Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Cardiovascular Deaths Linked to Poor Dietary Choices (nytimes.com)
75 points by prostoalex 99 days ago | hide | past | web | 119 comments | favorite



This was known for decades. People in the future will not believe how bad we were eating in the last 50 years. Food is so important to our physical and mental health. We are literally killing ourselves, at this point the food industry is almost guilty of mass murder for profit. Same for fossil fuels, pharma, etc. I don't understand our "developed" countries.


It follows the same trajectory as the tobacco industry. I think when it comes to tobacco we already can "not believe" how prevalent smoking was just 50 years ago.

> at this point the food industry is almost guilty of mass murder for profit

Agreed. Now how to fix it?

I like Dr Greger's "How not to Die" book, as it brings a lot of scientific evidence to the table. He also has an app "the daily dozen" that helps people improve their diets.

Given the power of lobby groups I do not expect that we can effectively use gov't to change the status quo.


The difference between diet and related (fat, diabetic, metabolic syndrome, mixed allergies) issues with things like tobacco and other drugs is you literally can't just stop eating.

I agree there's been far too much effective lobbying (and spending on junk research) in and outside the government that separating agenda and getting any change to the status quo will be hard.


you don't have to stop eating, just eat more fibre.


This silly.

In the last few months I have been changing my diet because of cholesterol readings. It's annoying, because I like steak, and I like coconut, and bacon, and ghee, and prawns and, and, and...

Desire for such a diet has always been with us. The food industry has, for the first time, made it affordable for hundreds of millions of us. They are guilty only of mass feeding for profit.


> It's annoying, because I like steak, and I like coconut, and bacon, and ghee, and prawns and, and, and...

How is that annoying? All of these things can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Why cut them out completely?


I certainly didn't cut them out completely. The point is to moderate them, I had to discipline myself.

On the other hand, how the heck is the food industry supposed to moderate me, why also supplying these things that you point out are part of a perfectly sensible diet.


All of the foods you listed are perfectly healthy. The food industry led the science down a false path that led to healthy foods (such as all the ones you listed) being branded unhealthy, and bad ones (low fat, refined carbohydrate foods) being branded as heart healthy.


Then drug dealers shouldn't be stopped? People should get unlimited dose of heroin ?

I don't understand your point. Of course we are addictive beings, that's why we invented laws and rules in the first place : so that we can live in order and not chaos. If we let people have access to everything they want (including killing half the planet, eating your children, murdering your parents), do you realise how chaotic the world would be ?


You mixed two different things. If a person wants to shoot heroin -- or in this case eat bad food. They should be allowed to. It only affects them.

Murder takes away someone else's right.

But on the other hand, the government shouldn't be subsidizing heroin or food.


No it doesn't, it affects their parents, their children, their friends, their pets, their colleagues, the companies they work in, their clients, and everyone else actually. You don't live in a vacuum, you live in a interconnected system where everyone has an effect on everyone, direct or indirect.

Liberty is extremely important, but we should always remember we're not alone. This belief that everyone should be 100% free and have the right to be whatever he wants with his life is, if not the only reason, part of the reasons why we're in this mess today.


And all of those people that it affects -- besides their children -- have the right to disassociate themselves from the person. Society already has ways to remove children from bad situations.


Talk about defending a strong idea without giving it much thought. Yes, you may disassociate yourself with someone who does drugs - but do you want to? What if it is someone you care deeply about? Shouldn't we try to shield people from doing things that may affect them negatively in the first place?


Shouldn't we try to shield people from doing things that may affect them negatively in the first place

How has that worked out? The War on Drugs has been an abysmal failure, as was Prohibition, making gambling illegal, etc. Can you name one time that the government has ever successfully "shielded" anyone from something negative?


Environmental regulations/policies that stopped rivers from burning in OH?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuyahoga_River


That's prohibition against one person/company from doing something that hurts someone else. I never said that people should be able to do something that infringes on other people's right.


Seatbelts ?


I think that's more education and changing societal norms than anything else. What are the chances that you actually get caught without your seatbelt?

Why would traffic laws deter someone from not wearing their seatbelt but not deter someone from speeding?

If you look at the traffic laws that work well - stopping at a traffic light, not driving on the wrong side of the road, etc. compared to ones that don't like speeding, using your traffic signal, crossing the gourd, you'll notice that most people decide on what laws to obey based on the risk of injury to themselves or someone else.


Quite a few of these negative effects are the result of prohibition and criminalisation though. Prohibition plays right into the hands of organised crime because it keeps prices up.

