April 4th, 2011
By Alex Boersma
For the better part of 2008, I carried around what would become to me the slowest yet most important read of a lifetime. From the outside, Gary Taubes’ groundbreaking “Good Calories Bad Calories“ did not appear particularly intimidating. Sure it was almost 500 pages long. Sure it was written in the finest print legible to the human eye. Sure it had about 50 pages of references…also in that barely legible fine print. But it was just another book about health and nutrition. I already knew a lot about health and nutrition! Didn’t I?
As it turns out, there was so much controversial research exposed in this book that, between checking references and trying to figure out how all this new information would fit into my own theoretical paradigms, I was only able to read about 3 pages per day. My 8 year old boy, who’s reading skills at the time were less than exemplary, was managing to read entire books in the time it took me to read a dozen pages. In his new book, Taubes admits that “the book (GCBC) demands that the reader devote considerable time and attention to following the evidence and the arguments” Understatement of the year?
When I was finally able to retire my dog-eared copy, I had only one regret. I could not fathom how ever to recommend this bible of nutritional irreverence to anybody who didn’t have both a sound understanding of basic nutritional science and a pathological interest in the nitty gritty details.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one.
This book is only 225 pages long.
And you don’t need a magnifying glass to read the print!
The new book, “Why We Get Fat…And What To Do About It” is by no means as comprehensive as GCBC. Gone are the scintillating historical conspiracies illustrating the rocky scientific foundations upon which our misinformed nutritional consciousness has been formulated. Gone are the detailed trails of evidence refuting much of what we believe to be true about health and nutrition. Gone are the withering critiques of the individuals and institutions responsible for leading us down this garden path of deception. Read the rest of this entry »
January 23rd, 2011
by Alex Boersma
“Red-meat consumption linked to increased stroke risk“
December 30, 2010 | Medscape
“Eating lots of red meat ups women’s stroke risk
Dr. Oz website headline
“Eating Lots of Red Meat Increases Women’s Stroke Risk“
HOLD THE PHONES. I CAN HEAR THEM RINGING ALREADY:
“Alex, you told me it was OK to eat red meat! Now look what you’ve done! I think I’m having a stroke!”
Just kidding, actually. Most of the friends and clients who I give nutritional advice to are a little more media savvy than those for whom these kinds of headlines are designed. Besides, they rarely follow my “crazy” advice anyway. Still, it gets under my craw. I can’t figure out who’s worse; the journalists who are spreading this nonsense or the scientists who are providing it. Read the rest of this entry »
January 15th, 2011
by Alex Boersma
The Canada Food Guide says that you should eat 8 servings of grains per day, with half of those servings coming from whole grains. What does that look like? A bowl of cheerios for breakfast. A bran muffin for a snack with your coffee. 2 slices of bread for your sandwich at lunch. And a cup of pasta at dinner time. If you do this every day, you should then be well protected from the ravages of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and anything else associated with carrying around a bowel full of hardened feces. So they say!
September 18th, 2010
In Part I we discussed the many reasons why conventional wisdom about heart disease is leading us astray. The single minded emphasis on LDL cholesterol and saturated fat was found wanting. In Part II we examined a number of factors which modern science has proven are much more strongly related to heart disease than either LDL or saturated fat. Unfortunately, conventional wisdom has not kept apace of this science, therefore most doctors and dietitians fail to recognize the significance of these more prevalent risk factors. In this segment, we will discuss how you can adjust your lifestyle and diet to control these risk factors. In so doing, you will be capable both of preventing and/or reversing heart disease. Read the rest of this entry »
August 16th, 2010
by Alex Boersma
In Part I of this series we dispelled some of the mythology promoted by conventional wisdom on heart disease. We learned that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat are, at best, only weakly associated with cardiovascular events. We learned that this weak association is decidedly distinct from any causality. We learned that LDL and total cholesterol levels are not particularly effective in predicting heart attacks. And we learned that statins are not the medical panacea the pharmaceutical companies would have us think they are.
In this installment we will go beyond the short sighted diet-heart hypothesis and examine a number of variables and blood markers which actually do correlate significantly with heart disease. Although there is still much work to be done, science has come a long way in unravelling the complexity of a disease which remains the #1 killer of North Americans – despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on attempting to find a cure. If we can understand a bit of that science, we can take some of the simple steps necessary to make sure we never need a cure. Because, make no mistake about it, for most people, heart disease is entirely preventable. And, at least for me, preventing a disease is always a superior option to attempting to cure it. Read the rest of this entry »
June 15th, 2010
written by Alex Boersma
More than 400 hundred years ago, a bunch of cheese makers in Switzerland noticed that pigs eating left over cheese slop developed more quickly than pigs eating regular pig slop. Thinking that maybe the left over cheese slop might be good for them as well, the cheese makers started drinking it themselves. Sure enough, their health improved to such an extent that they began extolling the virtues of “cheese slop” throughout Europe. And so was born the first wave of popularity for a substance now known as whey protein. Read the rest of this entry »
April 19th, 2010
written by Alex Boersma
“YOU WANT ME TO EAT WHAT?”
“What you’re telling me is exactly the opposite of what my doctor told me.”
“WON’T THAT MAKE MY CHOLESTEROL GO UP?“
Those are often the kinds of things people say to me when I start giving them dietary advice. Sometimes they say it with a sparkle of enthusiasm, recognizing that perhaps the medical establishment is not as omniscient as it makes itself out to be. Sometimes they say it with a hesitant tone, as if they are for the first time experiencing some doubt about the conventional wisdom on dietary health. But mostly they say it with a conciliatory tone, obviously unwilling to accept that the pearls of dietary wisdom they get from their health care professionals could possibly be wrong. Read the rest of this entry »
March 8th, 2010
Caution foods are all foods that are inherently fairly healthy, but for one reason or another, cannot be consumed indiscriminately. For the most part, they are relatively new to our evolutionary history…they are primarily the products of the agricultural revolution which began about 10, 000 years ago. If we were able to travel back 20, 000 years in time, very few of the caution foods would be found on the plates of our ancestors.
Keep reading the “A better guide to food – part II” post…
March 7th, 2010
written by Alex Boersma
Danger foods are quite simply not good for you. With the exception of sugar, they are all products of the modern food processing industry. Most of them barely qualify as food. All of them are involved in most of the diseases of ageing, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s.
Keep reading the “A Better Guide To Food – part III” post…