Saturday, September 01, 2018

Eat Steak and Live Longer

August 30, 2018

Image result for steak
[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

I tend to take news stories about nutritional science with a grain of salt, because it all tends to be a lot of baloney. When some nerds in lab coats start showing off and hotdogging, dollars to donuts you'll find out they're bananas. Just let me eat what I want and stop chewing me out. If I want a steak, don't have a cow.

But it's different, of course, if the news story about nutritional science confirms my previously held beliefs! David K. Li, NY Post:
Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, found that people who scarf down higher levels of red meat and cheese are likely to live longer.
People who had three portions of dairy and 120 grams of unprocessed red meat per day benefited the most, the research team found...
Those eating the most dairy and red meat saw their chances of early death fall by 25 percent and fatal heart attack decreased by 22 percent, according to the researchers, who in their methodology accounted for differences in wealth and education, as well as other health habits.
Huh. So... some scientists did some research, and it contradicted the crap we've been told by some other scientists? I thought the science was settled!

This stuff always makes me think of that scene from Woody Allen's 1973 classic Sleeper:

I'm no scientist, but I do know that when I started adjusting my dietary habits a few years ago, I started feeling a lot better. I quit eating stuff everybody was telling me I should eat, and my health started improving. The more I've ignored the USDA food pyramid, the less my body looks like the USDA food pyramid.

After reading books like Wheat Belly and The Primal Blueprint, and starting an exercise program using a heart monitor and tracking software, over the past few years I've gone from "disgustingly fat" to "slightly less disgustingly fat." I'm not ready to start a second career as an underwear model just yet, but at least I've stopped tearing them in half whenever I sit down. I'm now able to fit into pants I wore when Bush was president. The first Bush. I've put aside everything I've been taught about food my whole life, and now I'm more physically capable than I've been in years.

Sorry, scientists!

Last week, another big brain made headlines for another bold health claim. Ian Sample, The Guardian:
Karin Michels, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan school of public health, poured scorn on the superfood movement and singled out the fad for coconut oil in particular, calling the substance “one of the worst things you can eat” that was as good for wellbeing as “pure poison”.
Now, I'm skeptical about a lot of the health claims people are making about coconut oil these days. I really don't think it's some miracle cure. But I've been using it, and I really like it, and I feel great. If I'm poisoning myself by drinking bulletproof coffee every morning instead of shoving a bunch of grains in my face, that's fine by me. I have lots more energy and I think more clearly, and I'm not hungry all the time, and I don't have to buy new pants every six months. If that's "pure poison," I'll take it.

Just look at the family photos of your grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents when they were young. Their diet consisted of eggs and milk and meat and all that stuff we've been scared away from our whole lives, and they were lean and rangy. They ate real food, and they didn't get real fat. (Well, except for Uncle Gary. Must've been all that peanut brittle.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat some red meat and cheese, and then wash it down with a nice tall glass of whole milk. Don't worry, I've left plenty of wheat and soy and other delicious goodies for the rest of you!

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