"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Uncle Jollyblog's Fun-Time HappyFest (yay!)

Somehow, I didn't make my point last time when talking about omega-3 fatty acids; I went off on a tangent. The take-home message was supposed to be that one shouldn't take fish oil or flaxseed supplements, but eat actual food. So, to make my point, this will be a cynical indictment against everything.

We eat too much. We eat too much fat. We eat too much saturated fat. Instead of correcting this, people have come out with the statement that we're eating the wrong kinds of fat and should consume more fat, but of one specific type, to get the ratios normal. You can't make much money telling people to eat right, but you can make a fortune selling them "molecularly distilled DHA from wild-caught Atlantic salmon." If only omega-3's were plentiful in snakes, they'd be true snake oil salesmen. Eat real food, but less of it, and exercise more.

First off, the paleontological argument is flawed. Coprolites, seeds and bones found in ancient campsites don't necessarily tell one what those people ate and, if they did, they would tell you what 5-10 people ate at one time in one place. If you argue that there are a statistically significant number of sites found that have consistent contents, I can argue that the conditions that allow for finds allow only for the same kind of finds. The argument that our bodies are different because of what we eat now compared to then assumes that the plants and animals then are the same as today; you can't have it both ways - either both we and our food changed significantly or neither did.

Secondly, the sociological argument is flawed. To find a society whose fat intake approaches our own, one has to look at people who live in the arctic circle; they eat a lot of fatty fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. They also are genetically different - they can live well on a strange diet, because those who died of heart disease at 13 didn't have children. Look at their dogs; they didn't bring malemutes and samoyeds to the arctic, those are the offspring of the dogs that survived. The same happened to the people. People change to fit their diet over several generations; in Italy, the Bau family (a Danish name, so easy to track there) was discovered to have an extremely high number of centenarians and never had heart disease although they lived on cheese and wine - they appear to have a mutation that has allowed them to outsurvive their neighbors.

Third, the idea that the constituents of our bodies are altered by what we ingest is specious. There is no study of which I am aware that shows that a change in the percentages of fatty acids in one's diet changes the percentages in one's body. For example, depot fat in humans contains no omega-3 fatty acids; if one were to consume enough of these fatty acids, they would be saturated and then stored. If one argues that, as omega-3's don't get stored in depot fat, but are used elsewhere, one ignores the fact that the same quantity of other fatty acids then get stored as depot fat.

Fourth, the scientific search itself is flawed. Scientists looking to see if there are differences between diets with a lot of omega-3 fatty acids and those without either find them or they don't get published. If they don't get published, they stop doing research. Thus, trivial differences will be noted when gross similarities are ignored. An alternative explanation is equally valid, as all diets studied  that are low in omega-3 fatty acids compared to omega-6 are also higher in saturated fat, but this seems to be disregarded.

Peoples studied who eat healthy diets have a low ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. They also have one other thing in common: they don't take supplements. They eat real food.


nwgdc said...

Excellent post. I love this stuff!
One exception I make for myself and others is Vitamin D. I think we need a LOT more of it than the recommended 400 IU daily.
Please make that your next subject. Thanks!

Beth said...

Amen. If it doesn't come from the ground or have a mother, don't eat it.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

The take-home message was supposed to be that one shouldn't take fish oil or flaxseed supplements

I take both!

Jerk! (I don't mean that. I just had to provide a counter-balance to Dr Nic's getting all abject and worshipy yet AGAIN, above.)

Now I have to finish reading this post.

As for mistakes - I make them ALL the time. Big, small, inconsequential, consequential ... I'm a full-service mistake guy.

But here's one that smokes me.

Lennon's Birthday is October NINTH, Google!1! Get it RIGHT!1!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

those who died of heart disease at 13 didn't have children. Look at their dogs;

The proximity of your observation re: this group's failure to produce offspring to your exhortation to look (with concupiscent?) at their dogs kinda made me hope you were gonna veer off on a bestiality tangent this time.

If you had, you would have gained my respect.

But at the expense of Dr. Nic's.

Good choice.

In conclusion, I agree with you: Eat Real Food ... and Less.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

with concupiscent?

See? (Mistaken) case in point. I meant "concupiscence", obviously.

RBR said...

I guess you are going to say now that Whoopie pies are not real food.

More like Uncle Killjoy.

Wait, is G trying to say that Dr Nic is moving in on SQ?

Sheesh. First my fellating lamp and now a chiropractor from the arctic tundra. How am I supposed to compete with that?

ShutUpandRun said...

I take alcohol instead of supplements.