Sometimes, there just isn’t anything you can add. Enjoy!
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) August 16, 2020
And I can already hear some people saying “what’s wrong with that?” And the answer is, it’s prohibited. Kind of like our discussion yesterday, there are things you cannot do because it does not serve the public, you know, the people who do the voting. And there is an office called The United States Office of Government Ethics. And they are very clear about what is not allowed. Federal employees, including the President are prhibited from:
So, the question becomes, why do we continue to let this slide? What is it about this terrible man/child that we let him so boldly flaunt the rule of law without ever holding him accountable? Why are so silently complicit? It is only by holding our officals accountable that we’ll ever make any change. As long as we sit by idly, waiting for something good to happen, we’re going to be exploited for their gain over, and over, and over again. Speak up!
Oh, and wear a mask! 🙂
I offer you two words, slaughter and butcher. Two words where virtually every meaning is bad, except (presumably) the killing of animals for food. And in response to that, I offer you Melanie Joy. If you haven’t seen her TED talk, enjoy.
slaugh·ter | ˈslôdər |
verb [with object]
butch·er | ˈbo͝oCHər |
verb [with object]
Worry not, people, the Food Revolution Summit is almost over! I’m tuning in to just two more speakers from Saturday, so the last update may be Monday morning. Today, though, there were two great speakers, named above.
Dr. Katz is the President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and someone I frequently retweet, so his name may be familiar to some because of that.
Most disease is caused by environmental toxins (tobacco), poor diet, and lack of exercise. He went on to expound on Dan Buettner‘s work on the Blue Zones project and how that applies to lifestyle medicine. If you’re not familiar with Dan Buettner and the Blue Zones, take a moment to familiarize yourself. It started as a fascinating National Geographic project to find the people who live the longest on the planet and how they are similar. Dan took this work and is now trying to proactively apply it to communities. Cool stuff. Anyway, combining the Lifestyle Medicine work with the Blue Zone work Dr. Katz has a list of 6 keys to health and longevity:
“Dinner is destiny”. I love that, simple and profound. The point is that it’s what you do every day that matters the most.
“The 2015 Dietary Guidelines are a national embarrassment”. He went on to say that the report from the Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee was actually quite good, but as I noted in my previous post, the Big Food interests and their lobbying power stifled the important messages and make the final product worthless. He also noted, as others have (including me) that the real tragedy is that the Guidelines are the basis of public policy. BTW, if you want to look at the Advisory Committee report, can do get the full 571 page report here to look at and download to your heart’s content.
Lastly, as Dr. Katz and John Robbin’s discussed optimal diets and the continual swirl of controversy and confusion, they both agreed that Michael Pollan probably said it best:
“Real food, not too much, mostly plants.”
I have seen Marion Nestle speak (in videos) several times and I have been a reader of her website and blog for several months. She is an amazing woman who has been virtually the “lone voice in the wilderness” for many years when it comes to discussing the politics of food and shining the light of truth onto the subject. She talked mostly about CocaCola and Pepsi and their battles to maintain themselves as legitimate and vital concerns now that the truth about high fructose corn syrup (HCFS, see Wednesday’s post with Mark Hyman) and it’s links to obesity and cardiovascular disease have become so widely known. She was a memeber of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Panel and one of the principles in getting the New York City ban limiting the size of soft drinks to 16 ounces, a move that is being challenged in the courts by Big Food. She has also been instrumental in exposing Coke and Pepsi’s attempts as anonymously funding efforts to ban GMO labeling, among other nefarious deeds.
Why would Coke and Pepsi give a rip about GMO labeling? Back to the high fructose corn syrup. Apparently almost all of the corn in the US is now GMO corn, so if there is a labeling law, all soft drinks would have to carry the GMO label. As usual, it’s all about the money. This is just another blatant attempt to maintain corporate profit selling a product that is demonstrably bad for your health. But corporations are people, as the Supreme Court has ruled, and so as long as they keep making money for their shareholders they can spend however much money it takes, either publicly or anonymously, to hide the truth and raise a small level of uncertainty and doubt as to the science. It’s just like Big Tobacco and Climate Science all over. It’s the same playbook every time and we keep falling for it.
