When you shouldn’t listen to nutritionists in the New York Times article

Maybe it was my love of pretty graphs, maybe it was the fact that 25% of “nutritionists” called pizza healthy, maybe butter needed to be defended. The itch was too strong: Must. Restore. Order.

The New York Times recently published an article comparing the “healthiness” of 50 common foods, as rated both by a panel of nutritionists and a representative sample of the US population. The results demonstrate that the average American believes sugary foods (like granola bars) are healthier than nutritionists rate them to be. So far, so unsurprising.

Big Food: 1                      Healthy Eating: 0

granola

As I kept reading the article, things went from making perfect sense to perplexing me more and more. Then, it got really icky.

The panel of experts consisted of 672 nutritionists -all part of the American Society for Nutrition, and mostly academics. For what happened next, I blame an anomaly in the spacetime continuum (I can’t think of another explanation):

25% of these the nutritionists rated pizza as healthy, and 12% rated ice cream as healthy.
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Still in shock, I decided to make my own comparison graph. I present to you the ratings of the NYT panel of nutritionists (data here) vs. my own view of what constitutes a healthy diet.

Let’s dig in, shall we?
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Are Carbohydrates Necessary For Life? FAQs About Low-Carb Diets

After a tumultuous vegan era, much scientific research and self-experimentation, I have adopted a low-carbohydrate, low-sugar (apart from the occasional cookie) diet. I stay away from grains, rice, starches, fruit juices, sweets, and processed foods, but eat animal foods, veggies, fat, and not-too-sweet fruits galore.

I get questioned about my low-carb lifestyle by readers, friends, or people who barely know me but think it’s weird that I am melting butter into my coffee (especially waiters, it’s always the waiters).

The questions go something like this: “But where do you get your fiber?” “Doesn’t your brain need sugar for energy?” “Won’t you develop nutritional deficiencies?” “So you are saying the Food Pyramid is wrong?”
Or, summed up: “Aren’t carbohydrates necessary for life?”

And in case you were also wondering, here are my answers!

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10 Reasons Sugar Is Bad For You

My first video series on Instagram explored 10 detrimental effects of sugar on our health. Here are the scientific references behind each of my 15-second videos (and my face, courtesy of yours truly). Enjoy!

 

NUMBER 1: It is absolutely unnecessary. Table sugar (white sugar) increases the caloric content and sweetness of foods, without giving your body anything it needs. As a counter example, consider raw honey. It is sweet but also contains vitamins and amino acids. It’s a better option!

 

Sugar is calories. That’s it. Adding to this fact, people who eat a high-sugar diet also reduce their intake of nutritious foods, making their overall diet even poorer in value. 

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Diabetes at 36,000 feet

Last weekend, I ordered a diabetic meal on my flight from Washington to London, just to see what it would be like. There are many less-than-ideal recommendations for diabetics from health establishments, ranging from hospitals to doctors to the media, and I wanted to see how they crystallised in this airplane meal.
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Other than the berries for desert, all the other components of my meal were worse for diabetics than the regular meal my fellow passengers were enjoying. The systemic failure in healing the diabetics of the world extends up to 36,000 feet.
Here is the breakdown.

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Listen To Your Heart: Feed It Bacon

This morning, you might have had an egg white omelet cooked in canola oil with two pieces of whole wheat toast, lightly ‘buttered’ with margarine.

I had a lard-greased pan of bacon and eggs.

Who had the healthier breakfast? The answer might surprise you!
butter
Behold: a brief history of saturated fat, cholesterol, and heart disease (and how rabbits are not humans).
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Don’t Fall Into the Trap: 10 Tricks Food Marketers Use to Make You Buy More

This article first appeared last week as a guest blog post for the amazing WellnessFX team. Thank you for having me, guys!

When it comes to healthy eating, it is all too common to rely on packaging, marketing, and the media to tell us what to eat. Making decisions based on colors, pseudo health statements, and nutritional labels can render grocery shopping confusing and potentially harmful. If you don’t shop exclusively for all of your products at a farmer’s market, chances are you navigate aisles of plastic-wrapped “food products.” Here are 10 techniques food marketers use to convince you to buy more. Be on the lookout for them to avoid getting fooled!

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Correlation Is Not Causation: Let Them Eat Meat!

In the first pages of The China Study (aka the ‘vegan bible’ which blames the rise of chronic diseases on animal protein consumption), Dr. Colin Campbell presents the following graph:

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What do we see? An almost perfect correlation between daily meat consumption and colon cancer incidence in women. The countries in which people eat the most meat have the highest incidence of the disease. Therefore, if we want to avoid colon cancer, we should eat less meat.

Simple?

Not so fast.
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