“Healthy” Eating and Other Myths

I love when commonsense news that I always espouse hits the media. You people who have listened to me regularly for 23 years know this. All this gobbledygook about nutrition and exercise, I’ve always pooh-poohed it, and I’ve always laughed at it and the Center for Science in the Public Interest and all this healthy Nazi eating lifestyle, all that rotgut. Over the course of the years, the SUV is gonna kill us, that kind of stuff, it just offends my sensibilities, it’s an insult to my intelligence, and it’s always amused me. It doesn’t surprise me because I know a lot of people are sheep, but it’s always amused me. Somewhere, somebody in the media will say, “If you have five oranges a week and three carrots and two peas and so forth you will not get cancer as readily as if somebody who doesn’t.” There’s always this stuff. It’s either oat bran this, or oat bran, no, no, no, or coffee caffeinated, decaffeinated, you gotta be careful, you can’t eat that, you can’t drink that, you better make sure you have lots of that but don’t have any of this. People treat this stuff as gospel and before it’s over they’re swallowing five bottles of vitamins every day, and they’re taking laxatives three times day, and they’re doing all this because they’ve heard it in the media from some so-called scientific authority.

And once again we turn to the UK, this time the Daily Mail: “This Cynical Five-a-Day Myth: Nutrition Expert Claims We’ve All Been Duped.” Here’s the summary of the story. A study of over 300,000 people indicates that eating fruit and vegetables will not keep us alive for much longer than we would have lived if we had eaten what we wanted. All these years we’ve been slogging through eating massive amounts of vegetables, trying to smile though our taste buds were breaking, wasted time, wasted effort, bamboozled. This story points out that we need fat, we need animal food in order to stay healthy, and that’s how we get the vitamins and minerals that we need.

“With great fanfare, it was reported last week that the current health advice about eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is outdated, and that scientists now believe that eight portions is more beneficial.” And with no more than that, people will believe it because it shows up in the media. And scientists wouldn’t lie about this, why would they anyway? Jack LaLanne was a vegetarian, look what happened to him? He died. Jack LaLanne was a vegetarian exercise freak and look what happened to him. He passed away. It’s amazing, isn’t it? “While many people grumbled about how on earth they would manage those extra portions, I allowed myself a wry smile.” This is Zoe Harcombe writing. “For more than two years I’ve known that the ‘five-a-day’ mantra we’re all so familiar with is nothing but a fairytale. Of course, they are tasty, colorful additions to any meal. But in terms of health and nutrition, fruit and veg have little to offer, and telling us to eat eight portions a day is compounding one of the worst health fallacies in recent history.

“Surprised? Many people will be, and no doubt some dieticians and nutritionists will reject my arguments. But science backs me up. The latest findings come from a European study into diet and health looking at 300,000 people in eight countries. It found that people who ate eight or more portions of fresh food a day had a 22 per cent lower chance of dying from heart disease. Yet just 1,636 participants died during the study from heart disease, which is about half of one per cent. Out of that very small proportion, fewer people died from the group that ate more fruit and veg. However, the researchers cautioned that these people may have healthier lifestyles generally. They may be less likely to smoke; they may eat less processed food; they may be more active. What we should not do is to make the usual bad science leap from association to causation and say ‘eating more fruit and veg lowers the risk of dying from heart disease.'” If you want to believe it nothing’s gonna talk you out of it. And that’s fine, if you want to believe it, go right ahead. Just remember Jack LaLanne. But feel free, just keep it to yourself.



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