Diet Simplicity

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steveo73
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Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

Hi Guys - there was a diet topic recently that I found interesting due to the appearance that there was a massive disconnect between nutritional science and people's opinion on diet. This article is fantastic because it's very clear and simple and focuses on the science.

https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health ... 546ff.html
“Frankly, science tells a very clear story and aligns perfectly with sense; as long as you mostly eat whole, minimally processed vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds and mostly drink plain water when you’re thirsty – if you mostly do that you simply can’t go too far wrong,” says Katz, the founding director of Yale University's Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre. “Sense says that, history says that, and all the science says that too.”
“The thing, I think, nutrition books get wrong – and I think they get it wrong on purpose because it’s highly profitable – is the idea that we should be waiting for some great big epiphany about diet that, if only the right study is done, everything we knew until yesterday would be proved wrong and there would be some new answer sprinkled in pixie dust...

“Because we’re willing to be talked into any cockamamie theory about diet there is no shortage of cockamamie theories out there.”
Diets like keto, which promote greater meat intake, are just “silly”, Katz argues, saying “it’s absolutely critical we cut back” for both environmental and human health reasons . Besides, he adds: “We don't know that it's safe, we don’t know people can stay on it and we don’t know if it's good for health over the long-term ... Almost everything important, we don’t know.”

Jin+Guice
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by Jin+Guice »

The war continues! Team green shirt 4 lyfe! It's not as fun without red shirt team leader @brute.

steveo73
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:21 pm
The war continues! Team green shirt 4 lyfe! It's not as fun without red shirt team leader @brute.
It shouldn't be a war though. It should just be these are the facts as we know them. Those facts are also really unlikely to change. You don't have to be a vegan or take on any sort of extreme approach. Admittedly to classify something as an extreme approach there is a subjective element however the point being if you eat a predominantly whole food plant based diet you are good to go. You don't have to be a raw vegan or never eat any animal products.

At the same time if you believe in a low carbohydrate/high animal product diet you should know that this diet is inherently unhealthy.

Honestly to me this is pretty simple and you really should know it.

ertyu
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by ertyu »

"Eat food. Not too much. Most of it plants."

steveo73
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

@bigato - You may be right but I'm not sure. I've definitely tried to lose weight via low carb methods in the past. I've read a couple of books on the topic as well in the past. Somehow I must have fallen onto the right path because the difference in evidence between that low carb stuff and the main body of nutritional science is pretty significant. So my knowledge has improved a lot over the last couple of years.

steveo73
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

ertyu wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 2:30 am
"Eat food. Not too much. Most of it plants."
I reckon if you just stick with this quote you are good.

ertyu
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by ertyu »

Speaking seriously and aside from Michael Polan quotes now, it is my personal opinion that the best eating regime for a person to follow depends on (a) their genetic heritage and (b) their current state of health.

(a) genetic heritage: even if people migrated, we used to stay pretty much put when it comes to what grows and thrives where we were. Maize grows better some places, wheat grows better some places, rice grows better some places, some places people were nomadic and relied on dairy much more than elsewhere, some places were cold af and people would stick mostly to fat and concentrated protein. Over time, natural selection would prefer those with constitutions best adapted to the food that was prominent locally. Thus you would find some islanders thrived on tapioca, others on seal blubber, and as long as everyone stuck to "real food" (as opposed to industrial chemistry output), people mostly thrived save for the occasional infectious disease or injury medicine at the time was not able to treat.

Over the last 3-4 generations, we scrambled geographically to a much greater extent than ever, and many people got subjected to foods their constitutions were not suited to (which is how you get "mediterranean diet" folks singing the praises of feta and an equally large number swearing that dairy is the devil).

(*) - yes, industrial chemistry is a complicating factor. Regardless of any other arguments re: nutrition one can make, processed food and fast food is crap. This isn't controversial to any of the "food camps"

(b) current state of health - this mainly wrt the keto/"whole grains"/paleo debate: basically, what works best depends on the extent to which you have already fucked up your system. People who are baseline healthy, don't have problems with insulin sensitivity, and have a healthy microbiome might thrive on a diet of whole foots heavily centered around grains and legumes. Those whose carbohydrate metabolism has been fucked to one extent or another, in contrast, may do much better with styles of eating that limit one's eating window and/or limit carbohydrate to a much greater extent that would be suited to a baseline healthy person. Often, even if an eating style this restrictive may not be advisable over the long haul (years), it might be beneficial as a temporary reset. Personally, I believe intermittent fasting and periods of dietary ketosis (best induced by fasting) are beneficial but secondary to eating quality food. what + how much > when. I am aware that this is opinion and others may disagree.

