Scott Gavura for Science Based Medicine – The one thing you need to know before you detox:
“Detox” is a legitimate medical term that has been co-opted to sell useless products and services. It is a fake treatment for a fake condition. Real detoxification isn’t ordered from a menu at a juice bar, or assembled from supplies in your pantry. Real detoxification is provided in hospitals under life-threatening circumstances — usually when there are dangerous levels of drugs, alcohol, or other poisons in the body.
Gavura doesn’t mince words.
The lifestyle implications of a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, lack of sleep, and alcohol or drug use cannot simply be flushed or purged away. Our kidneys and liver don’t need a detox treatment. If anyone suggests a detox or cleanse to you, remember that you’re hearing a marketing pitch for an imaginary condition.
Melvin Konner for the Wall Street Journal – Confessions of a Paleo Diet Pioneer
Anthropologists know that people obsess about diet. Kosher and halal diets are about discipline, not health. Hundreds of millions in India never let flesh cross their lips. All of these strategies—low-carb paleo diets, too—seem to be compatible with life and health. Within these bounds, pick your poison. With care, you can extend your life—but as far as I know, nobody lives forever.
Podcast – 99% Invisible – Best Enjoyed By:
Over the years we’ve lost track of what these labels meant in the first place. We’ve come to associate the dates with safety, when in fact, they’ve always been about freshness. As much as we might want them to, the dates on our food are not going to tell us if we’ll get salmonella or e-coli.
Film – Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Streaming available for a short time only.
Podcast – Gastropod – Field Recordings
As an acoustics professional, the measurement and usage of insect and animal sounds in the growing of food is fascinating. I’ll definitely be reading up on some of the sound measurement methods.
(I’m just getting caught up on the archives, having only recently found out about this great podcast.)
Why food allergy fakers need to stop
Neil Swidey for the Boston Globe:
Moreover, Leviton emphasizes that, as much as they work with extreme caution, they don’t cook in a vacuum. “We make bread in the same tiny kitchen we make everything else in,” he says, noting that it’s not as if the kitchen is being steam-cleaned to remove all flour dust. Most people who are “super-hyper-allergic,” he says, would stay away from restaurants because they know that just one tiny mistake could prove fatal.
This is the reason we haven’t served our son any restaurant food, and if we can avoid it, we don’t go to restaurants at all with him. We hardly go out to eat at all. Great for the wallet, but not so great if we’re out and forgot to bring his snacks/food with us.And then there are people who lie about their food preference or diet, calling it an allergy to ensure the item is taken out of their meal:
Dr. John McDougall, who peddles his low-fat, high-starch McDougall Program diet as a way to prevent degenerative disease, kicks it up a few notches, urging his flock to paint a picture for their servers. “Tell them you’re allergic to oil. [Say] ‘If I eat oil, I’ll have an anaphylactic reaction. I’ll have a seizure. You’ll have to call the ambulance. It will just be a whole big bad scene here in the restaurant. . . .’ ”
But restaurants are not blameless in this dance of deception. Culinary Institute of America professor and author Ezra Eichelberger is a leading voice on all things front-of-the-house. For too long, he says, too many restaurants tried to talk diners out of their preferences (“You’ve never had garlic the way our chef uses it”) or outright lied to them. They might, for instance, fail to disclose to vegetarians ordering the French onion soup that it was made with beef stock or neglect to wave pescatarians off the clam chowder because it has a little pork hidden in it.
Both restaurants and eaters need to come clean.
The Science of Herbs and Spices
Harold McGee, for Lucky Peach:
Have you ever chewed on a sprig of thyme or chomped down on a whole peppercorn or clove? It’s not pleasant. That’s because most herb and spice flavors are actually chemical weapons. Their role is to repel insects and snails and other animals that try to eat them, and to kill microbes—especially fungi—that try to infect them. (The flavor chemicals also sometimes serve as a form of birth control. When the leaves of a thyme plant drop to the ground, thymol prevents the plant’s seeds from germinating, so the plant won’t have to compete with its offspring for nutrients from the same patch of soil.)
Should there be mandatory GMO labelling?
The very notion of GMOs is a false dichotomy. Opponents then argue that transgenic GMOs, using genes from distant species that could not mix in nature, is different than the other methods. This is factually wrong and logically dubious.
The source of a gene is irrelevant, only its effect in the organism matters. Putting a fish gene in a tomato does not give you a fishmato, as anti-GMO propaganda suggests (and actually has convinced many naive people that such tomatoes would be fishy). Fish and tomatoes already share about 60% of their genes.
Novella draws similarities to the organic food debate, when pro-organic groups professed that organic foods were safer, healthier and more nutritious.
After the USDA organic label came into effect, the organic industry exploded, based on the false impression that organic produce is superior, and supported largely by the legitimacy that the USDA label conferred. All of the USDA caveats were promptly forgotten, if they were ever even noticed.
And Mark Lynas, as linked in Novella’s post:
I have long been of the opinion that GMO labeling is an issue that needs to be addressed with some kind of sensible compromise. (I made a speech supporting mandatory labeling back in 2013 in Chicago.) By taking a stance that appears to be opposing the consumer ‘right to know’, industry has not won itself any friends, and has cemented perceptions – eagerly built on by the anti-GMO lobby – that big corporations are trying to smuggle GMO products into the national food system.
We need better assurances from scientists and government agencies that GMO is safe. As for GMO labelling? I believe it should be voluntary.
Illustrating Diet Advice is Hard. Here’s how the USDA Has Tried To Do It.
Maria Godoy for NPR’s The Salt, on the 1992 Food Pyramid:
Carbs were the base of this pyramid, sending the message to eat all you want. And Americans did, gobbling up refined grains and processed snacks like SnackWell cookies — that staple of the low-fat craze — in their quest to avoid the dreaded dietary fat.
We know now that “carbohydrates worsen glucose and insulin — they have negative effects on blood cholesterol levels,” as Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, told us back in 2014. In other words, he told us, replacing saturated fats with refined carbs “has not been useful advice.”
Note that the recommendation of milk and dairy (and separately, butter!) is included in the USDA’s 1943 “The Basic 7” food guide, and in every food guide since. With allergies to milk and dairy, what’s the best way to replace those recommended nutrients? Is fortified soy milk (or other ‘milks’) adequate?