Let's not forget the victims of the war on drugs. In Mexico alone that war has claimed hundereds of thousands of lives in the past 10 years while at the same time deaths from drug overdose have gone up dramatically in the US.

Something is very wrong with the response to this problem.


How far does the control go? I've heard this argument a lot and that crucial piece is always missing. In your eyes is the US at a good freedom/control ratio or would you like to see more control over our diets (or drugs) being imposed?

*Edited to include (or drugs)


What people are permitted to read and what people are permitted to say on the internet and especially what is broadcast by media obviously have even larger effects, so should be regulated first, before the dietary police are unleashed.


But many things that "were known for decades" turn out to be not known at all. Fat was root of all evil for decades, but now—maybe not? Salt was bad for decades, but now—maybe not? And growing life expectancy while we are literally killing ourselves does not compute.


> And growing life expectancy while we are literally killing ourselves does not compute.

This is a result of the vast improvements in healthcare and medicine in the past 50-100 years. It's not rocket science.


It's also important to separate, say, life expectancy at 30 from overall life expectancy, which usually includes infant mortality and fatal childhood illnesses of all sorts. Those are important per se of course, but basically irrelevant to the effects life-long nutrition and later-in-life medical care.


Our life expectancy increases despite, not because of our bad diet.


The more comfortable a society is the easier it is to ignore pillars of life.


A corollary is "the richer the fool, the greater the acceleration of the universe's entropy (to include their body, health and a shorter life)."

There are a number health effects no amount of pills or surgery can reverse because entropy, despite marketing. Eat enough peanut-butter bacon sandwiches and cause enough chronic inflammation damage from smoking, then become obese, get diabetes and cancer.


There are also, I believe, higher layers of health. Societal, existential; that this society tries to shield us from. Like not playing guitar because it might hurt your fingers. Often I read that there's everything to be as happy as you can on the ground, but we lock ourselves into to sweet nests.


>pillars of life

The what?


Things that are important if you don't have modern technology to fix you.


The term food industry just feels wrong to me.


Tech people know how hard it is to scale things. More precisely, we know how hard it is to maintain quality (of code for example) in an environment where quantity increases rapidly.

Take a look at this graph : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3a/Human_populat...

The industrial era. What happened in the last 50 years is that the quality/quantity ratio went to almost zero. Industries now produce a LOT of stuff for a LOT of people, but the quality of this stuff is insanely low, food included. Industrial food is sometimes void of anything good for your health.

In my view we have two options : rebalance the quality/quantity ratio, ie make a LOT of stuff of quality, or if we can't, drastically reduce the quantity of stuff needed. I let you imagine the consequences of the second option.

I'm optimistic, but scared.


Baloney!

If scale/cost was the only issue, we would not have a problem. You could replace most processed food in a typical naive modern diet with potatoes, beans, and/or eggs (which are extremely cheap) and increase the healthiness of the diet tremendously.

It is very cheap to eat healthy.

The problem is knowledge. The modern processed food/ad industry in the 20th century somehow managed to a lot of destroy traditional cultural knowledge in the west about cooking and eating, and replace it with its own brand new, untested ideas.

It's getting better, but very slowly. Too many people have been tricked by the newest big food lie: that choosing which foods to eat (eg, beef vs avocado) is not the most important thing, but rather what's important is the label -- it should be organic, local beef, not conventional, it must be an organic avocado, not just any old avocado. In this world view, eating healthy is reserved for those who can afford it and unhealthy industrial food is indeed unfortunate but a necessity. This world view is very convenient for food businesses, but is also wrong. In real life, the conventional potato eater is healthier than the organic white bread eater, despite spending much less money.


Fortunately, at a macro level.. something like 70-80% of what we take in are purely caloric needs... I mean, under 100g of sugars a day, and over 80-120g of protein.. but otherwise, for the most part calories are calories. We do need to reduce the amount of refined sugars, starches and fats in our diets, and increase the amount of raw vegetables and fruit... I'm not talking a veggie/vegan diet.. but having some mix, and keeping some things in that above/below block.

Adjusting for special dietary needs (diabetes, allergies, pku etc).


80-120g of protein per day is on the high end of the spectrum, the minimum values are typically given as 46g for women, 56g for me[1] (unless you are a competitive athlete). Not to mention that switching away from animal protein sources is potentially a good idea[2]...

1: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/usda-protein-requirements-gr...

2: http://www.eufic.org/en/whats-in-food/article/plant-protein-...