** - yes, this all also depends on age and gender in ways that have been understudied.

*** - re: being a "carnivore": I'm biased. Dr. Rhonda Patrick is against, Jordan Peterson is for. I am a fanboy in the first case, and an anti-fanboy in the second. I think Jordan Peterson preys on insecure men - he builds popularity and sells books by appealing to "maleness" and masculinity - essentially, he offers an ego fix - and the insistence on meat-based eating is part of that (and look, we also owned the libtards haha). I am aware there are autoimmune conditions that might be a factor in the case of him + daughter, but imo those are not an excuse to recommend an under-studied and potentially dangerous (b/c overly restrictive) eating style to most men. On the other hand, Dr. Patrick can cite the exact pathways in our biochemistry which justify her recommendations. She also keeps in close touch with other scientists who study fasting and nutrition. It really is a no-brainer for me who to go with.

oldbeyond
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by oldbeyond »

I think most diets work because they eliminate a lot of the worst aspects of the "standard diet". "The standard diet" does not mean official nutrition recommendations, as they are followed by very few people, that's more like just another diet. I mean what people actually eat/drink: sugary drinks, ice cream, potato chips, French fries, candy bars, frozen dinners, instant ramen. That's not all that regular people eat of course, but they eat a lot more of it than any diet would recommend, and it is a significant portion of their diet. The diet creators then come up with more or less convoluted theories, narratives that declares some thing (carbohydrates, animal products, anything but beef) as being the source of all evil. People adopt it, eliminate most of the crappy food listed above and thus feel better. They then go crusading online, waging holy war with people who chose another fad. And every couple of years a new one emerges to keep everyone energized.

I think that's what the scientists in the article are trying to communicate - eat "real food". Unprocessed or lightly processed things your grandparents would recognize. The plant foods they list among them, but I would also add eggs, fish and poultry. That section seems a bit unbalanced and tendentious, as the available data does not single out veganism as being obviously better for health reasons.

steveo73
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

@ertyu - the problem with your comments are that there is no science behind it. It's just a hocus pocus theory. Your genetic theory is something that people state to justify why they are different from the approach that nutritional science recommends. The problem is that there is no evidence at all for that theory.

I love Jordan Peterson but he is a psychologist and not a nutritionist. Even if he was a nutritionist his ideas are not backed up by science.

I'll add that genetics do make a difference. If you have great genes you can potentially do whatever you want - eat bad food, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol etc and get away with it. The vast majority of people aren't that lucky.

@ oldbeyond - I think you are sort of correct. I think any movement towards a whole food plant based diet will have health benefits for you. Eggs, fish and poultry though aren't good for you. We know this. There is some good stuff in some of these foods but there is also the bad stuff. Numerous studies have proven eggs aren't good for you. The health effects of eggs have been correlated with smoking cigarettes and this is from highly respected studies such as the Nurses health study. The data doesn't state you have to be vegan but it clearly states that we have to minimize eating animal products. It's not really a debatable topic unless you can come up with something stating that nutritional science is all wrong. That article made a good point though - it's really unlikely (read impossible) that this is going to happen.

I should state that none of this changes the fact that I eat meat and eggs and junk food and I drink beer & wine and smoke pot. I just don't trick myself into calling these foods or behaviors healthy and therefore I try to moderate eating this stuff (and drinking and smoking). I'm not an extremist.

