897, French chemist Paul Sabatier perfected a process called hydrogenation. In 1902, German chemist Wilhelm Normann was awarded a patent for the hydrogenation of liquid oils. In 1911, an American company founded by two immigrants, William Proctor, a candle maker from England and James Gamble, a soap maker from Ireland, began marketing a product called Crisco; the name being derived from the initial sounds of the expression "crystallized cottonseed oil." So, around a hundred years ago, food technologists began manufacturing substitutes for butter (margarine) and lard (Crisco). And people began to die from heart disease. By the 1950s, heart disease was so prevalent and people were dying from it at such a young age that identifying the cause became a major priority for medical researchers. The science of epidemiology was born and massive studies were carried out in many countries to determine if there was a connection between food intake and clogged arteries. Duh! Leading the charge was University of Minnesota physiologist Ancel Keys. Dr. Keys enthusiastically promoted the idea that consuming too much saturated fat caused arteries to clog. The idea took hold and was vigorously promoted by vegetarian activists, sugar interests, the edible oils industry, and certain prominent scientists. In the 1970s the government got involved and began issuing dietary advice to lower fat intake to control weight and restrict saturated fat intake to prevent heart disease. So, for at least the past four decades we've been relentlessly bombarded with messages to consume less butter, choose low fat dairy products, eat less red meat, eat fewer eggs, etc. At the same time we've been told to replace animal fats with margarine and polyunsaturated vegetable oil products. But food products made from seed oils are high in omega-6 fats. It's estimated that Americans consume 10 to 30 times more omega-6 fats than omega-3 fats. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids. That means we have to consume them to be healthy. However, they need to be consumed in roughly equal amounts because the body does not have the ability to sort nutrients to balance their concentration in tissues. For further explanation I urge readers to watch this 37 minute presentation by Dr. Bill Lands. http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=8108 The department of defense recently hosted a conference on omega-3 fats. There's been a lot of excitement about omega-3 fats of late but omega-6 is where the focus of attention ought to be. Introductory remarks take about 12 minutes. You can skip to the presentation by moving the cursor slightly to the right after the streaming begins
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You could experiment with coconut oil and butter and not worry about the protein content of your diet. Both sources of fat contain medium chain triglycerides which tend to NOT get stored in fat cells. You might also read up on the Kitava Study. Kitavans consume a high carbohydrate diet yet have no weight problem. http://www.paleodiet.com/lindeberg/ One thing you don't want to lose any sleep over is your saturated fat intake. http://www.sciscoop.com/controversial-saturated-fat.html You do need to be concerned about you intake of omega-6 fats. http://omega-6-omega-3-balance.omegaoptimize.com/2009/11/10/why-omega6-fats-matter-to-your-health.aspx
Obesity if a complicated condition. There are many variables due to variations in physiological and biochemical makeup. For example, assuming the same quantity and quality of food intake, some people have too much fat because they have a naturally large appetite and eat a lot. Others eat a lot but can't gain weight because their digestive systems do not allow as many calories to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Fat or thin, it's important to realize that quality (biological potency) and appropriateness are the two factors that determine ones health. The so-called obesity epidemic is the result of an industrialized food supply that offers too much manufactured food of the sort that upsets hormone balance, curtails gut microbe activity, and deranges the appetite. I hope Stacy will educate herself on these matters before choosing a diet that is inappropriate or otherwise somehow deficient in vital nutrients. One of the best sources of information is the Weston A. Price Foundation. For information on gut microbes and weight control, Google "Gary Tivendale Documents."
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One wonders if America's political leaders will ever notice the connection between the quality of the food supply and the status of the public health. For example, in the Preface to "Food for Nought" (1973), biochemist, teacher, and author Ross Hume Hall, observed "Nourishment of the American populace has undergone a startling transformation since World War II. A highly individual system of growing and marketing food has been transformed into a gigantic, highly integrated service system in which the object is not to nourish or even to feed, but to force an ever-increasing consumption of fabricated products. This phenomenon is not peculiar to the American scene and occurs in every industrialized country. The United States, however, has progressed furthest in the transformation. Man can never be more than what he eats, and one would expect that a phenomenon with such profound effects on health and well-being as a radically changed system of supplying nourishment would be thoroughly documented and assessed by the scientific community. Such is not the case. The transformation has gone unmarked by government agencies and learned bodies. Government agencies, recipients of the public trust charged with protecting and improving the public's food, operate as if the technology of food fabrication rested in pre-World War II days. Scientific bodies, supported by public funds and charged with assessing and improving the public's health, ignore completely the results of contemporary methods of producing and marketing food." For a while there I thought our new president had recognized the need to change the face of agriculture. For in an October 2008 interview with Joe Klein he said, "I was just reading an article in The New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it's creating mono cultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our health care costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in health care costs." Apparently, President Obama and his political advisers have lost interest in reforming agriculture and improving the quality of the food supply.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2009 on “You lie!” at Health Beat
Perhaps you should be saying knowledge trumps conjecture. You wrote, "When dietitians began saying saturated animal fats hurt your heart, the beef and dairy industry rolled out their own group of gurus saying "not so bad." Actually, the beef and dairy industries capitulated to the saturated-fat-is-bad doctrine and began developing low-fat versions of meat and dairy products. This has been carried to an extreme in New Zealand where professor Rod Jackson, A top public health expert, is calling for a health tax on butter, saying it's "pure, natural poison" and as bad as cigarettes. He further says, "It's about the purest form of saturated fat you can eat and it has no protein and no calcium. Butter has had all the good things taken out and just left the poison." http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/349682 With experts like that in charge of the public health sector it's probably no coincidence that "...The biotech company ViaLactia Biosciences, a research and development arm of Fonterra, screened the range of milk compositions across the entire herd of four million New Zealand cattle." They found one that gave low-in-saturated-fat milk and dubbed her Marge because butter made from her milk stays soft in the refrigerator due to its high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Readers of this blog would do well to research the facts about saturated fat intake. It is not the health hazard that academia, government agencies, and the food manufacturing industry say it is. That is a myth fabricated by Ancel Keys more than four decades ago. It's mostly excessive sugar intake that fuels the epidemic of obesity and chronic disease. For the bitter truth about sugar watch this lecture http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM or read a transcript of this interview http://www.abc.net.au/rn/healthreport/stories/2007/1969924.htm
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Fee for services adds up fast. About four years ago my wife developed a urinary tract infection that became noticeable one Sunday morning in late July. The pain was intense so a trip to the emergency room seemed in order. Three hours and several tests later we walked out of the hospital pain free and 1,600 or so dollars poorer. We don't have medical insurance so made payments. It seems to me like the cost of diagnoses was all out of proportion to the problem being diagnosed but what do I know?
