Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Where the "Experts" got us

In Defense of Food is a wake up call. (Most days I just want to hit the proverbial snooze button).
Which is probably why I feel as bad as I do. Dealing with Fibromyalgia is still a challenge to me, and I want to learn how to better manage the symptoms, especially the painful, groggy feeling that can persist for days at a time.

Will changing the way I think about food, and therefor eat, help? I believe it will.

I've listened to the diet experts my whole adult life. I know I'm not alone in noticing the crazy way the "experts" change their minds all the time. Look at trans fats as an example. Do you know who told us they were a good idea? That they were better for our health than the evil butter they set out to replace? Who promoted the "lipid hypothesis - the idea that dietary fat is responsible for chronic disease"? The experts: the FDA and the American Heart institute.

In chapter three of In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan writes:

"The American Heart Institute, eager to get Americans off saturated fats and onto vegetable oils, (including hydrogenated vegetable oils), was actively encouraging the food industry to "modify" various foods to get the saturated fats and cholesterol out of them, and in the early seventies the association urged that "any existing and regulatory barriers to the marketing of such foods be removed." end quote

Yes, that's right. The American Heart Institute was the one putting pressure on government in the US to stop the hold up, as they pushed for an entire society to stop eating a traditional diet and switch to eating the newly developed (cheap to make) trans fats. Even though at the time, and to this day, the theory behind the belief is that it is saturated fats that cause heart disease. That's right, it is still just a theory, hence the term "lipid hypothesis", and it has been questioned and disproven many times in many cultures. Have you heard of the French paradox? High fat diets, less heart disease, less cancer etc?

So my point is, the experts are apparently not as reliable as mothers the world over. Or Great-grandmothers more likely. In our society we have a few generations who have been fed this line of crap, and bought it.

Traditional diets may have as much to do with the way we eat, as they do with what we eat. Hmmmm. Why can the French eat as they do and not have heart disease and obesity rates like we do in North America?

More food for thought. I highly recommend his book.




3 comments:

Karyn/Mom said...

I am going to get this book. I too, have been frustrated with what "the experts" tell us about diet. Firstly, in regard to weight loss - high fat, low fat, high carb, no carb.....we've been eating "low fat", collectively for 20 years or so and there is more obesity than ever.

the theory that high fat foods/cholesterol causes heart disease is another idea that has been touted as "fact" by the experts, in spite of much research that contradicts the idea. In this case, I think the pharmaceutical companies are involved .....they make a huge amount of money on Statin drugs.

The problem with all this is "who can you believe/trust?" One set of experts says thus and so, the other says this and that, contradicting each other.

I believe we must do our own research about the "scientific studies" that have been done, use our common sense, and rely heavily on the wisdom God gives us when we ask for it.

I pray you find some answers to your physical problems in your quest to change the way you deal with food.

Karyn/Mom said...

Hey! you got the counter to work! did you start at 0?

arlene said...

Selling us all the "new and improved" foodlike substances is a multi BILLION dollar industry too. Pollans point is that for generations, people have learned how to eat to be happy AND healthy, without relying on experts. Well, the expert was "mom", and that is another word for "culture".

I got the counter but couldn't move it to the bottom. Didn't think of setting it at another number.