Much of the spending in New York state trying to defeat the soda ban is being done by the National Restaurant Association. So, what’s their tie? As always, follow the dollar. According to Ms. Nestle, restaurants and movie theaters pay about 1¢ for each fluid ounce of soft drink. That’s the cost, all in (i.e. the cup, the syrup, the water, the CO2 tank, the cooling and the staff to serve it). Now imagine you just bought a soft drink at a movie theater. Say you got a 20 ounce cup and the theater is one that allows “free refills”. The theater is out 40¢ for your purchase. You probably paid $3 for it. That’s a 650% profit margin. So, yeah, they have a good reason to fight this. Guess what; no soda machine in my restaurant. 🙂
I realize that I live just 25 miles from Wisconsin, the “Dairy State”, and that attitudes in this part of the country are solidly Midwestern, but the number of people who refuse to believe that dairy is not only unnecessary for good health, but is also detrimental to good health is a little staggering. So, let me begin with an open and honest disclaimer. I have no financial ties to any pro- or anti- dairy group. I stand to derive no financial benefit from this post (unless you click on one of the dopey ads). I do have a BS in Chemistry, an MD, 17 years of clinical practice experience in medicine and a certificate in plant based nutrition from Cornell. So you can choose to ignore what I tell you, but please admit that you’re doing so because you prefer to believe what you’ve been told by people who stand to gain financially from what you “know” and who trust you won’t be bold enough to change your habits because of new information.
OK, with that out of the way, I want to split this up thusly:
Milk is a liquid that contains macronutrients (protein, sugars, fats) and micronutrients that is made by the mammary glands of all mammals to feed their infant offspring. It is, quite literally, a growth formula that is species specific (i.e. human milk has a different composition than goat milk) and is designed to nurture the young until the digestive tract has developed enough to transition to food appropriate to the species. The particulars of human, cow, and goats milk are presented in the following table, derived from the USDA’s own food analysis tables1.
The USDA and most dairy types express the amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrate as grams, but most clinical types of people (i.e. physicians (as if) and nutritionists) talk about protein, fat, and carbohydrate as percent of total calories. In the lower half of the table I’ve converted the numbers above into percent of total calories. I realize that the numbers don’t add up to 100%, so I’m just leaving them there because the raw data came right from USDA. If the number of calories for human milk was, for example, 175 per cup, then the numbers below would be 100%.
It should be obvious right away is that human milk has more carbohydrate and much less protein than cow or goat milk. Remembering that milk is a growth formula for the time of life when the individual will grow the fastest, it’s remarkable that human milk is about 6% protein, which should suggest that this is the amount of protein that is necessary for sustained growth and health. Interestingly, 112 years ago, a nutritionist at Yale University named Russel Henry Chittenden published the results of his research on the amount of protein necessary for adult humans. Challenging the status quo of 116 grams of protein suggested by Carl Von Voit, Chittenden found that active adult men (Yale student athletes and men in the Army Corps of Engineers) did perfectly well on 40 grams of protein a day2. Given an average diet of 2400 calories for these active men, Chittenden’s 40 grams of protein translates to protein as about 6.5% of total calories, almost identical to the protein content in human breast milk. Unfortunately, Chittenden’s work, although of great interest at the time, has largely been lost to posterity.
When asked, most people say that cow’s milk is “good for you” because it is high in protein and has calcium to “make your bones strong”. Let’s look at those two things.
Cow milk does have a lot of protein. As our table shows, protein is 20% of the total calories. I’m going to keep this short and not get bogged down in the numbers, but it turns out that 20% of calories as protein is not good for your health, particularly if the proteins come from animal sources. Animal proteins are usually labeled as “high quality” because the protein sequences are very similar to our own and our bodies can use them more efficiently than plant proteins. This oversupply of efficiently used proteins does promote growth in the human body, but it’s not well regulated. And there are unintended (and unwanted) consequences including (but not limited to) cancer initiation, promotion, and progression. Cow milk protein is approximately 80% casein, which has been identified as a powerful carcinogen.
