So there’s a “study” making the rounds claiming to have found evidence of a link between consuming “ultra-processed foods” and developing cancer. It’s not the first time we’ve heard that processed stuff like bacon and pastrami leads to cancer,Â but this one expands the range of “processed” to the more scary “ultra-processed” to include the following (handily summarised by the BBC):
Leaving aside what exactly even are “foods made mostly or entirely from sugar, oils and fats”, it’s an excellent example of the kind of rubbish headlines that lead to the worst outcomes of social media, and of the resulting issue of people being rightly confused about what, or what not, to eat,Â because it’s so beautifully tweetable, but mostly bullshit (scientifically speaking):
I guess I should have known that a documentary calledÂ The Search for the Perfect Human Diet (subtitled “The Answer to the Obesity Epidemic”) would end up in a very predictable place. But just see how ground-breaking it sounds!:
The Perfect Human Diet is the unprecedented global exploration for a solution to our epidemic of overweight, obesity and diet-related diseases – the #1 killer in America. This film, by broadcast journalist C.J. Hunt, bypasses current dietary group-think [ding ding!] by exploring modern dietary science, previous historical findings, ancestral native diets and the emerging field of human dietary evolution – revealing for the first time, the authentic human diet. Film audiences finally can see what our species truly needs for optimal health and are given a practical template based on scientific facts.
Am I right? If only this synopsis wasn’t actually written by … C.J. Hunt.
“When I see a picture of someone who’s really hugely fat,” Nigella Lawson once told a talk-show host, “I don’t think ‘how hideous’. I think how delicious it must have been to get there”.
Not so Katie Hopkins, who earlier this year embarked on her very own ridiculous “Fat Story“. The conceit*: put on 3-4 stone (that’s about 25 kg) and lose it again to show how easy it is – or rather, that all fat people need is a kick up the arse.
If you haven’t heard of her,Â this is all you need: she calls herself the biggest bitch in Britain, and was apparently ranked the second most loathed person in the world, after Vladimir Putin. Perfect person for the job, right?
Sugar is so convenient, isn’t it? If you believe the people behind the (predictably challenging-to-watch) film Fed Up, sugar has been a convenient way to hoodwink America into a full-scale obesity epidemic. But even more than that, it turns out to offer a really convenient way to explain away any complexities related to health and eating. Or just as a target for a (simple syrupy) finger of blame.
Move over Big Fat Surprise, ‘Nutritionist, bestselling Author, and Speaker’ Christine CronauÂ is way ahead of the (ahem) curve when it comes to ‘reporting on the biggest health blunder in history’, and teaching you how to revolutionise your body with fat. But don’t think of any of this as a diet:
I’ve been avoiding watching the film OMG GMO because I knew it would be irritating. It did not disappoint. It was misinformed and manipulative on so many levels – I mean, this man dresses up his children in gas marks to walk through a field of GM crops. Children of the corn indeed.
So if you want to learn anything constructive about the GM debate, don’t bother watching this film.
However, it can teach you a bunch of other useful things, as pointed out in a couple of reviews that get it just right.
When I first met the Philosophe, one thing that really irritated me about him is one of the things I now most admire him for (and aspire to): his consistency. (If you can’t understand what’s irritating about consistency, just imagine how important it is to logical reasoning, and how frustrating it can be to argue with someone who is completely logical and rational – even when he’s clearlyÂ wrong!)
Of course I was probably annoyed by it because it showed up how I – like many of us, I’ll venture – was/am really bad at being consistent, preferring the “freedom” to be fickle to suit my agenda (“What’s that you say? How can I not eat animals for “moral” reasons but have no problem dropping a wad of cash on a pair of sexy leather boots? None of your goddamn business!”).
I was once again reminded of the huge currency of inconsistency recentlyÂ while listening to an episode of the Stuff You Should KnowÂ podcast (while swimming with my waterproof iPod), this one on “How the Paleo Diet Works.” Having both read and written a fair bit on Paleo/LCHF/Banting/Noakes, I found the podcast to be rather superficial (including a by-now predictable misrepresentation of the work of Ancel Keys), but that’s maybe to be expected. It did manage to describe the key principles, namely that humans were evolved to eat and metabolize a particular kind of food, and that kind of food is not what most of us eat today, which is why the world is so fat and sick. Ergo, eating like your hunter-gatherer ancestors is the only to restore health and vitality. To break it down even further, basicallyÂ don’t eat anything out of a box.
Las Vegas is awesome. There are literally huge women everywhere.
It’s also awesome because this year I got to attend The Amazing Meeting. It’s too much to describe (the Philosophe is doing daily round ups of all the cool stuff). But in summary, between 24-hr access to slot machines, $1 Bloody Marys, and some 65 very clever people talking about very clever stuff, let’s just say my dopamine levels are deliciously high.
About which, some of the talks I’ve so far enjoyed the most have been by Sally Satel and Scott LilienfeldÂ on the problems with popular misunderstandings of neuroimaging and the abuses of addiction-lingo.