Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much aka Bring da Motherfucking Ruckus

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Jin+Guice
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Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much aka Bring da Motherfucking Ruckus

Post by Jin+Guice » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:30 pm

"Eat food, mostly plants, not too much" the famed Michael Pollan quote has been debated previously on this forum. I just finished reading the entire "What do you Eat for Weight Loss" thread which challenged my previous beliefs and have some questions.

First let's break the quote down:

1) Eat Food: This means don't eat processed food. Pollan says something like don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize.
This point is agreed upon by everyone? Maybe some conflict at the margin for foods that are processed but your grandmother would recognize (butter, bread, cheese etc...).

2) Mostly Plants: Eat a largely vegetarian diet. Strict vegetarianism/ veganism is allowed but not necessary. This is a point of contention.

3) Not Too Much: aka CICO. Also a point of disagreement.

I hope my summary of Pollan's thesis is not contentious, otherwise my questions will be harder to answer.

I received very poor nutritional advice in school and from my parents. I have tried for years to find the correct nutritional advice but there seems to be no consensus. Food lobbying, the USDAs conflict of interest, and the difficulty of nutrition studies are all contributing factors.

After years of searching I found the triumvirate of Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle and Dr. Aarron Carroll. I thought I'd FINALLY made some progress. I was already a vegetarian and am a blue team devotee so these 3 were very appealing. Briefly, Michael Pollan is a food journalist, activist and journalism professor, Marion Nestle is the head of the NYU department of Nutrition and Dr. Aaron Carroll is a pediatrician and host of "healthcare triage" on youtube.

I found Pollan first, while I liked what he had to say I was skeptical since he's a journalist. I found Nestle next, she is an academic who has devoted her career to informing the public about nutrition and fighting food lobbyists. She is an admitted fan of Pollan and may work with him. I found Dr. Carroll last and, to my knowledge, he has no connection to either, but largely agrees with Nestle. Nestle and Carroll both seem dedicated to academic rigor, they always site studies when discussing issues and attempt to clearly disclose flaws in methodology and conflicts of interest both personally and in studies referenced. They admit when they don't know something, when the best research is not conclusive and to what degree scientific research agrees or disagrees on a topic. To my knowledge they have no industry allegiances or sponsors. This clears all of my bullshit detectors.

Carroll and Nestle both support CICO as THE gold standard for weight loss. Both agree that the best diet is the "one you can stick to" and have expressed explicitly that diets work due to calorie restriction. Both have stated that low-carb diets are no more effective than any other dieting method. Nestle has explicitly backed the Pollan quote as the best succinct summary of current nutrition research.

Questions:

1) Agree or disagree that the quote provides useful advice? Why?
2) If you think that Carroll and Nestle are providing inaccurate or incomplete advice what are there motivations for doing so?
3) Where/ how do you personally derive your nutrition/ diet/ eating beliefs?


Edited from a previous post that was overly inflammatory and didn't accurately reflect my line of inquiry.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much aka Bring da Motherfucking Ruckus

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:35 pm

Well, before I jump into this fray once more, I will state or restate my personal biases which are:

1) I loved Michael Pollan years before everybody else loved him, way back when he was just a garden essayist and not yet renowned for his works on the topic of human diet. I am also an avid gardener who will never not eat fruit or potatoes or whatever else I choose to grow or scavenge from the 'wilderness"myself.

2) I am advanced middle-aged (53) and overweight (don't ask-won't tell) and I love pastry, but I possess none of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome because my butt is currently almost 14 inches wider around than my waist. So, my primary motivation for weight-loss is the video one of my lovers took of me riding away from him on a bicycle (don't ask-won't share.) For better or worse, this strand of motivation is also somewhat squashed by my use of the phrase "one of my lovers."

3) Several of the first writers on the topic of frugality I read many years ago scoffed at the notion of spending much extra money on food towards greater nutrition or weight loss. I can't remember if it was Amy Dacyzyn or somebody similar who actually suggested buying generic multi-vitamins and metamucil at the dollar store rather than wasting money on fancy boutique fresh produce. Also, the contrarian in me enjoyed "Fat Head" ,the response film to "Super Size Me." So, I also tend towards a Freegan Scavenger philosophy. Instead of No Fat! No Meat! No Carbs! maybe try limiting your food budget to 50 cents/day. Okay, maybe Day 1, you will eat half a bag of Dollar Store sandwich cookies, but that will get old pretty quick, and pretty soon you'll be craving some lentils cooked with a 1/8 of the meat scraped off of a Red Sticker Clearance ham bone topped with a dash of vinegar.


