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Eat, Drink and Be Merry Or why we should learn to stop worrying and love food
Scientific American ^ | January 14, 2007 | Michael Shermer

Posted on 02/09/2007 7:27:49 AM PST by Leisler

Among athletes who obsess about their weight, we cyclists are second to none. Training rides are filled with conversations about weight lost or gained and the latest diet regimens and food fads. Resolutions are made and broken. We all know the formula: 10 pounds of extra weight on a 5 percent grade slows your ascent by half a mile an hour. It has a ring of Newtonian finality to it. F = MA. The Force needed to turn the pedals equals Acceleration times that Mass on the saddle. But most of the guys I ride with are like me: in their 40s and 50s with jobs and families, long past racing prime. We ride because it is fun, and it feels good to be fit. So why obsess over a few pounds? Because that is the cycling culture--emblematic of our society at large--and it carries its own internal calculus: the amount of guilt is directly proportional to the rise in the quantity and tastiness of the food.

The problem is that our bodies have evolved to crave copious amounts of rich and tasty foods, because historically such foods were valuable and rare. How can we modern humans resist? We shouldn't, at least not entirely, says Barry Glassner, a University of Southern California sociologist and author of the forthcoming book The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know about Food Is Wrong (Ecco). We have wrongly embraced what Glassner calls "the gospel of naught," the view that "the worth of a meal lies principally in what it lacks. The less sugar, salt, fat, calories, carbs, preservatives, additives, or other suspect stuff, the better the meal." The science behind this culinary religion, Glassner says, is close to naught.

When it comes to healthy absorption of nutrients, taste matters. Glassner cites a study in which "Swedish and Thai women were fed a Thai dish that the Swedes found overly spicy. The Thai women, who liked the dish, absorbed more iron from the meal. When the researchers reversed the experiment and served hamburger, potatoes, and beans, the Swedes, who like this food, absorbed more iron. Most telling was a third variation of the experiment, in which both the Swedes and the Thais were given food that was high in nutrients but consisted of a sticky, savorless paste. In this case, neither group absorbed much iron."

Speaking of iron, Atkins is out and meat is bad, right? Wrong. Glassner notes a study showing that as meat consumption and blood cholesterol levels increased in groups of Greeks, Italians and Japanese, their death rates from heart disease decreased. Of course, many other variables are involved in determining causal relations between diet and health. Glassner cites a study showing a 28 percent decrease in risk of heart attacks among nonsmokers who exercised 30 minutes a day, consumed fish, fiber and folate; they also avoided saturated fats, trans fats and glucose-spiking carbs. According to Harvard University epidemiologist Karin Michels, "It appears more important to increase the number of healthy foods regularly consumed than to reduce the number of less healthy foods regularly consumed."

It's more complicated still. Glassner reviews research showing that heart disease, cancer and other illnesses are significantly increased by "viral and bacterial infections, job stress, living in distressed neighborhoods, early deficits such as malnutrition, low birth weight, lack of parental support, and chronic sleep loss during adolescence and adulthood." Another study found that such diseases "are higher in states where participation in civic life is low, racial prejudice is high, or a large gap exists between the incomes of the rich and poor and of women and men."

To clarify this cornucopia of data, Glassner quotes the former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Marcia Angell: "Although we would all like to believe that changes in diet or lifestyle can greatly improve our health, the likelihood is that, with a few exceptions such as smoking cessation, many if not most such changes will produce only small effects. And the effects may not be consistent. A diet that is harmful to one person may be consumed with impunity by another."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: delusions; food; health; popular
Since the go-go Government had introduced the new 'food pyramid', obesity and diabetes have soared, and heart disease hasn't changed. Oh well, a billion dollars of fluff down the drain.

Typical government featherbedding for jobs. I suppose there must be thousands of nicely paid, no lifting, in by 9 and out by 3, government jobs concerning 'diet.'