More recent research is indicating that much higher minimums are needed in order to not lose too much lean muscle.


Diet Industry, Snack Industry, Soda Inc... what would you prefer... when most people are eating processed and or pre-prepared foods, things aren't good. And imho things like hamburger helper aren't very far off.

I ate a lot of food that came from cans, boxes and packages growing up.. and today its' far worse... I know a lot of people around my age (early 40's) who never eat any vegetables at all. none... Unless it's filler in something else they're eating. Lots of refined starches, more than enough meat... but very few actual veggies.

I mean, I'm not all about the veggies, I'm far from getting enough every day (per whatever standards), but I at least get 4-5 salads a week, and have at least 3-4 other times with at least a vegetable side that aren't starches (root-veg) a week. But man, there's something to be said for going from at least some, to almost none.

I'll admit, I do tend to favor lower-carb (I'm diabetic, I really have to), but the anti-fat fads of the late 70's through the 90's did more harm than good. Compounded by the proliferation of snack items and refined fats (mostly vegetable source), starches, preservatives, fillers and stabilizers is astounding.

I no longer have any children living with me, but I can't believe the number of ads for foods that aren't whole or at least minimally processed on TV, targeting kids... "fruit rollups", gellies, gogurt, soda, pops, drinks, fast-food and the rest... It's time to start saying no to kids, no to ourselves and trying to lead by better examples.

Another issue is thinness !== healthy. Metabolic syndrome is really dangerous when you don't show the typical outward symptoms right away. Body shaming doesn't work... We, as a larger society need to start making better choices for ourselves. And I say this as someone who has McD's for breakfast pretty much every day (breakfast sandwich, sometimes just an egg and sausage, no bun with a water to drink). If you eat fast-food, skip the side of fries and the sugar-water. Hell, use a calorie tracker for a week, and be surprised how much you really take in (including snacks, drinks, etc)... it can actually be hard to take in under 2500 kcal a day.


That's what it is and frankly, that's what's required too. We have too many people to be able sustain them all with cutesy farm to table ensembles and home grown vegetables.


The Rodale Institute[1] has a long running trial comparing different farming systems. In the long run organic farming outperforms "conventional" methods in terms of yield, resilience and cost[2].

If you believe their research that is.

[1] https://rodaleinstitute.org/

[2] https://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/FST-Brochure-2015.pdf


>That's what it is and frankly, that's what's required too. We have too many people to be able sustain them all with cutesy farm to table ensembles and home grown vegetables.

Citation needed. It's not like we'd have some food crisis if we didn't have a "food industry", by which people usually mean the actively harmful and inducing food staff that's mass manufactured, you know the 20,000 mass market varieties of sodas, chips, snacks, burgers and such.

If you just mean "agriculture at scale", we had that since ancient Babylon.

In fact, outside of floods and famines that are orthogonal to what we're talking about, many countries do just fine feeding their populations with 1/10 or 1/20 of such an industry as it exists in the US.


Agreed.. I'm not anti-grower, or anti-gmo... the cost/benefit of "organic" is dubious at best (aside from some berries, iirc). But man, the balance has to shift at least a little... we really need to move away from highly refined/pre-prepared everything, every meal, lots of snacks, lots of sugars, every day.

Edit: I also know a world-class chef who agrees that the McRib is one of the most tasty things ever developed. But you don't eat that every day...


>We have too many people to be able sustain them all with cutesy farm to table ensembles and home grown vegetables.

We would have plenty only so many want to eat meat with every meal.


Anecdotal:

Growing up, our parents never added salt to our food, avoided as much as possible any processed foods and made everything from fresh ingredients.

After moving out and living with various people, shifting my diet multiple times, I generally feel worse now than I did before. When I fast and shift myself to healthier eating I feel better. What interests me is why most people don't feel "bad" when they're eating the food that I would feel sluggish from the next day. My pet theories are their body is accustomed to it/or they simply don't know what it feels like to not feel that way- if you know what I mean.

I thought it was self evident that anything that weakens you is likely to be bad for you.

Glad that these findings are going more mainstream.


> What interests me is why most people don't feel "bad" when they're eating the food that I would feel sluggish from the next day.

Eating processed foods for years causes huge changes in the gut microbiome. Presence of different microorganisms means you'll process various foods differently from others.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/07/1...


