February 10, 2006


Ten Reasons to Keep Eating Healthy Foods Despite Today’s Headlines (Henry Abbott, 2/09/06, Disease Proof)

Today's newspapers are blaring with crazy headlines. The New York Times, for instance, says that a "Low-Fat Diet Does Not Cut Health Risks, Study Finds."

Dr. Fuhrman draws no such conclusions. “This study compared to groups that both ate unhealthy diets," he says. "Look closely and you will see that the researchers compared a typical, disease-causing American diet, with one that was just marginally better, but still terribly unhealthy.” [...]

Here are ten reasons why it still makes sense to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds...

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 10, 2006 4:38 PM

Sanctimonious vegetarian: How can you eat animals?
Reply: With barbeque sauce.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 10, 2006 4:51 PM

Here they come, fat boy.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 10, 2006 5:07 PM

If He didn't want us to eat them, then why are they made out of beef? He coulda used tofu.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at February 10, 2006 5:08 PM

How do you want your heart disease? Cause that comes with barbecue sauce, too.

Read the article: the only animal this is about saving is you.

Posted by: Henry Abbott at February 10, 2006 5:11 PM

Every vegitarian i have ever known has gotten very sick, most of them with fatal diseases.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 10, 2006 5:15 PM

vegetarians are so damn anti-social. if you eat at their house it has to be their way. if they eat at your house, it has to be their way. it is a profoundly irrational decision, bordering on mental illness. and it cuts you off from one of the primal pleasures in life.

Posted by: toe at February 10, 2006 5:19 PM

Wait just a cotton-pickin' minute. Weren't you saying just a couple of posts down from here how much you adore government regulation of food? In the sort of Nader-esque system that you endorsed (at least in the post below) the government would outlaw eating beef because it's bad for you. Now, you're crowing about how God awmighty has ordained us to eat beef?! What gives? Sounds to me like you're flip-flopping. I'll admit that I've had a couple of belts since I got home so maybe I'm just unable to follow your Spock-like chain of logic. Please, please educate my dumb tucchus.

Posted by: Bryan at February 10, 2006 5:20 PM


Ralph Nader didn't ban smoking, we did. You think you can get a majority for banning beef? Try.

We regulate food safety in plenty of ways. I don't have much trouble abiding by the regulations.

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2006 5:25 PM

Fruits and vegetables are great. Especially in the form of distilled spirits.

BTW, I know it violates Godwin's to ask, but wasn't Hitler a vegatarian? :)

Posted by: jdkelly at February 10, 2006 5:53 PM

I originally had "humorless" instead of "sanctimonious". Should've left it alone.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 10, 2006 5:55 PM

Oops, Had a few belts myself. Should be Godwin's law and vegetarian.

Posted by: jdkelly at February 10, 2006 5:58 PM

Here's my question: why are so many vegetarians pudgy?

Except for the vegans. They all look consumptive.

And Raoul, "sanctimonious" is exactly the right word. It's not a dietary choice it's a religion, this worship of the "health food".

Posted by: H.D. Miller at February 10, 2006 6:03 PM

Raoul, I'm not a vegetarian. I eat meat, and I like it. We have a big barbecue in our backyard every summer, and most of the people come for the ribs.

And the doctor we quote there is OK with people eating meat in limited quantities.

But don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

This isn't about a social agenda. It's about respected studies by top medical researchers showing that if you eat every piece of roadkill and junk food that comes down the pike, you will increase your likelihood of getting nasty health problems like diabetes, heart attacks, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. A diet heavy in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes changes the picture. Simple as that.

A little learning about this kind of stuff wouldn't kill you.

Posted by: Henry Abbott at February 10, 2006 6:20 PM

From my perusals of the literature, and personal experience experimenting with various diets, Mr. Abbott may go overboard with the 80-90% fruit & vegetables prescription -- 50% fruit & vegetables with 50% meat and fish would be as good or better -- but he's basically right that fruits and vegetables are very good and have basically no downside, while most carbohydrates, sugars, and some fats are harmful.

Posted by: pj at February 10, 2006 6:30 PM

pj, you're right. A good diet is just common sense, but H.D Miller is also right. We're dealing with a religion, not science.

Posted by: jdkelly at February 10, 2006 6:43 PM

jd - It's not clear how far "common sense" takes one, because experts and doctors have given radically varying prescriptions on weak evidence for fifty years now, as the controversy over low-fat diets illustrates. H.D. has a good point that pure vegan diets are usually unhealthy, as they miss the nutrients which occur only in meat and fish (vitamin B12 is the most notable one, but there are many others).

The essential insight seems to be one that diseaseproof.com states, namely that you want a high nutrient density (i.e. a high ratio of various micronutrients to calories). Thus foods that lack nutrients and are digested quickly to sugars, like sugar, bread, pasta, and refined cereals, should be avoided. Adding to that the principles that variety is good, and rancid fats (such as are present in many pre-prepared foods) are bad, will take you a long way.

Posted by: pj at February 10, 2006 6:56 PM

pj, not arguing with you. Science has heped greatly in determining what constitutes a better diet. We should study and learn, but at some point this stuff gets beyond the knowable and into the the realm of faith. That's all I meant.

Posted by: jdkelly at February 10, 2006 7:54 PM

Yes, I'm quite aware that one should maintain a "proper diet". Except that what is or isn't a "proper diet" changes weekly, and sometimes completely contradicts last week's "proper diet." I'm aware that some things are probably always in the "not good" category, especially if eaten to excess. Quite simply, the whole field of nutrition, like psychiatry, is too riddled by quacks and pseudo-science to not be treated skeptically, which is why generic "moderation in all things", is probably the best advice.

Vegans, vegetarians, ovo-lacto, "clean", "organic", "health nuts", or whatever they call themselves, they are usally members of the superclass "food prude:" People who, in general, are excessively concerned with not only their own diets, but other people's diets. And given the opportunity, just like any other prude, they'll do what they can get away with to impose their beliefs through legislation.

And considering that the "food prudes" I've known often have had no problems with enthusiastically engaging in other unhealthy and even self-destructive "lifestyle choices", I no longer see any reason to listen to anyone proselytizing about how their latest diet will allow them to live forever, or cure everything that ails me.

(I kinda side with the Darwinists: our ancestors were omnivorous scroungers with a taste for garbage, sometimes well aged. We evolved eating junk food of a sort, and thus have a fairly strong ability to survive no matter what we dump down our gullets.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 10, 2006 8:42 PM

Raoul, Say what you really think, Good night! I thnk you agree with me :).

Posted by: jdkelly at February 10, 2006 10:45 PM