Hey, remember pill addict, my back-my back Kennedy’s ‘Presidents Medal of Fitness’ program from the ‘60s? We were all going to wear cheap blue windbreakers with little patches. Right. I’d just wish the FedGov would just figure how to pour concrete and do expansion joints so my kidneys wouldn’t be pissing blood from their soviet quality road building. When local, state and fed’s can build something that isn’t falling apart before the project is done, they can start preaching.

Anyways, I suppose with the successful war on smokers, next is going to be the chubbys and those that can’t walk half a mile. Someday in order to get FedGov sheeple health care, you’ll have to prove you can meet age physical fitness standards.

1 posted on 02/09/2007 7:27:52 AM PST by Leisler
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To: Leisler

Everything in excess!
To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites.
Moderation is for monks.

LAZARUS LONG


2 posted on 02/09/2007 7:33:38 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ("Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto")
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To: Leisler
Anyways, I suppose with the successful war on smokers, next is going to be the chubbys and those that can’t walk half a mile. Someday in order to get FedGov sheeple health care, you’ll have to prove you can meet age physical fitness standards.

And therein lies the rub. With national healthcare government will assume the right to control almost everything you do, because "they" are paying for it even if it is your money. We will also see euthanizing the elderly because they cost too much to keep healthy and alive.

Throw in Global Warming and the environmental police to control all that business does and, voila!, complete government control of everything.

Do you think there may be a leftist plan afoot?

3 posted on 02/09/2007 7:43:15 AM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done, needs to be done by the government.)
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To: Leisler
I am half Italian, 45% German and a little Irish. I love potatoes, a good arabbiata pasta sauce, and sausages.

I find that having a good spicy food every once in a while keeps the viruses and colds away. Have something that hurts a bit every week, plus a bunch of garlic if you enjoy it, and you will be fine.

4 posted on 02/09/2007 7:45:14 AM PST by ikka
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
Follow the money. Where else will lefties get more jobs, offices, laptops, seminars, pensions? They're not going to do anything to compete against the Asians, or invent anything.
5 posted on 02/09/2007 7:52:51 AM PST by Leisler (REAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS WALK.)
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To: ikka
Interesting.

I find that beef actually beefs me up. I'm serious. I can go for two, three, or four weeks just eating my regular awful food including other meat such as chicken, etc. But then I'll have a steak or some roast and I always feel better and more alert and a little stronger the next day. I'd say it lasts about a day and a half. I've noticed that for years now.
6 posted on 02/09/2007 8:00:22 AM PST by A knight without armor
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To: Leisler

I think that too many of us eat too much AND the government programs are a waste of money and time.


7 posted on 02/09/2007 8:06:35 AM PST by villagerjoel (Give me liberty, or give me death!)
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To: A knight without armor

Absolutely, I have noticed the same thing. Every now and then a good steak , even with some fat like a ribeye, makes everything right.


8 posted on 02/09/2007 8:22:47 AM PST by ikka
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran
Everything in excess!

To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites.

Moderation is for monks.

LAZARUS LONG

Anything worth doing is worth over-doing.

9 posted on 02/09/2007 8:24:21 AM PST by CPOSharky (Year = 365 days. muzzy 'most holy' days = 450. Go figure.)
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To: villagerjoel
The feds encouraged people to move from a meat/fat diet to a starch/sugar diet. People are way fatter now.

Through taxation, women left the home, and kitchen, and into the tax producing labor market. Good for the government, bad for the family dynamics and food health. Again government not just being in err, but manufacturing problems, which of course require new government powers, jobs, moneys and such. I'd say for the government, the perfect environment would be a public housing slum. These are basically pathological patterning factories that produce human problems year after year for decades and generations.