“How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave


> I thought it was self evident that anything that weakens you is likely to be bad for you

You would be surprised. There's compelling evidence that small doses of things that normally weaken you (e.g radiation, alcohol, etc.) are actually beneficial to your health. [0]

Of course, I'd agree that eating less processed food is ideal, but don't let that get in the way of fasting or consuming alcohol.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormesis


Not just salt, but refined sugar, starches and fats/oils... fats are good, those requiring multi-step refinement, centrifuge processing, perfuming and dying to be palatable, not so much.


There's a substantial hole in the logical argument of the article "a substantial portion of these deaths could be prevented". Obviously everyone studied will die despite the articles implication that giving up steak results in eternal life. They'll just die of something else. It is also not intuitive that merely not dying from a cardio problem will result in a longer life. Surely you can eat less meat and be less fat merely by skipping some meals and smoking a pack or two of cigs or dipping tobacco, and it seems like cardio death rates would drop, but overall death rate due to lung cancer would probably increase to a net systemic higher level. It doesn't have to be that extreme. Maybe something as simple as replacing a bloodthirsty steak with a nice glass of vegan corn syrup soda could cause a net increase in death rates while slightly dropping cardio death rates.

There are also peculiar side issues such as declaring fish to be healthy not-meat means mercury intake would explode and the fisheries will be wiped out sooner than if we didn't. The net long term effect of wiping out the fisheries for all time might be worse than merely eating land based meat for that time interval.

Finally there are peculiar geographic problems where urban vegans absolutely refuse to admit there is some land suitable solely for beef production, or the hipster quinoa fad which for a grain isn't as bad as most but the fad primarily resulted in starvation in south america.


I think there is a substantial hole in your train of thought as well. Don't miss the forest for the trees.

I think this guide will help you understand the bigger picture: https://zenhabits.net/plants/


I've lost over 25 pounds in the last couple months by changing my diet slightly. I essentially eat a nice sized lunch and no other real meals. I drink a protein shake with some peanut butter and a banana for breakfast and a soylent drink for dinner. Sometimes I substitute the soylent for booze if I've got an event to go to. I fast, skip the lunch, on Mondays. It's incredible how different my body feels without that extra weight and barring a couple nights of thinking about the gelato in my freezer it hasnt been that difficult.

I'm not sure if I'm just now gaining the will power to stick to a diet or if I got to a weight I was truly uncomfortable with but I wish I could get my family on the same plan to avoid stuff like this.


> ...a soylent drink for dinner...

Careful, you don't really know what, if anything, that's doing to your health without periodic blood testing. For example, my triglyceride levels shot off the scale and my doctor directed me to discontinue using Soylent immediately.


> I essentially eat a nice sized lunch and no other real meals. I drink a protein shake with some peanut butter and a banana for breakfast and a soylent drink for dinner.

A breakfast is a meal. And the way you describe it, it can easily be upwards of 600 calories. Peanut butter is one of the most calorie dense foods on the planet and bananas add up very quickly in terms of calories.

Also iirc, a bottle of soylent is 400 calories, which is not insignificant.

So all in all, you still probably consume ~2000 calories, which is enough to lose weight, but also enough not to feel hungry by timing the consumption correctly. Small-framed women, for example would gain weight with the same diet.

> I'm not sure if I'm just now gaining the will power to stick to a diet

I wonder what is HN's obsession with sticking to specific diets? Generally speaking there is an infinite number of possible healthy diets that get you your macros at every calorie level.


> I wonder what is HN's obsession with sticking to specific diets? Generally speaking there is an infinite number of possible healthy diets that get you your macros at every calorie level.

It's easier to eat a healthy amount if your diet is pre-determined. No need to think of alternatives and mess up. The counterpoint would be that the monotony of the same foods also make it easier to "cheat" and revert your progress.


> So all in all, you still probably consume ~2000 calories, which is enough to lose weight, but also enough not to feel hungry by timing the consumption correctly. Small-framed women, for example would gain weight with the same diet.

Correct. I ate very little in high school and college because I was wrestling however this is the least I've eaten on a regular basis since leaving college. I would rather my family eat like this then two - three large meals every day with snacks in between.


I work with a guy who eats a single large meal a day for dinner and nothing else. He has water and the occasional handful of nuts during the day but that's it. Other than that he doesn't work out a ton and appears to be one of the healthiest people I know.


Interesting. What about eating with your wife/husband/SO? Are they on the same diet? Kids?


I'm 24 and single currently. When in relationships this tends to fluctuate a bit but mostly its just a dinner a couple times a week.

I could imagine with kids this would be difficult.


