How did you learn about nutrition? Did it just sort of happen? Did your mother tell you not to put too much salt on your food? Did dad tell you that you will get holes in your teeth if you have too much sugar? Probably. Did you see food packaging proclaiming “low cholesterol” and “low fat” or “healthy whole grains” in the supermarket? Did you see magazine articles claiming that meat can cause cancer? Probably.
In the history of nutrition people have been eating meat for multiple thousands of years. Isotope testing of excavated bones has shown that meat was the bulk of the diet for many early groups and still is for some traditional groups of people. Why is it just now that we are being advised to avoid it? Strange! Why does Hong Kong, the country with the highest meat consumption per person in the world also have the longest life expectancy. Who knew?
How is it that we are told vegetable oils, which do not come from vegetables but from seeds, are healthy. They have only been around for about 100 years, since we had the technology to extract them, and coincides with a period of increasingly serious poor health, obesity, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, macular degeneration, etc? In actual fact the growth in seed oil consumption closely matches the increase in these diseases. Coincidence?
Why is it that farmers feed grains and skim milk to animals to fatten them up but we are told that grains and skim milk are good food for humans trying to lose weight? Puzzling.
Why is it that the only animals that get fat are pets where humans manage their food?
Why is it that a 2009-2016 survey of the health of Americans, found that only 12.2% were metabolically healthy and that for people over 65 only 5% were healthy. All the others had some indication of metabolic syndrome? Alarming!
Why is it that more than half the people admitted to hospital following a heart attack have lower than average cholesterol? Why do older people with higher cholesterol live longest?
Type-2 diabetes used to be called “adult onset diabetes” but now-a-days more and more young people are showing up with this devastating condition. Very puzzling indeed.
From 1966-1973 a study was conducted on 458 men with Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) where half were given vegetable oils in place of saturated fat (lard, butter, etc). Their objective was “To evaluate the effectiveness of replacing saturated fat (SFA) with omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) for the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) and death”. The intervention group (211 men) replaced saturated fat with safflower oil and safflower oil polyunsaturated margarine. The control group continued their habitual diet. What was the outcome after 7 years? The group who had the safflower vegetable oil based food had increased all-cause, cardio vascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality. Why were the results of this critical and well managed trial withheld from publication for 40 years?
How many extra people have died from CHD and CVD because these results were not published? Who gains from this evil? Why is this not well known today? Why do many people believe that vegetable oils are healthy? Astonishing!
Why is it that “macular degeneration” a serious eye disease leading to early blindness, was so rare that it was not mentioned in 1900’s eye specialist training textbooks whereas today it affects nearly 1 in 3 people?
Why is it that traditional groups like the Pima Indians, the Australian Aborigines, the Inuit, the Masai, and Mongolians have dramatic reductions in their health when they switch from their traditional diet to a “western” type diet based on refined grains, flour, sugar, and vegetable oils.
Do all these questions have the same answer? Our genetics take thousands of years to change so unlikely they have changed. We do have more pollution and there are more sprays on food. Perhaps the most likely answer is that our diet has changed.
We have ultra-processed food. We have seed oils. We have lots of sugar. Our food is much more refined. We have very high levels of carbohydrates in our diet. There is a saying: humans are the only species smart enough to design our own food and stupid enough to eat it.
Seek professional medical advice before making dietary changes, particularly if you are diabetic or on medication. Contact me if you have questions. Good health, George Elder, Dip. Nutrition.