Humans have to eat processed food, because our digestive systems evolved in alignment with our use of fire and tools. We have to cook, ferment, filter or pulverize food in order to get enough nutrition from it as it makes its way through our relatively short digestive tract. We also benefit from eating small or reasonable amounts of food that could be harmful or even poisonous if eaten in large amounts. For instance, I once became quite ill by eating most of my calories from raw almonds for a week or so. It is likely that the reason why fresh fruits and vegetables are anti-carcinogenic is that they are slightly toxic, kind of like constant low-level chemotherapy if you eat enough of them. If you eat too many, especially in somewhat unripe state, then you will also suffer from side-effects that are common during chemotherapy. Finally, if all humans started eating only fresh food that had not been processed or preserved in any way, a huge percentage of us would starve. The current human population is absolutely dependent upon a large proportion of our foodstuffs being processed to the extent it can be safely stored away from other creatures, including microscopic pathogens, that would like to eat it first. Very few of us have the luxury of thinking otherwise.

sky
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Re: Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much aka Bring da Motherfucking Ruckus

Post by sky » Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:54 pm

I follow Dr Greger and nutritionfacts.org.

I would like to go 100% plant based but I am a backslider and like a good burger now and then. I am about 75% veggie.

I have never heard of Pollan, Carrol or Nestle.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much aka Bring da Motherfucking Ruckus

Post by ThisDinosaur » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:02 am

The only 100% carnivorous living primates are Tarsiers, and they only eat insects. Primates coevolved with fruiting trees and we've been using fruit and nuts as staples for ~60 million years. So, I think Pollan's quote is good advice.

By far the largest nutritional problem for affluent 21st century humans is the overavailability of Calories. If bodyweight or bodyfat loss is your goal, then calorie reduction is more important than where you get those calories. And the diet that works for you ("the one you stick to") is very individual. Most popular diet gurus are majoring in the minors.

Also
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:35 pm
It is likely that the reason why fresh fruits and vegetables are anti-carcinogenic is that they are slightly toxic, kind of like constant low-level chemotherapy if you eat enough of them. If you eat too many, especially in somewhat unripe state, then you will also suffer from side-effects that are common during chemotherapy.
I agree with this. It's called Hormesis, for anyone interested in reading more about it. And it's a more nuanced view of the world than you get in most diet debates, where some foods are "pure" and others are "forbidden."

EdithKeeler
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Re: Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much aka Bring da Motherfucking Ruckus

Post by EdithKeeler » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:10 am

My goal is to eat like my grandparents who both lived into their 90’s. Mostly I think I do—relatively simple food, lots of veggies, but meat, too. I know I eat more seafood than they did, and I probably eat less sugar (now) than they did.

All of that said, they key differences in our food lives are that they raised all their food on their own—grew their own veggies, in earlier years raised their own beef, pork and chickens which were completely free range before it was called “free range”—it was just “livestock.”

And the biggest difference is that they led VERY physical lives raising that food and working other physical jobs as well, moving their bodies all day long, mostly outside, not sitting on their asses all day under florescent lights, staring at a screen doing stressful mental work. They also had a very strong network of friends and family. They went to bed early and slept 8 hours a night.

While I believe the food they/we ate/eat is very important, I’ve come to believe the rest of it is equally key, or maybe even more important. I think it’s important to cut sugar and chemicals and eat lots of
veggies, but nuances within that (low fat/no fat/high fat/vegetarian/Keto, etc) are probably less important. And almost meaningless if you don’t have the other stuff.

IlliniDave
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Re: Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much aka Bring da Motherfucking Ruckus

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:42 am

Unfortunately CICO ignores the reality that it is a chemistry process guided by hormones that is at work (else wood and coal would be great sources of energy for the body), and for many of us that is a critical consideration. So the type of calorie is very important. People have differing considerations when it comes to how best to arrange their caloric intake, and differing goals wrt how their bodies function and appear. So there's no one size fits all. I think one thing that about every school of thought agrees to is that factory processed foods are less desirable than whole foods. In terms of how to arrange the relative weighting of protein, carbohydrates, and fats; and how best to arrange intake of micronutrients, it's best to take a first principles approach to the n=1 experiment of ourselves and pay attention to the effects of what we eat on our own well-being. I'm highly skeptical of what's passed off as the establishment consensus for nutritional guidance.

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