Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's wrong with the government? - a Nutrition approach

In this Article from JAMA - August 11, 2010 the limitations of our current understanding about food and nutrition (as promoted by nutritionists and dieticians) are emphasized.  I thought I'd add my two cents:

My major criticisms of the government's food recommendations are: 1) They are too influenced by industries (dairy industry and General Mills, specifically), 2) They perpetuate false ideas such as "low-fat is good for you", 3) They fail to acknowledge a "gold standard" for nutrition focusing instead on how much of certain nutrients will "prevent disease" (scurvy, rickets, beri-beri, etc), leading to criticism #4) The current guidelines are severely deficient in whole vegetables and fruits and allow for ignorant substitutions (like fruit juice to count the same as a whole fruit).

This brings me to the largest of all my criticisms which is the focus of the attached article: Nutritionists and dieticians have chosen to focus on nutrients rather than whole, quality foods. This approach has helped push the US to the current levels of diseases we suffer from in the US - Heart Disease, Cancer,  obesity, depression, and especially Diabetes plus more.

Here is my "best of" from this great article:

"The proportion of total energy from fat appears largely unrelated to risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or obesity"

"Countless highly processed products are now marketed in which refined carbohydrate replaces fat, providing an aura of healthiness but without actual health benefits."

"Despite its initial appeal, attempts to extend the nutrient deficiency–based approach for prevention of chronic diseases have been problematic. The RDAs are methodologically and conceptually inappropriate for this purpose..."

"Saturated fat...has little relation to heart disease within most prevailing dietary patterns."

"Typical recommendations to consume at least half of total energy as carbohydrate, a nutrient for which humans have no absolute requirement, conflate foods with widely divergent physiologic effects (eg, brown rice, white bread, apples)."

"...little of the information found on food labels’ 'nutrition facts' panels provides useful guidance for selecting healthier foods to prevent chronic disease." 

Steve's comment: EAT FOODS NOT NUTRIENTS!!! But the industries REALLY don't like when the government gives advice to eat apples and carrots and avoid their processed junk that parades as health food!

A fantastic book you should read (or listen to) to get a good understanding of the inadequacies of a nutrient-based approach is In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's that time of year again...

It is that time of year again when the government and all the local drug marts are out in force trying to get everyone to take a flu shot ("jab" as they like to call it in the UK).

I was visiting the CDC's website yesterday to see if their knowledge and recommendations concerning flu and the immune system have caught up to the current research.  I wasn't surprised to see that they haven't.

The governement/CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) make recommendations for the population of the United States based on the "best evidence" they have.  This is scary as you'll see below, but not scary enough to get me to take the jab.

They use figures like 36,000 deaths annually to scare people into getting the flu shot without clarifying that the vast majority of these deaths are actually due to pneumonia in the elderly.  But somehow this number is thrown around to scare parents into vaccinating their children (and still no recommendations for keeping the immune system strong naturally).

Let's take a look at the governments recommendations for prevention:

Step #1 - Get a flu shot.  For anyone 6 months and older.  The CDC calls this the "most important" step for preventing flu (I can think of at LEAST 5 things that are MORE important than this unproven step.)

The major criticism I have is they recommend a stab in the arm to inject a foreign substance, yet they make no recommendation for increasing the body's natural ability to defend itself against ALL invaders (but especially flu) by reducing stress, eating proper foods for your body, and maintaining proper movement!  It is clear that sugar decreases your body's ability to defend itself against invaders as does emotional stress.  Not exercising and subluxation also has been shown to increase stress hormone production and weaken the immune system.  Sugar is a major immune system killer and I find it laughable that it's not mentioned as the #1 preventive measure by the Centers of Disease Control and "Prevention".

Is it just me or does this just seem silly?

Next week, we'll take a look at the #2 "Preventive" measure from the trusted government agency, who knows, maybe by next week, they'll get smart and put sugar on the list of things to avoid...not holding my breath.

Yours in Health, Love, and Freedom by boosting immune function naturally

Steve Perry