Experts 0, Nature 3

My brother once opined that we’d be much more advanced as a species if cognitive dissonance had immediate physical symptoms.  Think of how much stupidity we’d avoid if, for instance, when some economic simpleton said something like “our country just needs to borrow more money to spend so we won’t go broke,” they immediately got one of those “brain freeze” headaches like when you eat ice cream too fast.  Unfortunately, instead of holding their heads in agony and pleading for mercy, they get awarded Nobel prizes.

Besides wiping out nearly the entire economics profession, this genetic upgrade would also lay barren huge swaths of the nutritional science landscape.  Today’s SJ-R Health section focused on the very real food-health connection and an anti-inflammatory diet, but only the last sentence mentioned that “foods labeled ‘low-fat’ often remove fat and replace it with pro-inflammatory carbohydrates.”

Like the low-fat menus being force-fed to school kids now, which remove the fat their brains and bodies need to be healthy; then fill them up with grains and other carbohydrates; then wonder where all of the childhood obesity, diabetes,  ADD and autism is coming from.  That ought to make someone’s brain hurt.

You’d think it couldn’t get dumber, but you’d be wrong.  Besides removing saturated fat, which we need, and forcing in carbohydrates, which cause metabolic havoc, there is the third pillar of dietary dissonance – salt restriction.  The experts lecture us constantly to remove salt from our diets because they absolutely know it will raise our blood pressure and make our hearts explode.  Don’t they?

No they don’t, according to the results of an eight year study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (cited by a reader on my brother’s web site).  Not only did they find no difference in hypertension onset among low-, medium-, or high-sodium level diets among nearly 3,700 participants; in fact, the participants with the lowest sodium intake were much MORE likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

The study wasn’t designed to explain this phenomenon, but one of the authors posits that since sodium is an essential nutritional requirement (much like fat and cholesterol), diets that limit sodium intake “activate some of the  systems that  conserve  sodium and they are known to have a negative influence on cardiovascular outcomes.”

So, when an expert tells you that you need to cut back on fats, eat “good carbs”, and throw away your salt shaker, just smile and realize that a merciful creator or evolutionary anomaly is keeping them from dying of a massive migraine.  Then finish your bacon.

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7 Responses to Experts 0, Nature 3

  1. Nice post! Reminds me of a series of Dilbert cartoons on causing pain to “inDUHviduals” who say “it can’t hurt to ask” …

    Here’s my take on the topic – “Nature Votes Last!”
    http://grassbasedhealth.blogspot.com/2011/03/nature-votes-last.html

    Keep the posts coming! Speaking of which, mine is overdue …

    Regards,

    Pete B


    “Nature Votes Last” is indeed pretty succinct. Maybe someday the “experts” will stop rigging the vote.

  2. Karen says:

    Immediate feedback, both negative (brain freeze) and positive (instantly the clouds part, the sun shines upon you, and a rainbow ends at your feet), would be awesome. I’m just not sure which sign is more effective. Thing is, people read all the signs wrong or they totally ignore them. A doctor tells a patient to go low fat, high carb to lose weight – which can’t be done unless the patient restricts calories to the point of semi-starvation – and the patient loses weight. This is a good thing, right? The doctor must be correct, right? NEVERMIND the patient feels lousy, is hungry ALL the time, and is is a foul mood and NO MATTER his markers for cardiovascular disease just shot through the roof. Just put him on meds.

    Same thing with salt. The signs of hyponatremia come in the form of irritable moods, muscle weakness or cramps, headaches, etc. But because these blanket recommendations and orders are given my the almighty medical establishment, the signs are ignored.

    I wonder sometimes if, for most people, there is a brief window of opportunity to think “outside the box.” It is before any of the conventional methods are attempted. Once you start down the path of low fat, low sodium, and mainstream medical hogwash, your judgment may be so impaired you won’t recognize the signs to save your life.

    I’m betting on negative feedback being more effective. People will get used to rainbows; brain freeze always gets your attention.