No messed up people, no need for government agencies/jobs/budgets. We can't have that now can we?
10 posted on 02/09/2007 8:28:05 AM PST by Leisler (REAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS WALK.)
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To: ikka
Red meats have unknown enzymes that are not available in any other protein source. Listen to your body.
11 posted on 02/09/2007 8:29:49 AM PST by Leisler (REAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS WALK.)
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To: Leisler
I suppose with the successful war on smokers

Food addicts didn't stand up for smokers, so they take what they get. We've been warning them for over a decade, but they were too busy walking past, fake coughing and giving us crappy looks as we stood outside the restaurant having a smoke. I hope they enjoy the machine they created turning on them.
12 posted on 02/09/2007 8:29:52 AM PST by mysterio
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To: ShadowDancer

Just like the headline...


13 posted on 02/09/2007 8:30:35 AM PST by dakine
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To: Leisler

I say eat what you want. It's all genetics anyway. My Austrian grandfather smoked unfiltered Camels and ate bacon and eggs for breakfast, meat and potatoes for dinner, lived until he was 94 and died a painless death with a sound mind. I guess if he had never smoked, maybe he could have lived 15 more years. LOL


14 posted on 02/09/2007 8:33:15 AM PST by SpookBrat
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To: Leisler
Hey, remember pill addict, my back-my back Kennedy’s ‘Presidents Medal of Fitness’ program from the ‘60s? We were all going to wear cheap blue windbreakers with little patches.

You've been nursing this grudge a long time. I like that.

15 posted on 02/09/2007 8:33:26 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: A knight without armor
I can go for two, three, or four weeks just eating my regular awful food including other meat such as chicken, etc. But then I'll have a steak or some roast and I always feel better and more alert and a little stronger the next day. I'd say it lasts about a day and a half. I've noticed that for years now.

The same thing here. When I have been on some of the veg type of threads no one seems to understand that I NEED to have beef. Other types of meat (except lamb. mm. lamb.) just don't do it. Our bodies know what we need.

16 posted on 02/09/2007 8:34:54 AM PST by HungarianGypsy
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To: Andy'smom; bradactor; politicalwit; Spunky; mplsconservative; don-o; boadecelia; freeangel; ...

**Freeper Kitchen Ping**


17 posted on 02/09/2007 8:36:01 AM PST by HungarianGypsy
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To: Leisler
Glassner notes a study showing that as meat consumption and blood cholesterol levels increased in groups of Greeks, Italians and Japanese, their death rates from heart disease decreased.

The low-fat diet is going to go down in history as the greatest fraud ever devised...and most doctors are still pushing it.

18 posted on 02/09/2007 8:39:01 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves ("When the government is invasive, the people are wanting." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: HungarianGypsy
The same thing here. When I have been on some of the veg type of threads no one seems to understand that I NEED to have beef.

IIRC somebody said,"I didn't get to the top of the food chain to eat from the salad bar."

Or something like that.

19 posted on 02/09/2007 8:46:22 AM PST by CPOSharky (Year = 365 days. muzzy 'most holy' days = 450. Go figure.)
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To: HungarianGypsy

Could you please add me to the kitchen ping list?


20 posted on 02/09/2007 8:50:25 AM PST by fanfan ("We don't start fights my friends, but we finish them, and never leave until our work is done."PMSH)
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To: SpookBrat

My great grandfather smoked, dipped, ate bacon and eggs every day, made and drank his own wine and lived to the ripe age of 102. He was active and healthy until his death.(Drunk driver ran off the road, into my great grandfather's yard striking him as he basked in his hammock.)


21 posted on 02/09/2007 8:53:28 AM PST by politicalwit (Freedom doesn't mean a Free Pass.)
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To: SpookBrat
I say eat what you want. It's all genetics anyway. My Austrian grandfather smoked unfiltered Camels and ate bacon and eggs for breakfast, meat and potatoes for dinner, lived until he was 94 and died a painless death with a sound mind. I guess if he had never smoked, maybe he could have lived 15 more years. LOL

Sounds like my grandparents and an aunt, my mother's older sister. They drank and smoked and ate all the things that are supposedly bad for us today. They all died in their middle to late eighties.

My mother lived a healthy life of exercise and no smoking or booze. She died at eighty-eight.