While I'm not "old" yet, I'm not as young as I used to be and I can feel my life time of poor diet is starting to catch up with me. So I've become very mindful of my diet very recently. I've switched to a mostly plant based diet and avoid most processed food combined with some intermittent fasting. I'm feeling much better, I'm losing weight at a healthy pace and I'm sleeping much better, though that might be more related also dropping caffeine and alcohol. The rest of my family is also eating more healthy, though not with the same strictness as me. I went cold turkey and it's a bit more of a gradual process for them.


The best thing you can do is avoid sugar. I started doing it about a year ago for similar reasons. I lost 30 pounds and feel great. I also cut way back on caffeine and alcohol. That probably played a part in my feeling better but perhaps not losing weight.


Cutting out alcohol will have a significant effect on weight loss (positive effect). Alcohol gets consumed, for calories, more easily than sugars and other calorie sources. So your body will process your alcohol intake quickly. Once sated, calorically, your body has to do something with the rest of what you've eaten/drunk. This means it's expelled from the body, or stored (as fat) and your weight goes up (or stays high).

It's a bit like sodas, here. It's easy to get many or most of the calories you need from alcohol (especially beers) and sugary sodas. You don't feel sated so you still eat, now you've exceeded your calorie goals and you end up gaining weight (or maintaining a higher than desired weight). Eliminating sodas and alcohol moves your caloric intake to be, predominantly, food stuffs. Now you'll feel sated when you're full from your meal, and, with a bit of planning and practice, before consuming too many calories.


I've found that eliminating processed foods has cut down on my sugar intake dramatically without specifically focusing on it.


A plant-based diet has been proven to prevent many of the leading causes of death and is also what is best for the planet. Our modern diet has way too much animal flesh and animal byproducts, all kinds of evidence in our anatomy, genetics, and biochemistry. The amount of land and water use for animal agriculture is insane, the greenhouse emissions and life-killing pollution are another set of externalities.

A lot can change for the individual organism and the whole biosphere with a simple diet change. I think a plant-based society is the only kind that could live harmoniously with our home planet and expand successfully onto other planets.


I fail to see how switching from meat to plants will decrease the usage of land and water. Also, planet could not care less what we eat or what we do.


"Worldwide, an estimated 2 billion people live primarily on a meat-based diet, while an estimated 4 billion live primarily on a plant-based diet. The US food production system uses about 50% of the total US land area, 80% of the fresh water, and 17% of the fossil energy used in the country. The heavy dependence on fossil energy suggests that the US food system, whether meat-based or plant-based, is not sustainable. The use of land and energy resources devoted to an average meat-based diet compared with a lactoovovegetarian (plant-based) diet is analyzed in this report. In both diets, the daily quantity of calories consumed are kept constant at about 3533 kcal per person. The meat-based food system requires more energy, land, and water resources than the lactoovovegetarian diet. In this limited sense, the lactoovovegetarian diet is more sustainable than the average American meat-based diet.

The major threat to future survival and to US natural resources is rapid population growth. The US population of 285 million is projected to double to 570 million in the next 70 y, which will place greater stress on the already-limited supply of energy, land, and water resources. These vital resources will have to be divided among ever greater numbers of people."

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/660S.full


Because growing 1000 calories worth of a plant takes less space then growing 10000 calories. And if you want a 1000 calories of cow meat you will need to feed it much more then 10000 calories of plant.


That's a gross oversimplification and not true in many cases.

For instance, New Zealand lamb flocks are grown high up in the mountains, eating and drinking from local sources unsuitable for plant farming. It would literally take more arable land for the equivalent plant based diet.


I'm sure the lamb is delicious at the dozen or so restaurants and butchers in which it is sold for a high price.

When you're talking about scale, feeding 10's of thousands of people, plant based food sources win out.


New Zealand is the world's third largest producer of lamb, what do you mean by "scale"? This is done at scale.

Without those animals, that land would have been literally useless for humans to produce food.


'Dozen or so'? You can get a lamb roast at Costco.


Do you get these high-altitude grazing New Zeeland lamb at Costco? Most lambs are raised in the lamb factory.


Yes, but those are not free-range New Zealand Lambs which have grazed high in the mountains.


>For instance, New Zealand lamb flocks are grown high up in the mountains

That's such an edge case though.. Burger King and Mcdonalds aren't selling lamb burgers in large quantities.

What about all the cattle farmed all over the world? They're not all on a steep mountainside. Most will be on plains or more factory like conditions.


Even if we kept those animals around for human consumption, we could cut the rest 99.9% out to save resources. As a pragmatical vegan, I'd take that deal in a heartbeat.

