The first paragraph in the Wikipedia Nutrition article sings the following tune:
“Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food (e.g. phytonutrients, anthocyanins, tannins, etc.) in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion.”
I think the person singing that song is a bit out of tune. I think the definition promotes a sort of thinking that is conducive to an idea that we are black boxes. That given a rigid set of nutritional parameters, we can expect a sort of uniform response from the organism. Like a rat study where you have caged animals and the experiment group gets fed one thing and the other group gets fed another and they uniformly have on average the same weight gain or lack thereof in their respective experimental groups. For example, feed a group of mice the Western diet, they get fat, while the chow fed control group stays slim.
But what is wrong with the experimental design is that it fails to simulate a natural mouse-like environment. And I think most would acknowledge that. However, to get them to be honest about the implications might prove more difficult.
The evidence of this phenomena can be experienced just by pulling the blinders back, stepping outside, and taking a look around. Take a look at the culture you live in, you’ll notice that generally people tend to follow the “when in Rome” mentality adapting the lifestyle and eating habits of the natives. Yet you’ll see polar reactions, some seem to thrive while others seem to have nothing but problems.
Or in a different way you can take a group of people with the same beliefs, eating habits and sense of community and you’ll see that they generally react in the same way as the mice in the cage. Pluck one out take them to a new geographic location and things change.
Those observations point to a point I made in a previous comment that the physiological reaction of a organism depends on the context where the organism is present. And this points to the idea that there is a very intimate interaction with an organism and it’s environment.
I have no doubt that people eat in various ways to combat health problems with great success, you have COPD, eat some butter, you sneeze or feel congested or have wheat belly after eating wheat, you avoid wheat. But while those things might provide symptom relief, the question then becomes, have you solved the problem? And how can you know that you solved the problem? What is the litmus test? It’s very tempting for people to say well wheat is like antifreeze for me, people who drink antifreeze die, so I should avoid it.
But most people including those who live long and healthy lives often eat wheat, so the question should be why can’t I eat wheat, what is broken, how did I break it, was it simple cause and effect; I ate a lot of wheat and I broke my wheat digestive powers?
Do I care if I can’t eat wheat? Will I have anxiety about not being able to eat wheat for the rest of my life? Will I burden society as a whole with an International gluten-free campaign so that I can get everyone off gluten so that I can feel normal?
Will I be Paleo, sign-up for CrossFit and start a blog with a selfie showing my hot abs or ass, and try to convince everybody else that this is the right way and the rest of us sinners are going to hell (even though most likely those are opportunistic photos taken when I’m not feeling like shit)?
H/T to those of you who really don’t feel like shit.
Meanwhile the sinners are quietly eating their cheeseburgers.
To think that the way you eat is right for everyone is at the root the thinking of an authoritarian control freak who is the poster child for a person suffering the delusion that they are in control of their life. When most likely that person is anything but in control of their life, feeding into a self-fulfilling delusion that the more variables they can control in their life the more they can skirt the issue of actually having a life, living their life, and enjoying their life.
This post has been overdue, as for the past year I’ve been experiencing paradigm shifts in my thinking as a approach the world in a more honest way. And approaching the world with peeled back blinders is always a good thing even if you have to put a foot or two in your mouth. I am not content with fossils.
“Possessing opinions is like possessing fish, assuming one has a fish pond. One has to go fishing and needs some luck—then one has one’s own fish, one’s own opinions. I am speaking of live opinions, of live fish. Others are satisfied if they own a cabinet of fossils—and in their heads, ‘convictions.’” ~Nietzsche
Although my cabinet of PUFA fossils is well intact aside from flirtations with animal products that tend to contain higher amounts of them :)
Over the next few months or whatever I’ll be plucking out old blog posts and updating things based on new information and why I’ve changed my mind (but the old blog posts will stay up for illustrative purposes). It shouldn’t be too hard as my views on saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are still the same and I still am metabolically focused. But some of my views on carbohydrate have changed dramatically. Bear in mind that my blog is personal, everything I do is not 100% transferable to empty vessels, but I hope it still can provoke the asking of questions and generate criticism good or bad.
More to follow soon. Thank you for the continued questions and comments during these dark times. Till then have fun!