I think genetics has much more to do with such things than other factors.

22 posted on 02/09/2007 8:58:49 AM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done, needs to be done by the government.)
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To: mysterio

My parents were chain smokers. My father was all unfiltered Camels and my mothers liked to switch around with all the menthols. At night since he couldn't smoke while asleep my father would go to bed with a pinch of Copenhagen in his cheek. I myself have never smoked. But I hate what they are doing to smokers around me. People now have to leave their buildings and walk to some ugly spot to smoke. I hear mean remarks. Yesterday I was in a newsstand and the owner was scolding the manager for having the cigarettes too prominently displayed. I don't want anyone to get sick and have cancer. I'm just ranting off the top of my head here. I hate what we are doing to smokers. I don't like the smoke either but I find my tolerance of it greatly depends upon the attitude of the smoker. Some are rude and some are polite. I don't like smokers feeling like freaks. I've been in situations where I couldn't even hold a conversation because the smoker kept backing away from me like we were two repelling magnets. This because they are so afraid of offending with a cigarette. Sheesh.


23 posted on 02/09/2007 9:02:45 AM PST by A knight without armor
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To: HungarianGypsy
If it tastes good, eat it or sell it.

'La bonne cuisine est la base du véritable bonheur.' - Auguste Escoffier
(Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

24 posted on 02/09/2007 9:04:13 AM PST by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: ikka
Two recent studies indicated that capsaicin, as in jalapenos and red pepper, will kill cancer cells.

Carolyn

25 posted on 02/09/2007 9:09:59 AM PST by CDHart ("It's too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the b@#$%^&s."--Claire Wolfe)
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To: A knight without armor
I had an obese man almost attack me a couple of years ago because I was smoking in the wrong place outside in high wind. There was an area I was supposed to be in that I didn't know about. I figured I was outside and it was windy, so no big deal. Maybe my smoke was drifting into the McDonald's air vent or something and interfering with his appetite.

I don't work at that college any more. Since I left, they've banned smoking anywhere on the campus, outside or in, including in personal vehicles.

I don't tell people I work with about my smoking. I've cut way back and will probably quit totally. But I will never forget those who treated me like crap about it. And when the government turns on their bad habit, I will not support it, but I won't work against it, either.
26 posted on 02/09/2007 9:13:21 AM PST by mysterio
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To: mysterio

Us extra fluffy people appreciate that.


27 posted on 02/09/2007 9:35:24 AM PST by A knight without armor
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To: A knight without armor

I was one myself, a little more than extra fluffy, actually.


28 posted on 02/09/2007 9:38:29 AM PST by mysterio
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To: Leisler

"Anyways, I suppose with the successful war on smokers, next is going to be the chubbys and those that can’t walk half a mile. Someday in order to get FedGov sheeple health care, you’ll have to prove you can meet age physical fitness standards."

Well, you nailed it. I have nothing to add. (And that rarely happens, LOL!)


29 posted on 02/09/2007 5:08:51 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: SpookBrat

"My Austrian grandfather smoked unfiltered Camels and ate bacon and eggs for breakfast, meat and potatoes for dinner, lived until he was 94 and died a painless death with a sound mind."

My Austrian Grandpa lived that way and made it to 89. My Norwegian Grandpa lived that way and made it to 91...and had three wives...who all died before him.

As usual, this is more pandering for dollars and more intrusion into our lives by Mother Government.

Yes, Virginia. There ARE Two Americas. The Left one and the Right one. :)


30 posted on 02/09/2007 5:14:03 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: villagerjoel

I agree completely. Most people consume more calories than they burn; most people are fat; the government should stay out of it; nothing the government will do would work anyway.


31 posted on 02/09/2007 5:18:28 PM PST by utahagen
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To: CPOSharky

I believe in moderation in all things; especially moderation.


32 posted on 02/10/2007 12:50:49 PM PST by csmusaret (Mnimum wage today; maximum wage tomorrow. It's the Socialist way.)
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