Lambs are usually slaughtered after 6 months. In Sweden, to use an example close to me, lambs have the right to live outdoor for two to four months during the summer depending on where in the country they live, which means that they spend at least 2-4 months indoors not grazing this non-arable land. They must be watered and fed, which increases energy consumption, and usually fed from land that could have grown crops for humans directly. Only a fraction of the energy we put into animals gets returned when we eat them, which means it's far more energy-efficient to eat the plants directly.


> and usually fed from land that could have grown crops for humans directly.

That's not necessarily true. I think you are underestimating the amount of land that's suitable for animal farming but not crops. It's a lot.

> Only a fraction of the energy we put into animals gets returned when we eat them, which means it's far more energy-efficient to eat the plants directly.

That's technically correct but still wrong. We can't eat grass and lichens, no matter how many calories they have. Animals can.


I was mainly thinking about soybeans, not humans eating grass. 75% of soy bean production goes to animal feed, and more than 50% of US, and 40% of worldwide, grain production goes to animals instead of directly to humans, where it's inefficiently converted to energy humans consume. All this because people like the taste of meat and because of tradition.

Other resources, such as fossil fuels and water, are used at a much higher rate when raising animals than when producing crops. Grain-fed beef production uses 100 000 liters of water per kilogram of food produced, broiler chicken 3500 liters per kilogram, and soybeans 2000 liters per kilogram. Water is a precious resource in many places of the world.

This is the way the world works today, but you don't argue for animal products over vegetables, you argue for grass-feed animals instead of crop-fed. You should vote with your wallet and only buy grass-fed meat, both when you cook at home, when you buy an animal-based snack, or when you go to a restaurant. I think that many meals would have to be vegetarian, because a purely grass-fed meat, dairy, and egg diet would be hard to uphold.


The fact that animals consume more calories then they give is not a gross oversimplification and is true in every case.

What is a generalization and is not true in many cases is that the meat we eat is produced in environments unsuitable for plant farming.


> The fact that animals consume more calories then they give is not a gross oversimplification and is true in every case.

Maybe not oversimplification but deceiving. It makes it sound like we can eat grass.


That's not necessarily true since the plants are different.


It is necessarily true that you need to put more calories in a cow then you get back.


>Not if the cow is grass fed in a natural environment.

That space for grass feeding could be used to grow much more food to feed humans directly.


Not if the cow is grass fed in a natural environment. Yes, it's a lot of calories they consume, but those calories were never going to be used by humans.


Cows, lambs, pigs, goats produce a lot of methane. The contribution to total greenhouse emissions is another hidden cost people don't normally account for. We clear forests to make room for more farms to feed the growing demand for meat around the world. If a plant-based diet doesn't become more popular and mainstream, we are headed for trouble by mid century.


Whatever you may think it is still true that it takes more calories to grow a cow then you get from a cow. No matter what kind of food a cow consumes.

Weather those calories were going to be used by humans or not that land is now used to feed some cows that will feed a few people. Instead we could use that land to grow plants and feed more people then with cows.

Also, AFAIK, that natural environment where cows are fed is mostly created by destroying forests.


A grass fed cow by definition will not use any extra calories from feed crops.

At least in the United States, there is a fair bit of land that is both non-arable and yet perfectly sustainable for cattle (much of this land was historically home of a bovine species, the plains bison, in the first place). I'm thinking areas like certain areas of Texas, Wyoming, Montana, etc.

There are probably other areas in this regard, so I think it's possible to keep some meat and actually have it be relatively sustainable.

Everyone's overall point is correct, however, in that this does not apply to a lot of meat production today; keeping only the more sustainable practices would end up making meat a luxury product (as it was in earlier times).


> Instead we could use that land to grow plants and feed more people then with cows.

Sometimes we can't grow crops on that land. And it's a lot of non-arable land.


It is a bit more complicated, but one scenario is obvious: you can feed a cow 10,000 calories of corn to produce roughly 2,000 calories of beef. If you simply eat the feed instead, you'd be eating calories that are 5 times more efficient.

However, beef can also be produced on marginal lands (grazing) that aren't suited to crop production. In this way, livestock can be seen as an efficient land use (caveat environmental damage from grazing, etc.). However, this does not represent much of current livestock production.


> Diets low in omega-3 fatty acids, found in seafood [...] also played a role.

In seafood you also find a lot of toxins, especially mercury. So trying to get your omega3s from there comes with it's own problems.