Cow milk has calcium. Yes, this is true also, but it must be said that cows have certainly not cornered the market on calcium. There are, in fact, much safer sources of calcium that don’t mix calcium with excess protein, saturated fat, and carcinogens. And where, do you suppose, cows get all their calcium? It’s not like they’re out in the field taking calcium supplements. No, cows get their calcium from the same place that you should, from their greens.
Furthermore, this study3 from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded “neither milk nor a high-calcium diet appears to reduce risk (of osteoporosis)”. In fact, as this map from the International Osteoporosis Foundation shows, high dairy consumption areas like the US and New Zealand have significantly higher osteoporosis risk than low dairy areas like Brazil, China, India and Indonesia.
There is no compelling reason to consume dairy from a nutritional or health perspective and a wealth of high quality data to strongly suggest eliminating it from the diet. It has too much protein, saturated fat, and a number of very potentially deleterious effects. Dairy can provide calcium, but this is readily available from many sources.
As we saw in the last post, food labeling can be tricky business. There are all sorts of loop holes and shenanigans that lure the unsuspecting consumer (us!) into believing they are getting something nutritious when, in fact, they are not. So today I thought we’d take a look at milk. As many of you know, I am not a fan. In fact, I would support complete dairy boycott as I firmly believe that milk and it’s byproducts are some of the very worst foods we can consume. The most prominent proteins in milk are casein (82%) and when (18%). By the standards set forth to test for chemical carcinogens (chemicals that can cause cancer) casein is considered one the most potent ever identified. But I’m not even going in to that (or the implications for diabetes, heart disease, or the gross inhumanity of cattle) I’m just here to talk about the fat.
In the United States we have wide access to 4 kinds of milk, which are probably familiar to everyone. There is “whole” milk, 2% milk, 1% milk and skim milk (putatively “fat free”). The Washington Post ran an article on October 3, 2014 that states:
Whole milk isn’t made wholly of fat, or largely of fat, or even substantially of fat. In fact, it doesn’t contain much fat all.
Whole milk is actually only about 3.5 percent fat.
Well, that’s not so bad, right?
What does that actually mean, 3.5% fat? 3.5% of what? Therein lies the magic (illusion?). Whole milk is 3.5% fat BY WEIGHT. And what makes up most of the weight of milk? Anyone? Yes, it’s water! And water has how many calories? None! Can you see where this is going?
As readers will already have heard, an “ideal” diet is 10% of calories from fat, 5–10% of calories from protein, and 80–85% of calories from complex, unrefined carbohydrates (whole foods and that does NOT include Doritos, Snickers, etc.). And this is how pretty much everyone thinks about food, macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrate), and calories; as a percentage of total calories. No one thinks about fat, protein, or carbohydrate as a percentage of the weight, unless they’re into marketing and trying to fool you. And they do it because it works.
Let’s look at whole milk again with a more rational lens:
Serving Size 1 cup (8 ounces)
Total fat 8 grams
Saturated fat (the bad kind) 4.6 grams
Total Calories from fat 72 (8 grams x 9 calories/gram)
% of calories from fat 49%
Yes, it’s sadly true, almost half of the calories from a glass of milk are from fat. Here’s a table of how the different milks compare. Notice that when you take out most of the fat, almost half the calories disappear.
But even “fat free” skim milk still has 2% of it’s calories from fat, obviously much improved from it’s 1%, 2%, and whole milk siblings, but it is not free of fat. And don’t forget, there’s still that casein to contend with!
But, don’t worry, there’s always a dissenting opinion. You could certainly turn to Karen Giles-Smith, a registered dietitian and health and wellness coach. Her article tells you that milk fat is good for your body. By the way, Ms. Giles-Smith was previously employed by the Dairy Council of Michigan for nutrition communications and she does quote Greg Miller, president of the Dairy Research Institute and executive vice president of the National Dairy Council. I’m sure there was no bias in this work.