"Greeting his pupils, the master asked: What would you learn of me? And the reply came: How shall we care for our bodies? How shall we rear our children? How shall we work together? How shall we live with our fellowmen? How shall we play? For what ends shall we live?... And the teacher pondered these words, and sorrow was in his heart, for his own learning touched not these things." http://cgi.ebay.com.my/Principals-of-Education-HC-Vintage-Book-1924-Chapman_W0QQitemZ120045689231QQihZ002QQcategoryZ29223QQcmdZViewItem
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2009 on What comes around goes around at No Impact Man
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Living in Montana at 3,000 feet elevation presents a challenge to gardeners who want heat sensitive produce to mature in a reasonable time frame. During May and most of June the ground is still soaking up heat so heat sensitive plants such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and melons don't grow much until July. I think I've solved the problem by using large, bottomless pots. I cut the bottom off and reattach with L-shaped metal brackets and a few very short screws. When danger of frost is past, I remove the bottom and SLIDE the pot into place. These plants are situated over nutrient reservoirs that I create by digging holes about 2 feet in diameter and 2 to 3 feet deep, filling them with a rich mixture of topsoil and organic matter. Since the goal here is to boost the temperature of the soil in the root zone so that the plant can grow faster, the pot itself can be tented with plastic to further heat the soil. At the end of the season, roots can be sliced, the bottom replaced, and pots containing peppers and tomatoes can be brought back inside to extend the harvest window - some pruning of the plants required. The Huskey variety of cherry tomato works well for this.
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The genetic variability that predisposes people to thrive on various configurations of macronutrient intake probably cannot produce any sort of adaptation effect (natural selection), as far as modern foods are concerned, because most food induced chronic conditions that cause early death are not fatal until well after reproductive maturity. This holds true despite the fact that the biological potency of the modern diet may be near its lowest ebb in recorded history.
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Watched the Walt Disney version of Big Red a few nights ago. Discussing the importance of education, the rich man asked Rene, the orphan boy, "Don't you want to be successful?" Rene wondered what the rich man meant by success. Rich man continued, " Well, don't you want to be able make lots of money." Rene responded, "It's good to make money. But, most of all, I want to be useful. That is the first thing." A Pause. "Yes," the man replied, "That IS the first thing."
Toggle Commented Apr 9, 2009 on True freedom at No Impact Man
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Glad to move on, Richard, after you answer my question. Did you read this essay? http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/NCBQ3_3HarrisCalvert.pdf I don't claim to be super intelligent but I do study a lot; mostly nutrition literature at this juncture. The above essay is about the origin of life rather than evolution. Scientifically, we often observe the adaptation and natural selection that result from random gene expression which may or may not be modulated by environmental factors. In the plant and animal kingdoms, random gene expression enables varieties of species to adapt to environmental changes or colonize new environments or simply change for no apparent reason. Changes in physical form and biological function can be observed when plants or animals get introduced into novel environments. These changes are termed dauermodifications, a form of cytoplasmic inheritance evolutionists tend to ignore. (Google: Race and Human Evolution: A Fatal Attraction or Dauermodifications for further discussion) I've read hundreds of nutrition books of all sorts. I am so weary of the speculation regarding our supposed adaptation to one form of diet or another. The fact is, the human species is highly variable physiologically and biochemically. Consequently, both the micro nutrient and macro nutrient mixes ingested must be both appropriate and adequate for a person to enjoy sound health or for an organism to thrive in its environment. This is a great blog and I've been following it for several weeks. I urge you readers, who are truly serious about understanding how nourishment works, to read "Biochemical Individuality" by Roger J. Williams, PhD and "Food for Nought" by Ross Hume Hall, PhD. I'm not saying these authors never brought evolution into the picture. Almost everyone assumes it happened. The books are just well worth reading in terms of their analysis of the impact of industrialization on human health.
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Richard, have you got any solid data to back that assertion or you just guessing?
Toggle Commented Mar 3, 2009 on The Worst Thing About eBooks at Free the Animal
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Did you read the essay, Richard?
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It's a shame so many otherwise good scientists have it in for saturated fat. It's their training I suspect.
Toggle Commented Mar 3, 2009 on The Worst Thing About eBooks at Free the Animal
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Then again, maybe we were created with "a big, brain-filled skull and a narrow pelvis and rib cage." Check out this essay: http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/NCBQ3_3HarrisCalvert.pdf Dave Brown Nutrition Education Project
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