Thank God for flax seeds! A cheap and pure source of omega3s. Freshly grind 2 tsps and mix in your food every day: you will have covered your omega3s, amongst other micro-nutrients.


Mercury binds to selenium and inactivates its "toxic" effects.

Thankfully, fish is high in selenium (almost 1:1 to with mercury, thus canceling both out, in swordfish. Most others have ratios < 10:1).


Does that mean that tuna does not have much selenium? Would it be possible to mitigate the effects of a tuna rich diet with by also eating other food rich in selenium?


I don't have the ratio for tuna off-hand, but IIRC a selenium supplement is all you need to counteract a fish-heavy diet.

But, yes. You can also supplement fish with higher sel:merc ratios to balance it out.


Tuna is a big fish. The smaller the fish, the higher the ratio of selenium to mercury. Tuna is the cut off, size wise.


While looking for a comparison between flax seed and almonds, I came across this neat wiki article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratio_of_fatty_acids_in_differ...


Or chia seeds.


I'm curious what people think of diet-hackers.. this forum is probably more sympathetic than most.

It seems like there's a bi-modal distribution where either you don't care about diet, or you ascribe metaphysical properties to food and how it was obtained and prepared. The later seems like ho-hum, nutrition is much more complicated than the FDA labels, but I have to believe it's possible to synthesize boring goop that gives you everything you need. I really don't care that much about eating.. as in, if I could flip a switch and never eat again, I would unhesitatingly do so.

I tried Soylent for a while, which I liked well enough, but they are optimizing for things I don't particularly care about like vegan ingredients and sedentary nutrition profile. Lately I've been using 100%FOOD which I like quite a bit in the triple protein profile, and is helpful for my activity level.


> but I have to believe it's possible to synthesize boring goop that gives you everything you need

It is, but to make it as bioavailable and "healthy" as regular food is a challenge (and extremely expensive).

Contemporary goop uses synthetic micronutrients (as opposed to more bioavailable organic) and extracts (as opposed to full-profile concentrates).

This is also ignoring that Soylent's ingredient profile is likely incompatible with a large part of the public.


Hey seen salt so directly linked to heart disease.


Salt is generally only an issue if you already have, or are via family link likely to have heart issues... Of course, the anti-saturated fat and dietary cholesterol claims were also unbalanced and not well supported. However, most people have far more salt in their diet than they need anyway...

What gets me more is the amount of "natural" flavors added to food... when you have a hypersensitive sense of smell and taste man some of that stuff is nasty, and 19 of 20 can't even smell/taste it. It may be natural and some people will respond positively to additives, but it's really harsh to some of us.


Inspired by Pascal's Wager:

Even if it's not clear that salt intake and saturated fat is bad for you, why take the chance? Three choices:

1. Salt/saturated fat are bad for you and you eat too much of both -- bad outcome.

2. Salt/saturated fat are not bad for you and you eat too much of both - neutral outcome

3. Salt/saturated fat are bad for you and you limit your intake - good outcome.

I don't think anyone is arguing that too much salt and saturated fat are good for you, so the three scenarios above are the logical choices.

If the scientific studies are wrong and you cut back anyway, you have "lost nothing".

If they are right and you cut back, you have gained. There is no benefit by taking a chance that the accepted wisdom is wrong.


> Even if it's not clear that salt intake and saturated fat is bad for you, why take the chance?

Pascal's Wager makes sense in that you have mutually exclusive options. Dietary choices don't work like that.

Practically speaking, if you avoid certain ingredients, you expose yourself to more of others.

Psychologically speaking, the average person only has so much willpower. It's best spend avoiding the worst foods and pursuing the best ones. Spending energy on pointless diets affects one's ability to pursue good ones.


I agree. That's why I said "too much". I didn't say "cut out". In my case, I know my will power is weak. I keep "unhealthy" food out of the house so I'm not constantly being tempted. During the week I only have to resist temptation at lunch since I don't have access to junk food at work or at home.

During the weekend, I don't go crazy but I don't go out of my way to eat healthy.

If I do want something to sweet, I buy the smallest portion.


Cutting back salt can be taken too far -- I've known older people who suffered electrolyte imbalance because they'd cut out salt at the advice of a doctor. The body needs salt (and saturated fat, for that matter) in some quantity. Bad for you and not bad for you are not the only alternatives here.


> Salt/saturated fat are bad for you and you limit your intake - good outcome.

I am in the middle of drastically restricting my salt and fat intake under a directive from my physician and I assure you I am quite thoroughly miserable and do not expect that to change in the foreseeable future.