    The sad part is that after all of those negative symptoms, when folks go back to the experts they’re told they just need to try harder. Oh, and here’s a prescription for your mood issues.

    JN

  3. Mikie says:

    Hi

    Looking forward to reading more.

    I will challenge you to to show some solid science behind the assertion that limiting fats and feeding grains and carbs to children are connected with ADD and Autism. Not that I think doing so is a good idea, I just don’t think it is wise to adopt an unsupported view.

    I ask because I have not seen any causal links published. This is important because of the extreme gullibility and inability of the general populace to think critically. Hence, if anyone is going to step up onto a soapbox, they have now taken on a measure of responsibility to try to publish opinions with foundations. Publishing opinion as fact is in the purview of the USDA – no?

    There is a way out of that though – a disclaimer pointing out that the entire blog is just an opinion. There is plenty of room for that!

    Of course, if there is peer reviewed, and validated science, I’d really like to get my mits on it.

    Point taken. And the information on the connection between carbs and ADD and autism, although growing, is at this point anecdotal or observational, neither of which qualifies as solid science.

    That said, I’d suggest that as nutritional composition has been shown to cause metabolic havoc, people may want to personally consider the possibility that diet could also manifest neurological effects.

    On the other hand, the USDA’s purview is a bit more than publishing opinion as fact. In addition to publishing, they also mandate the nutritional makeup of diets of millions of schoolkids. And now schools are starting to inspect kid’s brought-from-home lunch bags.

    Cheers!

    JN

  4. Christine Davis says:

    “So, when an expert tells you that you need to cut back on fats, eat “good carbs”, and throw away your salt shaker, just smile and realize that a merciful creator or evolutionary anomaly is keeping them from dying of a massive migraine.  Then finish your bacon.”
    -Wise advise, Jerry!!! While I’m eating my sausage fried in butter, knowing I’m healthier than when I ate sticks and twigs, and someone says “whole grains keep you regular and eggs have too much cholesterol” I will from now remember what you said about a merciful creator or evolutionary anomaly that thir brains don’t start wearing in freeze-pain!!!!

  5. Tom Naughton says:

    Mikie, while these don’t constitute solid proof of the relationship between diet and ADD, autism, epilepsy, etc., you may find them interesting. I’ve seen others, but this is what I could dig up quickly:

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/62/4/761.short

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/magazine/21Epilepsy-t.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1

    http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/EvolutionPaleolithic/Cereal%20Sword.pdf

    http://tiny.cc/jrtq4

    http://www.fitnesshealtharticles.com/article.php/31-03-2007Fat-for-Attention-Deficit-Disorder-Treatment.htm

    http://borntoexplore.org/omega.htm

    It’ll be interesting to see how much research is or isn’t done in this area. Government agencies and drug companies don’t exactly jump at the chance to fund a study to determine if eating more natural fats and/or fewer grains will reduce rates of ADD and autism.

    This is why I strongly recommend that people be born to successful parents and have smart siblings.

    JN

  6. MimLan says:

    Good post! There are many connections that doesn’t make sense when we actually think. Myself, I often had to tell co-workers around the damn happy healthy fruit basket at work, that I didn’t want to eat anything since I got REALLY hungry when I had an apple or so. And yet I didn’t get the connection until I tried LCHF/low carb.

    But there’s one thing about the salt I don’t get. As a low carber, I got more sensitive to salt, which I have noticed is quite a common feature among low carbers. And I was sensitive to salt even before. Can’t we get too little salt then? What is “normal” when it comes to salt?

    Apples somehow lucked into being one of the poster children for healthy foods. It’s got a reasonable glycemic index, but the carb count is still equivalent to about 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.

    The JAMA paper seems to indicate that there could indeed be such a thing as “too low” of sodium consumption; or more accurately, that it’s worth studying.

    My real problem is that once again, all of the “experts” are pushing an agenda instead of looking at the science.

    JN

  7. Kim says:

    Glad you started posting! I know your brother (and sister-in-law!) from our cruises, nice to see sarcastic wit runs in the family…lol. Love this one, keep it coming and happy birthday!

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