Yes, I want to spend a couple of minutes on our friend PAM purely olive oil. According to the label, this product’s first (and really only) ingredient is olive oil. But due to some sort of magical process by our friends at ConAgra Foods, this olive oil as been depleted of it’s fat. Isn’t that amazing!
This one tells us that it has no calories and no saturated fat as well as no sodium or sugars. But then again, we don’t really expect a lot of sodium or sugars from an oil and saturated fat, as you know (if you’ve been reading the blog) is basically animal fat or, more rarely, coconut oil.
So how did ConAgra pull off this little magic trick? I’m hoping that a couple of you already know the answer, but the real answer is that they didn’t. Magic is what it always has been; an illusion. Let’s look at the back label (sorry it’s a little blurry).
Again we see, no fat, no calories from fat and total fat = 0g. But! But this is “per serving”. And what is a serving of PAM purely olive oil? Well, as you can see, it’s a 0.25 second spray. A quarter of a second spray. Really? Have you ever seen anyone do a 0.25 second spray except where there’s that one little spot you missed when you doused the pan? Why would they list anything so ridiculous as a 0.25 second spray? The answer — and here’s the illusion (er, magic) — is that the FDA has an exemption that allows manufacturers to “round down” if the serving size is less than 0.5 g. And our amazing 0.25 second spray yields a serving of 0.25 g, thus ConAgra can, within the limits of the rules, round down all of their values to 0.
Let’s do a little quick math on that label. There are 473 “servings” of 0.25 grams, which means there is 118.25 grams of olive oil in a full can. A tablespoon (15 mL) of olive oil has 14 grams of fat and since there isn’t really anything but fat in olive oil, we can assume that there are about 8.4 tablespoons of olive oil in full can (118.25/14). Kind of makes the can seem expensive, doesn’t it? More to the point, 118.25 grams of fat is 1,064.25 calories, all from fat, for a full can.
Or, in more typical use, a 3 second spray is 3 (seconds) x 4 (spray/second) x 0.25 grams/spray) = 3 grams of fat or 27 calories (9 calories per gram for fat). Really, not bad for applying oil to a pan to prevent sticking and better, I’ll grant, that rubbing it up with butter or shortening, but it’s not zero and it never will be, no matter how hard they to fool us.
Since a lot of the commentary has been about the importance of making it easier to adopt a plant based diet, I’m going to include a few tidbits.
Thrive Market is the Amazon of WFPB pantry goods. Prices seem pretty good and free delivery for orders over $49. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
The Purple Carrot is a service that delivers ingredients and recipes to your home. A bit expensive, I think, but the convenience factor has to have a price.
More to come and if you have any suggestions please pass them along!
I had an interesting discussion with one of my kids last night. This is the son that is most definitely not a plant based eater. He said that it was going to take a lot more than health benefits to get a lot of people to consider changing their diet from standard American diet (SAD) to a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet. He thought that things like cost and convenience were very important. As I’ve already posted on Twitter and Facebook this morning, an epidemiological study in Spain reports that those who spend more on their food generally have a healthier diet and weight. But this is not new information. A 2012 article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine described “Obesogenic Neighborhoods” and make a clear link between zip code and obesity that was at least as prevalent as genetics. In follow up work, a 2015 article in the same journal was the kind of study that doctors and researchers love. The researchers looked at people who moved into poorer socioeconomic neighborhoods and found that people gained weight after doing so.
But I digress. Rather than cover the science, I thought today I would share more personal information. Here’s why I follow a WFPB diet.
So, that’s it. It’s why I am a WFPB eater. How about you?
I’ve had two people recently ask me to talk a bit about protein. I’ll admit that asking a plant based physician taking a nutrition course to talk about protein is a bit like asking a Trekkie what their favorite Star Trek episode is. So rather than diving into this topic as I am usually want to do, I thought I’d toss out a couple of snippets and see what bounces back. If you read something that interests you, let me know and I’ll make it the topic of a future post.
Hope this gives you all a bit to ponder. As I said before, let me know and I’ll be glad to expand upon any or all!