Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Confounded

Fall is upon us, the leaves are changing colour rapidly and the air is cooler. Camping season may well be done. Our regular park is closed till next spring, but there is one park that is open until the end of October so we may get a chance to get out again for a few more days. I like to keep it as a possibility as winter is held off for another few weeks.

I've mentioned in recent posts that I've been reading "The China Study". I'm pretty impressed with this book as it brings together findings from hundreds of research projects and studies from the last 30 years. The conclusion? Consumption of Animal products (meat, dairy) increases your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, bone loss, and countless other ailments. And it isn't just a slight risk, much research points to several fold increases in risk. It advocates eating a whole foods, plant-based diet with no animal products. That's pretty drastic!

As you might imagine the discussions of diet have been many and some heated.  Some people say "I believe that moderation is best", but they cannot say what their belief is based on. Is it based on science? Or is it based on the hype from the various marketing boards? What really is true? Is the book I'm reading factual? Does the guy have an axe to grind about something which has caused him to go after animal products? Or is he someone who isn't in the pocket of some interest group and is instead wanting to get the truth out there?

I read an article today that claimed that saturated fats are not bad for you so go ahead and eat all the bacon and butter you want. There wasn't one citation referring to an actual scientific study. Yet from the comments written about this article I could see that many people believed it. Is it the truth? If it was why weren't there references? Are we to take the word of one person writing an article? Is the author even qualified to interpret the results of other studies? Who does the author work for?

I think part of the reason why people latch onto these articles about saturated fats (or sugar, or whatever the evil) are not bad is that they don't want to give up these foods. They want to hear that it is okay to keep doing what they are doing (even though the statistics show that heart disease in America and other western countries is rising at ever faster rates). It is hard to give up bacon. I used to be a big milk drinker and I like a big juicy steak. We've been trying to follow a plant based diet for the 1 1/2 years. We aren't 100% successful - not even close. But we won't give up trying - there's too much at risk.

But it is all rather confusing!

Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts. Soren Kierkegaard