Twitter is wonderful, because it never ceases to entertain. This morning, for example, we woke up to this revelation:
‘Great scientists cherry pick the truth.’ It’s enough to make one’s head hurt. Or to sell a cool couple of t-shirts? (But would people understand that they’re not from The Onion?)
Continue reading “Come cherry pick with me”
I mean, you’d think I have nothing better to talk about. Well I do. Like the dinner that I finally got round to cooking last night. It took a lot of planning, mainly in the sense of being able to find a day that four adults are all free to sit around a table (I blame the children. All of them, everywhere).
Continue reading “This post is not about Tim Noakes”
I have to thank the Philosophe for the title of this post, although given that it was inspired by the following tweet, I’d like to think that I, too, would have been clever enough to come up with it (I just needed time!):
So, here we go again. Sugary junk food is addictive. Ergo, we are all food addicts.
Continue reading “#Quackcocaine!”
Shame, I think 6K spoke for many of us when he was feeling understandably confused after the recent brouhaha about meat being dangerous (in fact *as* dangerous as smoking!). And then also not.
Continue reading “Banting Bonanza!”
Poor nature. It gets so abused. And I’m not even talking about the stuff we humans inflict on it with our cars, industries and nasty habits like smoking. I’m talking about all the bullshit claims people make in its name.
“Nature” is, of course, one of the big motivators for following the LCHF/Paleo diet, despite a fair bit of evidence suggesting that that is more of a paleo-fantasy (including recent findings of “stone age” tooth decay suggesting that hunter-gatherers weren’t very good at following the Paleo diet). But never mind that. Here’s a recent comment from Tim Noakes:
All creatures on this earth (including most humans) eat in response to biological signals that keep them healthy when eating the foods with which they co-evolved over millions of years. Provided humans are eating the foods with which they co-evolved, their brains should be able to tell them how much of the different foods they should eat. We do not need to tell a single animal in the Kruger National Part how much of which different foods each needs to eat. But put them in a zoo and feed them foods which differ by the tiniest amount from that with which they co-evolved, and they rapidly become ill as are most elephants in North American zoos suffering as they do now from obesity, heart disease and infertility. But this does not happen to anywhere near the same extent in the wild.
My opinion is that the same applies to humans – direct them to eat only healthy foods and let them decide how much of which different foods they need to eat.
Continue reading “It’s the nature, stupid!”
I’ll be brief. There is a now-familiar narrative which blames the current obesity crisis on the introduction of dietary guidelines in the 1980s, and specifically with the “liphobia” (fear of fat) introduced by Ancel Keys in the 1970s. The story goes thus: government is led to believe that fat is the root of all
fire and brimstone disease, so they issue guidelines telling everyone to eat low- or no-fat foods. Everyone complies, and unknowingly stuffs themselves with sugar, with which all foods are secretly laced, because the government also subsidises the sugar industry.
Three or so decades later, an epidemic of obesity and diabetic children, all because of the sugar! (Or, as the Daily Mail calls it ‘The new tobacco. A ticking time-bomb. The hidden menace‘).
Continue reading “Surprise: people don’t eat what they’re told!”
Yesterday, I tweeted the following:
Perhaps it was a little unkind, given that this writer was sharing rather intimate details about her struggles with self-control around sugar and carbs, like the fact that at the height of her “using” (let’s use the right language now), she was scoffing not just any old ice cream, but some of the ‘Bon-Appetit top-10-rated best-in-the-nation ice cream‘, and that in the second round of “lapsing”, it was those ‘‘50s-style red and white mini-popcorn bags’ being fed from the ‘Satanic butter machine’, aka a popcorn maker at her place of work that got her. After days of resisting, she finally ‘broke down’ and
I grabbed one of those red and white paper bags and the commercial-grade scooper and joined the crowd. I ate one bag and stopped.
Of course the “story” here is that stopping (for her) is so unusual, because her “addicted” brain wanted to keep eating bag after bag after bag.
Continue reading “Cigarettes and chocolate”
There’s been a good round of attention lately to various manifestations of bad science and hyperbolic (mis)representations of health claims (also don’t miss this excellent rant by a dietitian). Often the problem isn’t with the specific detail (however it may look to some people, the Philosophe actually isn’t out to “get” Professor Tim Noakes, nor does he have any reason to wish for the LCHF hypothesis to fail), but with the method of inquiry, and how people in positions of authority set poor examples of logical reasoning, and of how science works.
Continue reading “When an n=1 can actually teach us something”
So we’ve just attended an event called “EthicsXchange“, billed as ‘a platform for some of South Africa’s leading opinion makers to challenge our thinking and behaviour when it comes to ethical decision making.’ It was an interesting morning, and some very good speakers (and of course some not so good). Some I’ve also heard before, notably Leonie Joubert, and Tim Noakes.
But I was disappointed by Joubert’s talk for two reasons: first, it was basically the same as her TedX talk, which while a nicely packaged talk (as TED’y type talks are meant to be), seriously oversimplifies the issues around the interactions between our bodies and the environments we live in. It’s simply not true, as she argues, that cities make us fat and sick. It is true that urban environments conduce to making us make poor choices when it comes to what to eat and how much to move (or not). But that’s of course a key problem with TED-y type talks, because delivering big ideas in under 20 minutes leaves no space for nuance or complexity.
She also told the audience that sugar is toxic and addictive, just like cocaine. Well, we’ve been down this road before. And that is also simply not true. The same bits in the brain light up when you eat as when you take cocaine? Yes, that’s because the same bits in the brain light up when we do something pleasurable, and guess what – eating is nice. Most people enjoy it. Nobody seeks out horrible food.
Continue reading “Fancy some cocaine with your tea?”