I think it's important to realize that, when cooking your own food, you shouldn't be afraid to add salt. Generally you'll be adding much less than processed food, and it makes a huge difference in how tasty your food is.

I would not be at all surprised if home-cooked low-salt diets have lower adherence to the point where the average benefit is much higher for a moderate-salt diet.


And if they're good for you? IE: you need to have some salt and saturated fats in your diet... your options don't account for that scenario.


On our next breaking news: Gun deaths linked to bullets


Dog bites man!


no kidding.


The "TLDR" summary of the article:

> Cardiovascular disease claims 610,000 lives in the United States each year. It is the leading cause of mortality nationwide, accounting for one in every four deaths.

> A new analysis, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, shows that a substantial portion of these deaths could be prevented by healthier eating.

Nothing new; has been shown numerous times. Article does not state how this analysis is different.

> In 2015, more than 400,000 [2/3rds] deaths from cardiovascular causes were linked to unhealthy diets, according to the research

According to the article, for a healthy diet we need to eat more:

* whole plant-based foods (nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains and fruits), and omega-3 fatty acids

...and we need to eat less:

* salt (sodium), trans-fat, saturated fat, processed meat, sugar

> Ashkan Afshin, co-author of the study, said: “some of the leading risk factors are not high intake of unhealthy foods, but low intake of healthy foods.”

> Over all, the results of the study were consistent with global patterns.

-----

Now my observation. When they talk about what we should eat more of, the instruction is clear (only omega3s are cryptic). But when stating what we should eat less of most of it is cryptic.

Well let me decrypt it for you... reduce or stop eating:

* meat/dairy/eggs (bad fats, bad protein, toxin build-up)

* processed foods, like oils & sugar (they have been separated from their original form thus lacking fibers and nutrients)

* non foods, like chemicals (sugar replacements, preservatives, colorants, etc.)


Is "TLDR summary" intended to mean that it's a summary created by someone who did not read the article? In particular, the article mentions nothing about saturated fat. Modern research no longer implicates saturated fat. A major part of the "observation" section of this post is based on that injected and incorrect conclusion. Meat/dairy/eggs are fine, with the qualification that processed meats do continue to raise health concerns.


Not sure about eggs. I get a lot of contradicting opinions. My conclusion is that 4-5 eggs a week is good for us.


I contains a lot of cholesterol and "bad" protein (the protein that has lots of sulfur-based amino acids); besides that very little nutrients.

If you want you can have a ton of nutrients for the same cholesterol/calories by choosing whole plant-based foods.

So in the absence of choice, eggs are great. But most of us have so much choice nowadays, that eggs are clearly an inferior option.


Dietary cholesterol does not directly affect blood serum cholesterol. This has been known for years. You are just spouting bullshit nutritional advice that has contributed to the obesity epidemic since the 1950s. Enjoy your "healthy" low fat foods, I will enjoy my "unhealthy" fats. I just hope no one listens to your advice without doing some research.


> Enjoy your "healthy" low fat foods

Where was I advocating "low fat" foods?

> You are just spouting bullshit nutritional advice that has contributed to the obesity epidemic since the 1950s.

Yes I advocate for "whole food plant based" diet. After doing my research. But please tell me how WFPB has "has contributed to the obesity epidemic since the 1950s", because I do not get it.

> Dietary cholesterol does not directly affect blood serum cholesterol.

You say so. But do you think that replacing 5 eggs per week with whole plant foods is not going to lower someones blood serum cholesterol? Because I think it does.


> You say so. But do you think that replacing 5 eggs per week with whole plant foods is not going to lower someones blood serum cholesterol? Because I think it does.

You make it sound obvious but it's does not sound like that to everyone. How is one nutritional healthy food better or worse than another nutritional healthy food?

And the "eating cholesterol gives you high cholesterol" statement is in the same league as "eating fat makes you fat". It's not necessarily true and an oversimplification.


What about the ~20% of the population with one or two APOE4 alleles?


Isn't the egg thing debunked? I remember when I was growing up the rule was no more than 3 per week. Then more recently that advice was changed to 3 per day is fine.


This is correct. After a lot of study, especially of people who eat a lot of eggs, they found them to have negligible to no impact.


toxin build-up? That's a made-up thing from when we use to think bloodletting worked.


Just to clarify there are toxins that will bioaccumulate such as heavy metals, however simply including meat/dairy/eggs in your diet will not cause this.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: