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Nutritional Anthropology's Bible:
Silly Science & the Tsunami of Health News
Our evolutionary history designed us for life on the savannas of east Africa...
Myths and Fallacies
I first wrote about the
benefits of microwave cooking in my December 2004 Bond Briefing (see
Bond Archive on my website). But some people worry that it is
‘irradiating’ the food and it is somehow radioactive afterwards.
This is nonsense. Microwaves are just a form of low frequency heat.
Moreover, this type of heat occurs in the safe part of the
electromagnetic spectrum (which includes light waves, radio waves, heat
waves and so on).
people worry that microwaving destroys the nutrients in the food. Well,
the answer is that fish and poultry are more safely cooked this way than
by roasting or grilling, where oxidized fats are the problem [Cancer
Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 1995 Dec; 4(8)]
Dr Jiménez-Monreal, Murcia University, Spain finds that either
griddling or microwaving vegetables produces the lowest antioxidant
losses. Pressure-cooking or boiling lead to the greatest losses [Journal
of Food Science; April 2009]. “In
short, water is not the cook’s best friend when it comes to preparing
vegetables”, says Dr Jiménez. Microwaving or griddling actually improved
the antioxidant power of green beans, carrots and celery.
scientists are so close to their subject that they miss the obvious.
Gut bacteria in Twins
twins brought up together but separated since adulthood still had very
similar gut bacteria profiles [Nature. 2009 Jan 22]. Researcher Jeffrey
Gordon MD, Washington University in St. Louis, USA concludes that “it
is the exposure in childhood that decides which microbes colonize our
It is just as likely that the twins, in adulthood, carried on eating
exactly the same way as when they were children!
Moreover, we know that
Gordon’s musings are wrong. As my series in the last two months,
“Make of Your Gut a Herb Garden” shows, having good gut bacteria is
all to do with what we eat NOW.
Tsunami of Health News
trouble with following the health news is that there is so much of it.
Every day brings new information, new facts, new theories — dozens of
them. The health news becomes like a dense Russian novel, with so many
characters coming and going that we forget the plot.
Of course, if you’re
reading War & Peace this summer, you can always stop, flip back and
figure out what is going on.
In the health profession
you can never stop. The news just keeps coming...the absurd characters
keep popping up...the intrigues and sub-plots get denser and more
Is there any hope? Yes,
we can cut through the humbug and farce to focus on our touchstone:
“Does it match up to what nature intended?”
And that is where we