I think if people had the right map in their heads it would just make things so much easier. As per that article we now have this crazy stuff being promoted (ala the carnivore diet) that is clearly unhealthy and dangerous. It doesn't have to be that hard or that extreme. Even little things like meatless Monday (for instance) can push you in the right direction.

daylen
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by daylen »

It is complicated, though. :P

steveo73
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

bigato wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:48 pm
Steveo: I'm glad you are making those points, because it's tiresome. Next thing you know, someone show up saying that science may change their opinion about this and that maybe science is not so correct because complexity or whatever. And then you have to explain how the scientific method works by approximation and how it doesn't do u-turns. The next argument would be something about lobbies and how you can't trust institutions. It goes on and on. Oh man, I wish there was a better approach to dealing with this other than repeating yourself all the time.
It's bizarre.

steveo73
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

daylen wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:18 pm
It is complicated, though. :P
Good comeback. I'm laughing but pulling my hair out at the same time. It's freaken simple.

daylen
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by daylen »

Averages are indeed simple. Otherwise why bother using them to describe the underlying data-set. If the data-set were simple then why not communicate it directly?

Not that I care much about diet (relative to any other arbitrary field of study), but I do detect some inconsistencies in the meaning-making systems here. If psychology can be subjected to averages then it too is simple, right? .. and surely a claim about the average characteristics of autism is not subject to complexity? [These are sarcastic remarks referencing earlier threads designed to highlight the detected inconsistencies]

Averages describe normally distributed data well. Yet, for data to distribute normally there must be a normal observation that can be iterated. In other words, there must be data reporting rules and rules make assumptions. Assumptions that produce results (simple averages) get selected for leading to skewed sampling. Selected results are echoed. Echos polarize the general population. So, average agents have skewed opinions about things being averaged.. or something like that.

No idea where I am going with this or if I even believe any of it.. :lol:

Opinions/beliefs are like works of art to me. Hopefully nice to look at, possibly make some friends with, and potentially earn some cash from. Yet, I have very little confidence in any averages dealing with or derived from humans. I do eat plenty of vegetables, though. :)

tonyedgecombe
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by tonyedgecombe »

steveo73 wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:19 pm
It's bizarre.
It's a little like debating climate change :lol:

steveo73
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

tonyedgecombe wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:19 am
It's a little like debating climate change :lol:
I was thinking how it is similar but different. Climate change suffers from the harbingers of doom. Nutritional science is more about we know this and it's proven. No one knows how climate change will turn out but people are crazy and they cry out that the sky is falling. If you disagree just look at how the world is going nuts over the Corona Virus. Seriously I just went shopping and there was no toilet paper plus most of the canned food was sold out.

Nutritional science is so simple and easy and it's not extreme. It's not about modelling some uncertain future and acting like there is certainty in those predictions.

I think people like extreme.

ertyu
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by ertyu »

steveo73 wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:01 am
Nutritional science is more about we know this and it's proven.
This is not true. We can do our best to conduct studies, but in reliability these studies are second to probably only psychology. There are many, many problems with data collection in nutrition science which make this level of cetrainty-in-appeal-to-science unjustified. I am not arguing for the dismissal of the studies but for recognizing their inherent limitations. Namely:

- you depend on self-reporting, and people are notoriously imprecise when they self-report. Even when they don't deliberately lie to you, they often lie to themselves and remember having eaten much less and much healthier than they did (there was a study comparing self-reporting with pictures people took of their food). People forget snacks, estimate quantities bad, etc. etc.

- nutritional studies are some of the worst offenders when it comes to compliance. When you tell people to eat in a certain way for a certain amount of time, well, we all know how this turns out. The only way to make sure people actually eat what you tell them to eat is to feed it to them, and that is only possible over short time periods.

- You cannot conduct double-blind studies. Also, because of the ethical issues, you cannot tell people, "ok, please eat mcdonalds for a year so we can compare you with this healthy eater here" - the supersize me guy was an outlier for a reason.

- Even if you collect observational data, there are always interactions in the variables. For example, I do well eating meat. Is this because I also exercise? Or is it because of the timing of my meals? The relative sizing of my meals? My "recreational substance" consumption, which I may or may not tell you about? It's notoriously difficult to isolate what causes what. E.g. in the "eggs are bad for you" example - always? in all quantities? in all frequencies of consumption? in all combinations with other foods? under all demands on your organism/pre-existing health conditions? etc etc etc.

