The Greatest Diet Myth of All

David Katz: The Greatest Diet Myth of All

These days, the most common take-away about diet and health is that everything we thought we knew about diet and health is a myth. As best I can tell, however, the notion that reputable journalistic platforms are interested in getting at a reliable, stable truth about diet and health is the myth.

Cancer: Is It Just Bad Luck or Failed Research?

T. Colin Campbell: Cancer: Is It Just Bad Luck or Failed Research?

The consequences of this mutation theory of cancer are deadly. Wrongly assuming that cancer is primarily a product of genetic mutations implies that cancer progression, once started, is unstoppable. It implies that cancer control will depend on identifying and selectively killing specific cancer cells and blocking their responsible genes with targeted drugs. This strategy has been and will continue to be futile because countless combinations of genes and cancer risk factors can change cancer development. Understanding and accepting this complexity means that funding research to identify new cancer drugs, especially targeted drugs with certain but unpredictable side effects is the wrong priority.

Lifestyle: Medicine That Inspires

Lifestyle: Medicine That Inspires

Revolution may sound dramatic, but that’s what we need. We have already lumbered through health care "reform" here in the U.S. Controversial as it has been, it is really just a minor modification of our sick care system, and more universal access to it. Nothing in our current system will prevent the dire projections about unsustainably, unaffordably-high rates of diabetes in the U.S. from coming true.

Organic farming could feed the world

Ivette Perfecto of the University of Michigan in the US and her colleagues found that, in developed countries, organic systems on average produce 92% of the yield produced by conventional agriculture. In developing countries, however, organic systems produce 80% more than conventional farms. Perfecto points out that the materials needed for organic farming are more accessible to farmers in poor countries.

Link [via Red State Green]

Stop Dieting

USNews covers recent research that calls the effectiveness of dieting into question.

Slentz, Hawks, and other researchers note that most studies show that the vast majority of people can’t stick with a diet very long. Though some dieters do make lifestyle changes that lead to permanent weight loss and better health, most regain much, if not all, of their lost weight in three to five years. Results reported last week from the federally funded Women’s Health Initiative do little to enhance dieting’s reputation. After seven years, women on a low-fat diet maintained a mere pound of their initial loss. And some studies show that frequent dieters actually gain weight.
The article goes on to suggest that healthy eating and exercise habits are more important than actual weight, which I think is probably true. I also think that it’s far easier to establish a new set of habits than it is to stick to some prescribed eating plan.

Update: As a follow-up: Short-Term Lifestyle Changes Improve Health Even Without Major Weight Loss.

The bad idea behind our failed health-care system

Malcolm Gladwell’s piece in the New Yorker on the trouble with the U.S. health care system is a must read.

Instead, the United States has opted for a makeshift system of increasing complexity and dysfunction. Americans spend $5,267 per capita on health care every year, almost two and half times the industrialized world’s median of $2,193; the extra spending comes to hundreds of billions of dollars a year. What does that extra spending buy us? Americans have fewer doctors per capita than most Western countries. We go to the doctor less than people in other Western countries. We get admitted to the hospital less frequently than people in other Western countries. We are less satisfied with our health care than our counterparts in other countries. American life expectancy is lower than the Western average. Childhood-immunization rates in the United States are lower than average. Infant-mortality rates are in the nineteenth percentile of industrialized nations. Doctors here perform more high-end medical procedures, such as coronary angioplasties, than in other countries, but most of the wealthier Western countries have more CT scanners than the United States does, and Switzerland, Japan, Austria, and Finland all have more MRI machines per capita. Nor is our system more efficient. The United States spends more than a thousand dollars per capita per year—or close to four hundred billion dollars—on health-care-related paperwork and administration, whereas Canada, for example, spends only about three hundred dollars per capita. And, of course, every other country in the industrialized world insures all its citizens; despite those extra hundreds of billions of dollars we spend each year, we leave forty-five million people without any insurance. A country that displays an almost ruthless commitment to efficiency and performance in every aspect of its economy—a country that switched to Japanese cars the moment they were more reliable, and to Chinese T-shirts the moment they were five cents cheaper—has loyally stuck with a health-care system that leaves its citizenry pulling out their teeth with pliers.
Here are some groups advocating for single-payer, national systems and universal insurance coverage: * American Health Care Reform – bonus points for the Breakfast Club quote on the home page * Physicians for a National Health Program * Universal Health Care Action Network * Health Care For All

Paper Says Edible Meat Can be Grown in a Lab on Industrial Scale

Some older news that I found in my link backlog.

And, the authors agree, it might take work to convince consumers to eat cultured muscle meat, a product not yet associated with being produced artificially.

“On the other hand, cultured meat could appeal to people concerned about food safety, the environment, and animal welfare, and people who want to tailor food to their individual tastes,” says Matheny. The paper even suggests that meat makers may one day sit next to bread makers on the kitchen counter.