These are only some examples. They're not meant to justify an argument along the lines of "well, there's nothing we can know for sure, might as well burn coal; besides humans can't do anything to the planet cause god said in revelations he has a plan." The fact that you should consume food that isn't processed and in moderate amounts and that you should stay away from industrial chemistry masquerading as potato chips and oreo cookies isn't up for debate. But we are limited in the certainty with which we can insist on It'S sCiEnCe!!!!11!! when it comes to nutrition. It isn't science, it's just our best guess. Might take a whole cohort getting heart disease from the trans fats in margarine to figure out that we've guessed wrong.

steveo73
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

@ertyu I agree with you that it is our best guesses or maybe better put best conclusions from the data. I am completely cool with that. I suppose so long as we accept the broad conclusions from the data and the problems within the data-set and there are heaps of problems with it I reckon that is great.

I don't think though any of those limitations are ever going to make butter and bacon health foods plus all the good stuff that is mentioned will always be good for us. I suppose that this is the point. It's not like things are going to go in a complete u-turn or anything like that. I hope that makes sense. We shouldn't be arguing edge cases because that is probably pointless. I should also state that I view a good diet as one that increases your chances of living a long healthy life. If you wanted to get bigger muscles for instance maybe eating a keto diet is ideal. It depends on your focus.

I question when people state they do better on meat. I mean there is some potential truth here but it's not that simple. You feel better on meat is very different to being healthier on meat. I feel better vaporizing marijuana but I don't think it's good for me.

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Bankai
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by Bankai »

ertyu wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:46 am
self-reporting...compliance...double-blind studies... interactions in the variables
All these arguments also apply to studies on tobacco and alcohol. Are you saying that we cannot trust science saying that tobacco is bad?
ertyu wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:46 am
I do well eating meat
No, you 'think' you do well eating meat. Similarly to a smoker thinking they do well smoking... until they don't. For example, every 50g portion of processed meat eaten daily increases your chances of colorectal cancer by 18%. Yet, some people won't get it regardless of how much meat they eat. Does it mean they are doing well, similarly to smokers who never get lung cancer?

As for double-blind studies, it's factually incorrect, there are tons of double-blind studies in nutrition.
ertyu wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:46 am
It isn't science, it's just our best guess.
Again, the same applies to tobacco and alcohol. Yet, processed meat, alcohol and tobacco are all on WHO's list of class 1 carcinogenic agents, among the likes of asbestos or plutonium.

oldbeyond
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by oldbeyond »

Studying nutrition isn't simple as you can't really make interventions in a controlled environment over timescales that are meaningful to study most lifestyle disease - i.e you can't force some people to eat carnivore and some to eat vegan for 50 years and compare results. So you rely on epidemiology to a large extent to find patterns, and you can then possibly figure out the mechanics and do shorter term intervention studies to test your hypotheses. This certainly has it's limitations, and it can be difficult to disentangle single variables (the people who eat the most bacon and the people who eat the most kale have a lot that differs between them apart from that single dietary preference, for example). But when something makes a big difference, like smoking or alcohol, you can detect the signal despite there being a lot of noise. That's also true for some foods (sugary drinks for example, or processed/red meat in relation to colon cancer as Bankai said). But there is quite a difference in the increased cancer risk between smoking and consuming red meat with respect to lung cancer and colon cancer respetively. Whereas the increase in risk seems to be somewhere around 10-30% for red meat, it's around 500-1000% for smoking. That is quite a difference, so I don't find it hard to understand that people treat them differently.

And colon cancer is a rare instance where you see a clear increase in risk from consuming an animal product. This these are WHO:s conclusions, just to name an example: https://www.who.int/nutrition/publicati ... h_nut6.pdf

It isn't obvious that you should go vegan to save your health. Do not smoke, do not drink to much, exercise, avoid junk food, avoid being overweight, eat your fruits and veggies. Those are the big things the scientific community agrees on. They are also what your grandmother always told you.

steveo73
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Re: Diet Simplicity

Post by steveo73 »

oldbeyond wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:33 pm
It isn't obvious that you should go vegan to save your health. Do not smoke, do not drink to much, exercise, avoid junk food, avoid being overweight, eat your fruits and veggies. Those are the big things the scientific community agrees on. They are also what your grandmother always told you.
This is the whole point though. The big things appear to be a done deal. Eat predominantly a whole food plant based diet - fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds etc. If you eat some meat (but not a lot) so be it.

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